The downside of having an attentive spouse

Sadness doll from Inside Out

This post is a little bit sad.

I was mentioning recently how lucky I am to have J.’s devotion in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and all that. One of the ways that J. has shown her loyalty is by making herself available for every important medical appointment I attend. She is the driver, the supporter, and the questioner, when need be. She has taken umpteen vacation days and switched her other days off earned through extended workdays to accommodate my patienting.

There are many benefits to J.’s presence at the doctor, but there’s the odd time I wish she weren’t there, to be honest. When we met with Dr. Liver a few months back, and were asking him about travel, he acknowledged witnessing many bankruptcies among people who have travelled without medical insurance. J. has been very hesitant to cross any borders with me for some time now thanks to Dr. Liver’s honesty, which reinforced her concerns.

Then there was last week’s meeting with Dr. Bloody Resident, when I stupidly mentioned how fatigued I’d been of late. I liked Dr. Resident, despite my moniker for her. She was forthright yet thorough and caring. And so it should come as no surprise that she asked, in front of J.: “You’re not driving anymore, are you?” My heart sank.

Well, yes, Dr. Bloody Resident, in fact I am. Not all the time, not when I’m overly fatigued, not when I’m in the car with J.–she assumed the role of chauffeur a long time ago–but for short trips within the city. J. quickly piped in that she sometimes hides my keys if, in her judgement, I wouldn’t be safe behind the wheel.

I’ve had my new car for almost a year now, and it is dent free, which for me is a sign that I am driving safely. The thought of giving up my license, and with it my independence, is not one I want to be considering at this point.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I envisioned feeling better enough someday to go back to working more. I saw myself travelling farther afield on occasion, going out to movies and plays in the evening again, and having more energy to spend with people. I figured at some point I’d be back to the way I was before I got sick. I know people with cancer who return to work full time and run marathons, among other crazy things.

Sadly, I’ve learned that, unless God intervenes (highly unlikely since I like bacon so much), there are times when I will measure my life by a series of losses, some more important than others (we’ll leave cleaning out of this). But I’m not ready to give up driving just yet. I hope that’s not inevitable, although my granny pill case and progressives may suggest otherwise. And I’m hoping no one ever withdraws my blogging privileges. I need something to do when I’m not running marathons.


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