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Illness & Romantic Relationships

Chronic illness takes a massive toll on romantic relationships, particularly because one’s partner is also usually their caregiver. Unfortunately, there’s not much helpful information on the topic; even academic research is sparse. You can help by completing a short survey (it took me 10 minutes) on the impact of migraine on one’s life and relationships, conducted by headache specialist Dawn Marcus and researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. The survey closes this Thursday, February 28.

Here are a few resources on illness and relationships:

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It’s the Little Things, Like Folded Underwear

Seeing an oddly shaped stack of my clean, folded underwear brought tears to my eyes. It was a visual reminder of how kind my husband is. After working on TheraSpecs tasks all day on a Sunday, he’d done the dishes and folded the laundry that was decorating our family room. (Chores are normally my task since he’s crazy busy starting two businesses, but things pile up when I’m in a bad migraine spell.) And the guy FOLDED MY UNDERWEAR.

Not to bore you with the details of my undies, but you need a little background to understand why this is so great. For the first 13 years we lived together, I crumpled my underwear and threw it into a drawer. Then Hart’s mom did laundry for us once and folded them, thus introducing me to the wonders of folded underwear (they take up so little space in the drawer! and are so easy to find!). I never told Hart that I’d adopted a new practice and, until this week, when he’s folded laundry, he’s tossed it in a rumpled pile like always.

When I went to grab some underwear off the table, I saw two stacks. One I had folded and another folded, but slightly disheveled stack, which was Hart’s handiwork. It was so sweet I thought my heart would melt. He did his best to fold them, but each pair wound up in a strange, lumpy sort of shape. Because really, folding women’s underwear is not an intuitive thing, especially if you’ve never even worn them. But he tried and I never even asked him to.

People often ask how I manage to cope with such debilitating migraines. Having an incredible husband who does the little things is a huge help. I’d hate to be this mired in migraine without him.

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Friends, Balance, Guilt

I wrote yesterday’s post hoping that the friends we’re going to visit this weekend wouldn’t get a chance to read it. No such luck. C called this morning to say she’d just read the blog and they were worried about me.

Fortunately, I felt great when she called, so I was able to assuage some of their fears. But she told me that they plan to pamper me this weekend. I’m supposed to sit still and not lift a finger. Trouble is, we’re going there to pamper them! I hope I can sneak something in here and there. At least I can hold babies even if I’m attached to the couch.

C called a couple months ago and asked if I was up to talking. When I said no, she said, “Well, we can talk later, but I wanted to let you know that we adopted twins.” That was it. She wouldn’t tell me anything else because she didn’t want to keep me on the phone.

I feel so cared for, but have to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around me, even when I have an entrenched migraine. I’m embarrassed to say that I often feel like it does. I get so deep in my hole that I forget to look around. Then again, sometimes I try so hard to take care of other people that I don’t let myself hide out when I need to.

Does my life come down to seeking the ever-elusive happy medium and trying to minimize my guilt? If so, is it a product of my illness or a fundamental characteristic?