Living with the uncertainty of my cat's health problems has brought some pain to my life. However, living with the uncertainty of my husband's health issues has been excruciating. My husband's flare of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) was so unexpected and so out-of-the-blue. It felt completely uncontrollable. The truth is, it was uncontrollable, like so much of life. Yes, he is in remission now, but what about tomorrow, next week, or next year? We still don't know what it was that set off the flare.
Beyond those worries, I also have a ton of contamination issues to deal with every time I accompany my husband to Boston to get his treatments. I chose to wear my flip-flops yesterday, as I knew it would be a good exposure for me. However, it started raining, and I got worried that the rain water would splash on my feet and transfer the grime of the Boston city streets onto them. Because my husband's treatments are given in the oncology/chemotherapy ward, it can be troubling to see the suffering of the other patients. I often worry that I might be carrying some type of virus or illness, and that my presence in the ward will cause them to get sick and die. In addition, the nurse often grabs the trash can with his hands, and then without washing his hands, continues to work on my husband.
Yesterday, the cover of my take-out salad fell on the floor. The cover had some oily dressing on it, and I got worried that the oil would cause the floor to become slippery, and that the next patient after my husband would come in and slip on the oil. Of course, I had to wipe the (non-existant) oil off of the floor. This meant that my hands were now contaminated from wiping the (surely filthy!) hospital floor. I then had to go wash my hands in the scary (contaminated) hospital bathroom.
These trips are always difficult, for all of the above reasons. I do continue to improve however, and I've had some recent victories. Yesterday, in particular, I didn't even think about the possibility that I might make the other patients sick until we were literally walking out of the hospital. I did use the hospital restroom several times. One time I even hung my backpack on the back of the bathroom door (wow!). I wore my flip-flops and did not wash my feet when I got home. I drove home from Boston and I noticed that my driving anxiety was significantly lower. I'm sure this is a result of all the practice driving I have had in the city over the last few years.
So I just keep pushing forward, uncertainty and all. I keep trying to give my worries about my husband's health to the Lord. I keep trying to do my ERPs. I try to appreciate today, this moment, because it is all that I am certain about. I also try to be grateful for what I do have right now. Right now, my husband is in remission. Right now he feels great. Right now the insurance company pays for his medication. Right now he has had no side effects. Right now he is waiting for me to eat lunch with him. Right now, I think I'm going to enjoy some time with him.
P.S. If you'd like to learn more about the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, namely Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] which is a completely different type of illness), please visit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.