Taking Care of My Health in Light of My Husband’s Chronic Illnesses
Now and then, I think about my own health. I wonder if I’m caring for myself enough, or if my husband’s illnesses might be standing in the way.
When health issues unexpectedly crop up for him due to his hemophilia or seizure disorder, certain worries are inevitable. What if I get sick at a bad time? What happens in the event of a long-term ailment?
Life is composed of innumerable variables. It’s impossible to fully control the things that may happen to us in the future. (Oh, my anxiety’s having a ball now that I’m writing down these thoughts.)
A metaphor that always gets thrown around in the caring community is that carers must put on their own oxygen masks first. The rationale is simple: How can we provide optimal care if we are troubled as well?
The truth about my husband’s illnesses is that they have a greater bearing on our lives than the state of my health does. Although I am diagnosed with depression and anxiety, which inevitably make my life difficult at times, these are not as debilitating as hemophilia and a seizure disorder.
Hemophilia is not easily treatable here in the Philippines, due to the short supply of factor products, which makes prophylactic treatment impossible. Seizures have a direct effect on potential employment and my husband’s ability to go wherever he needs to by himself.
I can be down for a few days with a minor illness like the flu or a stomach bug, but Jared being bedridden for over a week due to a serious bleed would still have a greater effect on us, our work, and the way we manage our family.
The idea of taking care of one’s health sounds simple and straightforward, but in reality, the concrete steps involved in doing so can be tedious and time-consuming. To maintain an optimal state of health, one must remember to get routine physical exams, purchase vitamins and necessary medications, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Ideally, one must also avoid stress or find ways to unwind after encountering stressful situations.
In our country, going to a doctor is considered a luxury because healthcare can be so expensive compared to our earnings. Since normal wages are just enough to cover most people’s food, transportation, and housing expenses, purchasing pharmaceutical products for the sake of health maintenance isn’t always top of mind.
I’ve often felt this way even as a small business owner. This feeling is amplified by the thought that my health insurance isn’t paid for by a company. In my attempt to take care of it on my own, I took out a life insurance policy on myself — but I still feel the need to buy more policies in the event of an emergency.
Now and then, it dawns on me that I cannot afford to have a major health breakdown for reasons that go beyond financial. I often wonder who will take care of my husband and little girl if I ever have to be hospitalized for a long time. For this reason, good health is always at the top of my prayers.
However, my anxiety disorder adds another layer of complexity to all of this. At times I lose sleep because of my anxiety, which causes stress that threatens my physical health. Sadder is that I often wait until my condition is bad before seeking professional help, because I don’t want to spend too much money.
What ultimately brings me back to my senses is the thought that Jared and I are in a marriage. His body is mine, as mine is his. One body, one soul, united in matrimony.
The concept is real as much as it is spiritual. Because we are married, neither his health nor mine is more important. The question of whose health ought to be prioritized is moot to begin with.
If I must do something for the sake of my own health, I should prioritize that. My husband always tells me that for him, what’s most important is that I’m around. And that’s the one thing I need to keep in mind if I’m having a hard time deciding.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.