What Happens When Both Spouses Get Sick at the Same Time?
While columnist Alliah Czarielle manages a bad cold, her husband deals with a joint bleed
As I write this, I’m battling my first major cough and cold since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Regular mask-wearing seems to have lowered our chances of getting sick, which is good. But now I’m no longer used to feeling ill.
At the same time, my husband, Jared, is bedridden due to a bleed in his right ankle. Since his right ankle is his target joint — a joint where three or more bleeds occur in a six‐month period — he doesn’t take any chances with bleeds in that area. As soon as he sensed pain, he quickly infused himself with factor and went on complete bed rest for the next three days.
I used to dread what might happen if both Jared and I got sick at the same time. Though we are both diagnosed with chronic illnesses (he has severe hemophilia B and a seizure disorder, while I have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder), we are able to manage these conditions so that their impact on our daily lives is minimal.
Jared only struggles with his hemophilia whenever he has an ongoing bleed, and to a lesser extent, during synovitis flare-ups. A seizure may catch him by surprise and put him in a dreamlike state for a few minutes, but once he regains consciousness, life resumes as usual.
My ADHD can affect my time management and decision-making abilities, but I can employ coping strategies to help me function at an acceptable level. But if I were to get sick while Jared is nursing an injury? That would be a recipe for disaster! How would we make food? How would we take care of our 3-year-old daughter? How would we make money as freelancers who get paid based on time and work output?
Managing simultaneous health issues
On the first day of Jared’s injury, I made the necessary adjustments to keep our household running. I took full responsibility for the chores we normally share — an extensive list that would overwhelm just about any working mom like me. However, as Jared was out of commission, I had no choice but to do them myself.
Then the cold symptoms started. And it wasn’t just an ordinary cold — it was a raging cold! I had seemingly endless sneezing fits and a cough that would’ve given my usual abdominal exercises a run for their money.
The next day, I just couldn’t handle it any longer. My body felt heavy. I was running on limited energy and wanted to remain in bed. I had woken up countless times from horrendous coughing fits, and I just wanted to catch up on sleep, or at least rest my head. Meanwhile, Jared’s ankle was slowly improving, but he didn’t dare leave the bedroom just yet, lest his ankle make an incomplete recovery.
So I called in sick to work. Thankfully, my boss was understanding. He reassured me that sickness is a part of life, and let me take the week off. I realized that I was merely overthinking things when I worried about work.
Since then, I’ve taken it easy on my mom duties. I’ve reduced my daughter’s baths to one a day from the usual two. I let her play with my phone for longer stretches of time, while Jared and I watch our own shows beside her.
I’ve let go of trying to keep the house neat and tidy and settled for adequately clean — just making sure the dishes don’t pile up and all trash is properly disposed of.
Instead of worrying about getting everything done, I’m diverting my focus to getting better. I’m giving my body the grace to recover and my weary mind a chance to rest. I’m letting go of the idea of perfection and allowing myself to just get through this double-whammy health challenge we’re experiencing.
Soon, Jared’s ankle will make a full recovery, thanks to his factor infusion. And if I’m not better by then, he should be able to help me, as partners do. And when we’re both well again, we can go back to our usual routine.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.