Brief history: My husband has a heart defect called tetralogy of fallot. He had his complete repair at age two. He is a generally healthy person other than suffering from migraines and scoliosis. We are expecting his pulmonary valve to be replaced within 1-3 years.
I take on many roles as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, etc. But one I often don’t go into too much detail is my role as a heart wife. This time of year, it really starts taking over my thoughts since my husband’s yearly cardiology check up is coming in March. That may seem like a way away to some of you, but the weeks fly by so fast for our family that it’s just around the corner for us.
This time around we are really holding our breath. At Joe’s last cardiology check up in March of 2011, we were informed that he would be facing pulmonary valve replacement within 1-3 years. This means open heart surgery. He would be unable to work or drive for six weeks. A lot of questions come to mind such as what will our insurance cover? Will this put us into insane amounts of debt? Are we going to be okay financially when he has to take time off of work? We can set money aside, we can ask the insurance company questions to find out the information we need, but in the end I just want to cry. Because no one can answer the biggest questions that I have. Only God knows those answers. My thoughts race from insurance questions to will my husband live through the surgery? What if there are complications? What if they get in there and say there is more damage than they thought and there’s nothing they can do? Maybe I watch too much Grey’s Anatomy.
No one, NO ONE other than other CHD families can understand the stress that I/we go through. My husband is one of those silent sufferers. I am sure he has questions and is stressed and scared too, but he lives in the moment. He does what he has to do so our family can thrive. I am the one who reads too much, who thinks of every possible outcome, and stresses out about every little thing. I sit there in the waiting room alone while he is going through tests and just stress out. I call people, play on the internet on my phone, and do whatever else I can to occupy my time. But what about Joe?
My husband has spent his entire life trying to be normal (or his definition of it. Hehe ;)) He doesn’t like to be treated like he is disabled or has a handicap. Sure, he gets worn out easier than other people. But he works long hours at his main job and has a business on the side that keeps him busy at times. He is our sole income provider and also is a father and husband. He helps me around the house as much as possible. He is a human being who is just trying to live and get by like anybody else in this world. He doesn’t think about his heart defect very much (or at least that he shares with me) and he doesn’t let it get to him. He really has to be the strongest person I know. He is amazing.
So the next time he’s undergoing tests, I have to remind myself that while I have a lot of stress, he is the one who is going through all of this. Yes, we are married and have a family together, but this is his LIFE. A whole 28 years he is, but he is old fashioned and wise beyond his years. Can you imagine holding it all together like he does? This is why I call my husband a CHD survivor.
I’m linking up to the Welcome to the Weekend Blog hop: