Today is my husband’s birthday. This year, like every year he said to not buy him gifts or bake him treats. I bought a couple gifts anyhow, and I looked forward to making him one of his favorite desserts. We are on a tight budget due to my brain surgery in Pittsburgh in exactly 2 weeks, but our pantry is full and I was exciting about making something just for him.
Instead I came face to face again with my disorder, disability, non-stop pain and the exhaustion so all encompassing that it becomes it’s own entity- the ghost owner with the switchblade stabbing into my right ear with each beat of my heart takes it one step farther and presses the fast forward button on my anxiety as well. I find myself awake, pleading with my body to shut down and nap for at least a short time, so I can help in the evening instead of sitting, frozen in pain. This is my time to recharge- the time between late morning, since my husband gets up early every morning to take our eldest to school without waking me, and dinner which he took over several months ago when making even simple meals became a task requiring several hours and often a lackluster responses from our kiddos.
I love my husband. I also love to cook, create and make birthday cakes for our family. For the ten years we have been together he husband says he doesn’t want anything for his birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas. Despite what he says I look forward to planning what to make for dinner and dessert. Today, for his birthday he has gone out to pick up pizza and a birthday cake, and I am cursing this disorder that has stolen my ability to do much of anything other than get through each day trying to fend off the stabbing in my ear from skyrocketing into a pain that deserves it’s very own pain scale.
My husband is a disabled Army veteran. He was injured in the Army in the late ’90’s. Three years ago, before my disorder began he started having debilitating migraines every weekend after working 60 hour weeks for a year. I was amazed he could work that much and then have the energy to sit down to dinner with our child, one in my belly and myself!
One day while sitting in his parked work van a woman reversed her car directly into the giant, white, stationary object. His head jerked back, but it seemed he was okay. Shortly after we moved back to my hometown with hopes of finding a small place to start a farm- we had been dreaming of a small farm with a garden and chickens for many years by this point. We found the perfect home and farm a year later. As we were making our plans to move, my disorder had just begun, yet to be diagnosed, but it was, and still is very frightening. I asked my husband to quit his job for a month or so until I was better, because I needed help taking care of our young children. That was over three years ago. In this time we also learned that he has bone spurs at the top of his spine, and his spine is seriously injured in numerous places.
Despite his constant pain, rounds of Botox, epidurals and specialists talking about a spinal surgery to fix his spine and reduce the horrible pain which also triggers his terrible, daily migraines, he has taken over everything I used to be able to do, along with things I loved doing. Cooking, chores, keeping our kids well fed, taking naps, completing homework, learning to read and learning colors and letters, caring for our dwindling number of chickens, grocery shopping school meetings- in a nutshell -everything. He rarely complains and he always places my health and well being before his own. If we are both ill he’ll insist I lay down. If we both hurt very badly on the same day. which is becoming every day now, he makes sure I am cared for and he will wait hours, sometimes 24, to rest if our youngest has insomnia or either of our children are unwell.
Today I wanted to make him his only birthday request – banana pudding with Nilla Wafers, banana and whipped topping. I conceded that I was not up to making it all from scratch. I was really looking forward to baking him something special. Before this disorder I cooked and baked so often. There were almost always fresh baked muffins and treats on the table. It took until I was in my 30’s, but I finally learned to cook, mostly healthy meals, but always decadent desserts. I loved seeing my family enjoy the meals I made. Now I am unable to open some boxes and containers, cut a few bananas and mix ingredients together. I am disappointed at my inability to do simple things. My husband will not mind if he has to wait for his dessert. He is patient as he waits for my next brain surgery to end this marathon of pain. He waits, patiently and quietly as the pain attacks his spine and head.
I realize I cannot express all the love, care and respect I have for my husband in a pie or cake. I love you Grimm! You are worth much more than a simple pie, but I still wish it’s what you could enjoy tonight. You are my best friend and best husband ( 🙂 ). Happy Birthday! Thank you for taking care of me for these past three years ( really a decade!) One day we won’t hurt- can you imagine?! I’ll have to open a bakery to make up for all the lost baking time! I can’t wait until the day we no longer hurt, at least this bad, so we can dream and make plans for an amazing future.