What Does Death Do Us Part Really Mean?

My son has known his wife since middle school. They have been married for 18 years and have 3 beautiful children.

They stood in front of their family and friends and made promises and recited their vows. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, all the days of our lives.

What happens when sickness takes over?

We all believe in these vows of course, but what happens when the sickness part kicks in and takes over? About 14 years into their marriage, my son started having issues with his kidneys. One day, he just started feeling bad. He was a little overweight and thought that he was having some stomach issues.

He decided to go to the doctor who ordered bloodwork. When the bloodwork came back, things didn’t look right, so she ordered more labwork. He was immediately told to meet with a nephrologist, a kidney doctor, as you know. They diagnosed him with chronic kidney disease. His first question was, what does that mean?

He was told that it meant his kidneys were shutting down and he needed to change his life. Five years later, he was on dialysis. The doctors started talking about dialysis and transplants. Our heads were spinning at the time. His wife was there for him the entire time.

Chronic kidney disease can take a toll on a marriage

He is now in his 40s and has had to explain why he can’t eat or drink certain things. Some people just don’t get it. He’s now tired, has a rash on his face, and is dealing with pain that has a mind of its own. He tosses and turns all night. Does his wife deserve this? He knows his wife professed that she would love him in sickness and in health, but of course, she didn’t see this coming, she couldn't have. When he says he’s having a hard day, she asks why. It’s not as though she doesn’t know why, but wants to know why, so she can try to fix it. He gets angry that their best years involve him being sick.

When he got CKD, it did have an impact on him. He couldn’t see how this was going to impact his marriage in the long run, let alone how this was going to impact his job, his income, and how he raises his family. He didn’t want his wife to become a caregiver.

Communicating honestly

He can’t know what tomorrow will bring, but they both know that their promises are to each other. So, he will go to all his doctor appointments, get his monthly blood work, take his medications, do all of his MRIs, and provide for his family under any circumstances.

Every day will not be a bed of roses. He knew that they had to keep the line of communication open, so they could both know how each other was feeling, as they navigate this together. They have learned to be patient with each other. Having CKD is no walk in the park.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

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