She was in a serious car accident when she was 23. The result was a fractured back, a shattered bone in the leg and some other minor injuries. The doctor told her sister she would not walk again. But she would. And she would learn to ask for help. After a long journey, she healed (physically and mentally), learned to walk again, regained her abilities and resumed a modified but mostly normal life.

She met him and life continued.

One day, neurological issues started to present. She was eventually diagnosed with an incurable chronic invisible disease. He did research with her and went to the appointment where she learned to inject herself with medication. She would, each time, sit and talk herself into it and finally give herself a shot in the muscle. If he saw her “waiting” to inject, he would tell her to just do it, get it over. It made her uncomfortable so she did it alone. And she cried.

He went with her to support group events. As the non-afflicted person, he was called her caregiver. He liked this immensely. She found it annoying; she was doing no less for herself or him since her diagnosis. But she appreciated that he went with her and she made several long-term friends. Then the events were less often and he rarely went with her.

She pursued a healthier lifestyle, with more exercise and less chemicals. She felt pretty good although she was often exhausted–a symptom of her disease.

She began to take medication for fatigue. Since it reduces the efficacy of hormonal birth control, her doctor recommended a tubal ligation. She would not be able to drive after the outpatient surgery so he drove her there and took her home.

She began to have serious debilitating pain issues. He encouraged her to keep going. She was tough but sometimes she would cry and cry and cry. She finally got answers…food allergies and possibly another disease. She immediately made changes–radical changes she never thought she was capable of making. He said he wanted her to be healthy; she should do whatever she needed. But he wasn’t going to change his lifestyle or health.

She had to change medications a couple of times for her disease. The third therapy caused more health issues: additional autoimmune disease. Then two more related diseases. She was distraught but he reminded her that she was fine and they had a great life.

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One of the diseases caused her to need surgery. She would be discharged a day or two later. He did not want to take the time off work and suggested his relative could take her. She balked. He backed down. He took her; when she was admitted to the prep area, he left, went to work, and came back later. But he had left her alone, blind without her glasses in the operating room, to wait alone. And she cried. He came back to visit and again to take her home when she was discharged late the next day.

One of the related diseases caused her to need another surgery. She scheduled the outpatient surgery when she thought he would easily be able to take a day off. He did not give her a choice–he was working and she would let the relative take her. And she cried.

One of her symptoms causes an occasional mishap, such as dropping items. She made sun tea and put it in the refrigerator. Later, she pulled the tea out and dropped the full pitcher on the tile floor, where it shattered. As she stood there in her bare feet and started to cry, he got off the couch and came towards her. He said “Just stand there. Don’t move. I will bring you some shoes. I will clean it up. Don’t cry.” She holds on to that moment, the moment he took care of her, when he took care of her the way she needed, without regard to how or what he wanted. And she wonders if there will ever again be others.

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