We have certainly been through a lot in our time together. Some highlights (and lowlights):
*Jim was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic
*Jim crushed his hand in a snowmobile accident and had it rebuilt
*We traveled extensively (France, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cuba)
*6 years of infertility
* The car accident and my ongoing recovery
*Bennett and his subsequent Cerebral Palsy diagnosis
Through it all, we have pretty much always been on the same page in regards to everything and have always managed to find laughter in even the darkest situations. I can honestly say that we’ve never had a big fight – a few small disagreements, but nothing major.
When I woke up in that van after the accident, the only thing I could think of was how much I wanted Jim there. I was going crazy waiting for him at the hospital. Once he got there he never left my side. In our relationship, I was always the aggressive one – the one who took care of pretty much everything. Suddenly, Jim was thrust into the role of being my caregiver and my advocate. He performed admirably.
When I came home from the hospital, Jim returned to the work. When he returned at 6pm, he took over as my main caregiver. He fed me, helped me into my wheelchair, gave me sponge baths, emptied my bed pan, helped me roll over, etc. The hospital bed was set up in the living room and Jim slept beside me on the couch every night – for 4 months - despite my pleas to have him sleep in our bed. Being pregnant, I had to pee every hour. This involved the following routine:
1. I would wake him up.
2. He would remove all 6 of my supportive pillows and strap on my leg brace over my cast.
3. He would then help me sit up – quite a procedure considering my broken leg, my broken wrist and being very pregnant.
4. We would sit and wait for about 5 minutes while my dizziness went away and my leg stopped throbbing.
5. He would then help me onto my platform walker and position the commode.
6. Once I was done, we reversed the entire process to get me back into bed where once again, each pillow had to be positioned perfectly.
7. He would then go back to sleep on the couch, only to get up again an hour later to repeat the entire thing again.
8. At 6am, he would leave for work.
During all this, he NEVER once complained. He was kind, gentle and encouraging. After Bennett was born, it became obvious that he couldn’t return to work so he took 3 months off to take care of both of us. I still laugh when I remember how on one of his very few days “off” he went snowmobiling with a couple friends who asked “You must be anxious to get back to work because you must be bored at home?” Jim’s reply was “Are you crazy, I’ve never been so exhausted in my life!” How naïve of them to think that being at home with a newborn and a wife in a wheelchair, could be boring.
While in the hospital, I remember a nurse telling me that I was “lucky” that Jim stuck around as most men would leave in his situation. I was shocked – first of all, it was sad that this woman had such a negative view of men and secondly, that thought had never occurred to me. Many people also said that they were “impressed” with Jim and how he handled everything. I must say though, that I wasn’t. The truth is, I’ve always been impressed with Jim and would have expected nothing less from the man I married. He is wonderful and amazing in every way – that is something, I have always known. Did the accident reinforce my belief – of course! And needless to say, the man has earned enough Brownie points to last a lifetime!
I am a very lucky woman to have Jim as my husband and I try to let him know everyday that I appreciate everything he does. He is an extraordinary husband, a wonderful father and my best friend.
Happy Anniversary Jim!