In Sickness

July 14, 2010

If you were to meet my husband and I for the first time without knowing anything about us, you would probably form the opinion that we are a classic example of opposites attracting. He is talkative and hilarious in social situations, making everyone around him feel comfortable. This is really a huge part of why I married him, because I am reserved and sometimes awkward around new people, and I find it hard to make new friends. I like to bring him places as a kind of security blanket.

After meeting us, you might be surprised to find out that he’s actually a very private person. Too bad he married a blogger. I might keep quiet around large groups, but get me one on one and I’ll tell you my life story if you ask. I’d also tell you my husband’s life story if he’d let me – okay, sometimes I do anyway. I’m not embarrassed to talk about our struggles, because I figure we all have them and I could definitely use the support.

Anyway, I try to show David that I love him in many ways, and one of them is by NOT writing about him too often here. Or at least when I do write about him, it’s about how great he is – which is completely true, of course. But today he gave me the go-ahead to tell you about something we are going through that involves him, because it affects every part of our lives. Right now I can’t really think about anything else, so it was either this or nothing.


The month before David and I got married he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis of both hips. What happens in this disease is that the bone dies due to lack of blood flow; it is progressive, irreversible, and incredibly painful. Our honeymoon was the last time I remember being truly active with him, because a couple of months later he had two separate surgeries, one on each hip, to try and halt or slow down the progression of the disease. It worked…for a little while. But there was still pain, and a lot of it.

After the initial two surgeries he decided to see a pain management doctor because the Vicodin that regular doctors can prescribe wasn’t cutting it. Over the last year and a half he has been on at least six different types of narcotics. The pain keeps getting worse, his body becomes tolerant, and there are side effects to consider. Boy oh boy, are there side effects.

The only real solution to his problem is to get his hips replaced. However, hip replacements aren’t permanent, and he’s still young. There is a long recovery and they only last about 30 years right now. His doctor had told him to hold off for as long as possible because a lifetime hip replacement is in development. Plus, there’s the fact that it’s MAJOR surgery, which comes with its own costs and risks, not to mention that it makes him feel like a geriatric.

Well, he held off as long as he could. Over the past week his pain has grown exponentially. He can’t get around without the use of crutches. He feels like he’s not on any pain medicine at all, when just one of the pills that he’s taking would kill me if I took it. Yesterday he went to his orthopedist and it was confirmed: he is having the surgery and as soon as possible.

I’m trying to keep the long-term benefits in mind. How this will bring so much relief to him, how he can wean off the meds and say goodbye to side effects, how he will be able to do so much more things with me, how in the end it will lead to a much happier and healthier home. The surgery makes me nervous, but in general I would be relieved to have it done, if it weren’t for one thing: the timing.

We have a vacation planned for two weeks away, and now we can’t go. I’m really, really sad about this, and David feels terrible. It’s not his fault, of course, and his health comes first. But apparently I thrive on having something to look forward to, and I had been planning this for months. I write about my job here from time to time, but seriously – it’s the kind of job where taking regular breaks is necessary for emotional health & sanity. Instead I’ll be using my time off doing a different kind of nursing. I’ll do it for him gladly, but it’s not exactly the break I was going for.

There are also financial issues to consider, which are unfortunately really stressing me out. Surgery is expensive, and we are scheduled to start fertility treatment next month which isn’t cheap. Then there’s our house refinance that hasn’t gone the way we planned, an issue with his medicine & insurance that resulted in a huge unexpected cost to us, and the consequence of all this is that I’m wallowing home alone without even the energy to make myself a sandwich. Anyone want to come do that for me?

I’m sure this is one of those blessings in disguise. It’s going to be a good thing, and we are going to grow as a couple because of it and when it’s all behind us we’ll be so much happier. Getting to that point, though, isn’t going to be easy.

Posted in: personal

Comments on In Sickness

  1. 1

    From Chelsea:

    Let us know when the surgery is so we can be praying! I’m sorry yall have to go through this but I pray that you’re right…. that it’ll have only positive effects on you and David and your future.

  2. 2

    From CW:

    How brave of you to share you & your husband’s story. I truly feel for you, and I’m sorry you both have to go through this. I’m also definitely a person who thrives on stuff to look forward to, so I can totally see why you’re sad.

    The financial thing is hard too. Next month I start nursing school full time and will be unemployed (unless I can get a part-time job as a tech or something at a hospital, which is proving to be very difficult for me since I have no prior healthcare experience). I am terrified of not having any money in savings or enough for our mortgage payment, etc. It’s scary but I’m trying to stay hopeful and remind myself that it’s only temporary. You can and will get through it!

  3. 3

    From Justine:

    Oh girly, I’m so sorry that you guys have the burden of that, but you’re right- I’m sure it will make you both so much happier to have him relieved of that pain. Sorry you are missing out on your vacation, but maybe you can plan another one sooner rather than later when he has recovered a bit

  4. 4

    From Elizabeth:

    I’ve been worried about your tweets–I am so sorry you’ve been thrown this, but I am glad that he seems to be in really good hands right now. I’ll be thinking of you, and thinking of the long run when you will be able to go on a vacation and be ACTIVE together.

  5. 5

    From Taryn:

    Kathleen I’m so sorry to hear about your hubs! But so thrilled he’s going to be in so much less pain in the NEAR future! Even though it is bad timing to come right when you were about to take a much-needed break, when you finally do get to take the vacation when he is all healed and better, it will be that much sweeter. PLUS when you do have little ones running around, you won’t be the only one chasing them :-)

  6. 6

    From Julienne:

    Thinking of you, and like Chelsea said let us know when the surgery is so we can be praying!

  7. 7

    From Megan:

    If I lived within five hours of you, I’d drive down and make you a sandwich. Five just seemed an appropriate cut-off for sandwich-making. Let me know when you don’t have the energy to pour a glass of water. Because I think that thirteen hours is the cut-off at that level. Then, I’ll be on my way.

    Someone go and make this girl a sandwich.

  8. 8

    From Stephany:

    I’m so sorry you and David have to go through this. I imagine it is extremely stressful, and I know how heartbreaking missing a vacation can be. I will be praying for your husband as he goes through this surgery & recovery.

    Thank you for being so honest. It’s refreshing.

  9. 9

    From Kyla Roma:

    Oh my gosh, this is so much to take in – I can’t imagine how hard it would be to watch him getting worse and not be able to do anything! You guys are an amazing couple, and it sounds like this is the absolute best thing for him. At least there’s no question that he’ll have top notch care at home while he’s recovering, I wouldn’t know what to do! :)

  10. 10

    From Lauren From Texas:

    You know I love you & am praying for you & am here if you ever need anything. I know I’m a ways away, but it’s still the truth. & I would totally come make you a sandwich if I could – a fancy chicken salad with a side of homemade potato soup. xoxoxo

  11. 11

    From David Stagg:

    Dear Kat,
    Bless your sweet heart. Marchar and I pray for you every day. Don’t forget you will never be without a place to stay as long as I’m around and it’s rent free. Tell David we love him and are hoping the pain will go away soon.
    Uncle David

  12. 12

    From Krista:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the trouble you and David are going through. I wish you both strength and peace throughout this difficult time.

  13. 13

    From MelissaOklahoma:

    I’m sorry… Those are certainly a lot of things to be upset about. Thinking about you and hoping for good things to come soon!

  14. 14

    From Nicole:

    Wow, I can’t imagine going through that! God is going to get you and your husband through!! I’ll be praying!

  15. 15

    From Emily Jane:

    I can’t imagine how stressful this must be and I am so sorry you guys have to go through this – please let me know when the surgery is, so I can be sure to keep you both in my prayers <3

  16. 16

    From Laura:


    I’m so sorry to hear about everything you and David are going through. I know how disappointing it is to cancel a much needed vacation and how worrisome it is for a loved-one to go through surgery. Since I read this post last week my husband and I have been praying for you guys daily. Please let me know when the surgery is so we can be praying more specifically for you both. I can’t wait for the day when all this of this is behind you!

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