Thursday, May 31, 2007
What Then Is Love?
"For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health," this familiar phrase has been repeated by multitudes of men and women at the covenant altar of marriage throughout the years. In the spring of 1987, my faithful husband, Strongman, proved to me that commitment to a life-mate depends not upon chronological age, but relies upon love...the “real-life” definition of love.
Nursing school raced with activities…difficult classes, physically challenging clinical rotations, it was no wonder my head hurt, really hurt! However, a major seizure caused me to rethink my idea of stress-related headaches.
After testing, the doctors found an arteriovenous malformation (similar to an aneurysm) in the left front portion of my brain. The severe headaches I had been experiencing were due to the pressure it was placing on the surrounding brain tissue, and it had started to leak, which caused the seizure.
Grim predictions were given...If I chose not to have surgery, “don’t lift more than five pounds, don’t get constipated, don’t sneeze or cough,” the neurosurgeon advised. In addition, the unthinkable, “You will not be able to have children, and even with these precautions, the AVM could possibly rupture anyway causing coma or death. If you choose to have the surgery, there will be six months, at least, of slurred speech, a very high possibility of short-term memory loss, possibly long-term memory loss, right-sided weakness, and if it went sour... coma or death,” the surgeon reported.
Not having a clue what to do, I was extremely upset!! (None of these predictions occurred due God’s awesome power, but I will save that story for another post).
At age twenty-three, Strongman stood strong through this nightmare. He never allowed me to see his fear as he continually encouraged me to go ahead with the surgery, all the while assuring me that he would always be by my side. As he promised on our covenant day three years earlier, he did stand by me.
After the surgery, he would take my temperature and pulse to ensure no infection was brewing; he helped me to the bathroom in the middle of the night (my equilibrium was affected by anti-seizure medication) and even shaved my legs, because I could not bend over to do it for myself.
Because of the damage done to brain tissue and a medication sensitivity, the seizures continued like clockwork every three months for two years. Driving was restricted, and I did not want to think about finishing my final year of nursing school. Yet, Strongman was there encouraging me not to give up.
"For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health!" We have known all of these in varying degrees during our years together, but...what then is love? Is it gushy emotions, kisses and hugs…yes, however, these things wax and wane with the passage of time. True love, eternal love, is steadfast and faithful, perseverant and full of care…True love then is my husband, Strongman.