When my other half got ill and needed medical tests and attention, I became very worried—more so than if it were my own health was in question, and I’m not exactly worry-free when it comes to that. I think this is what love does to us. It makes us more concerned about our partners than ourselves. I know that unconditional love is something usually felt in parent-child relationships, but when your partner is having difficulty, and you are more concerned for them than yourself, it comes pretty close.
My wife was fine, but the scare made us closer, and we talked about our feelings. She was grateful for my support, and that was nice to hear because I did all I could to make her comfortable. At times like these, you really need to put aside your personal goals and focus on the one you love. And it doesn’t have to be a medical issue. Anytime your partner has undue stress or is overwhelmed, you need to notice, say what you see, and then take up the slack.
When you do whatever you can to make this time easier for your loved one, it will also ease your own worry. Medical tests, exams, and discomfort are usually very stressful for both of you. Going to the hospital ER is obviously stressful, but even going for a doctor’s appointment can be difficult if something might be wrong. You can reduce your partner’s stress just by being there and doing your best to make them more comfortable.
When it’s your child who is ill, it can be even scarier because of their inability to communicate the problem clearly: they may just say, “I don’t feel good,” and you don’t really know where the discomfort is until they’ve thrown up on your shoes. Then you have to go into your Grey’s Anatomy mode and become paramedic, ambulance driver, nurse, and doctor. It’s always important to remember in these moments that your kids will take their cues from you. Whether it’s an accident or illness, if you stay calm, so will they.
Responding calmly is probably good to do, no matter who is ill and no matter what age. In truth, some adults can make your cranky two-year-old suffering with the sniffles look like a saint! But I digress.
When someone you are in a close relationship with needs physical care and attention, it’s the true test of love. When we take care of each other, our pains get lighter and our health gets better. (Just a quick reminder here to also be careful of overdoing it, as sometimes parents, partners, and adult children can be overbearing in the health area.)
Knowing that you are being taken care of by someone who loves you helps make both the caretaker and the cared-for feel safer. Illness can be not only uncomfortable but very scary. And having a loving touch to comfort you can make all the difference.