Relationships are strange creatures composed of similarities and differences bound together by an invisible connection. Coming to terms with another human being’s quirks is difficult enough without adding migraine into the mix.
Relationship baggage comes in all shapes and sizes. Entering a relationship with me means you better be prepared for me to unpack stubbornness, a feline companion or two, and many lessons in dealing with migraine illness.
I’ve been married for so long now that I can barely remember what it was like going through the dating process. I recall kissing more than a few frogs before my Prince Charming decided to park his black Pontiac Grand Am outside our little house on Westview Street and make a home with me.
He didn’t arrive on a white horse, but he did accept my strong will, my opinionated cat, and the unpredictable nature of my migraine episodes. I don’t remember at what point in the dating game I told him about the migraines. He doesn’t remember either, but he recalls not worrying about my illness getting in the way of a life together.
I’m certain neither of us anticipated I would one day be interviewing him about his migraine perspective. Since he and I share a conservative approach to money matters, my first question asks if he was ever concerned about the price to be paid for the privilege of living with me.
“Not until the first time you had to go to the emergency room because of a migraine. I knew we needed to make sure that didn’t happen very often. That was ridiculously expensive.”
Dollars and cents aren’t the only cost of entering a relationship with someone who has migraine. The true magnitude of migraine disease is not in words on a screen. Experience brings home the reality of migraine in a way talking can’t explain.
“What was it like for you the first time you witnessed me having one of my worst episodes? The kind where I’m curled up in a ball in the dark crying right before the vomiting happens.”
“I’m sure I felt bad for you.” He pauses briefly to give the question the thought it deserves. “I felt helpless to do anything about it. That’s when the problems you face became more real to me. There was nothing I could do to help you.”
That’s where he’s wrong. There is so much that he does to help me in my battles with migraine.
He turns off the lights and closes the draperies. He retreats to another room to quietly play on the computer until I’m ready to return to the world. To protect me from the painful consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke, he sacrifices going to outdoor concerts and doesn’t request outdoor seating at a restaurant.
He doesn’t blame me for our early departure from a friend’s party because of the triggering effects of their scented oil products. In the winter, he drives us on a different route to avoid the flashing of light through the leaf-barren trees on certain streets.
He respects how my stubborn nature makes me stronger and he appreciates the comfort my feline companions bring to me in times of joy and pain. He cares enough to learn about an illness he doesn’t have. He loves me because of our similarities and our differences.
The black Grand Am is long gone. My prince now parks a white Ford Fusion in the double garage of our little patio home. With reluctance, the man who cringes at the idea of sharing his feelings agreed to an interview for my migraine blog. That’s what lasting love looks like.
Relationships are strange and wonderful creatures. The power of connection can bring us partners in life and allies against the enemy of migraine.
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