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My Husband Called Me a Hamster, and I Agree With Him

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My husband and I are constantly making jokes, puns, or just spouting heavy sarcasm at home. The subject doesn’t matter, as we can find a way to make most situations funny. It can get morbid on occasion, but that’s how we work. I have no doubts my husband takes my diseases very seriously and the playfulness we have between each other are our way to bring joy back into my bad days. I believe it to be one of the reasons we do so well together. When I’m ill and can barely move, he can still make me laugh even if it hurts. Heck, I’ll probably make a joke about how he just makes me laugh because it hurts. It keeps our life full of laughter even when it seems there isn’t a reason to be happy.

Last week, my husband called me a hamster. This isn’t the first time we’ve called each other silly pet names. Without missing a beat, I returned “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!” I thought that was the most logical reply, obviously. He laughed, but when he explained the reason he called me that, it hit home. Our jokes have never moved past the “humor” phase with me until this moment. He looked at me and said something I’ll never forget.

“You’re a hamster. When you first see a hamster, they’re cute, they seem relaxed, and they look happy doing their own thing. When you actually look at it, you can see that most of them are just little balls of anxiety and stress. Just living gives them anxiety. You’re anxiety wrapped in adorable.”

Of course, he meant it as a joke, but it opened my eyes more than I think he realized. I’ve been under a bit more stress than normal recently but that doesn’t change my pretty constant state of anxiety. It has really skyrocketed since my pulmonary embolisms a few years ago. I’m continuously thinking every ache or pain is another clot. Pair that with regular pain from my diseases and you have a hamster. I’m a wreck about my health, home, friends, and most of all, I’m a terrified my diseases are damaging my family.

I attempt to be the best mother and wife I can be while also being chronically ill. When I can’t be, I get anxious. This doesn’t mean I criticize myself or that my husband blames me. No, I know there is nothing I can do when I’m flaring. I try to keep doing my best with what my body is giving me at any moment. My anxiety still goes through the roof when I see dirty dishes in the sink or when my son complains that I’m boring. Though I try to hide it, my husband and those close to me see it without issue. So, I suppose I agree with my husband. On the outside, I may look like I’m comfortable and that I know exactly what I’m doing, but I’m just a hamster. If you look closely, you’ll miss it.

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Thinkstock photo by spectre labs

Originally published: February 10, 2017
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