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Imgur Post Shows How to Take Care of a Partner With Chronic Illness

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Knowing what your partner wants or needs is tough, but when your partner has a chronic illness anticipating their needs can be even trickier. A trending Imgur post from  shows just how powerful some non-traditionally romantic actions can be.

“I have endometriosis. For those unfamiliar, it means a lot of things, but relevant to this post, it means Mother Nature gives me a whole lot of pain every month. Last night, I ended up crying in bed around 3:00 a.m., because it felt like I was getting stabbed in the stomach,” she wrote in her Imgur post, which has been viewed more than 600,000 times.

Romance is Not Flowers and Chocolate. It’s cleaning a grimy tub.

After her husband came home from work, he helped her with self-care related tasks and chores:

He immediately made me a snack with cheese and crackers and then went to town cleaning our tub. I mean *cleaning*. He scrubbed every jet, took off the filter, and made it sparkle and shine. He filled the tub with muscle relieving bath goodness he’d just bought, set the jets running, and brought me my favorite wine and chocolate after I settled in (along with “just shout out any time you want more wine.”)

As I sit here soaking, he’s now cleaning the kitchen and said he’d prepare dinner after. He got lotion for a massage, a hot pad for my stomach, and said we can watch trashy TV or play Breath of the Wild tonight while I relax in my pajamas.

“I have never, in my life, felt more cherished or protected,” she said commenting on his ability to swoop in and anticipate her needs without her asking.

We asked our community what their spouses or partners do for them during a flare, and what tips they would give others looking to support their partners. Here’s what they had to say: 

“The best support is that she loves me through it. Even when I’m stubborn and won’t accept anything for pain relief, even if I’m irritated and mean, even if I completely shut down… She just keeps loving me. I used to feel so alone during my flares and now I know I’ll never be alone again.” – Kiah P.

“My husband always encourages me to to rest and reminds me not to over do it even when I think I need to do more. My tips for people who have a chronically ill partner are: Be gentle, be encouraging. ask how you can help and most importantly, remember how grateful we are for you even if we forget to say it often enough.” – Hannah G.

“My fiancé helps me a lot… He does a lot of the housework and makes me cups of tea with biscuits. He also [takes] trips to the pharmacy to pickup my meds. When we are out and I start to feel fatigued, in pain or unwell he can always tell even when I keep it to myself. He then calls a taxi and takes me home. He comes with me on every doctors and hospital appointment, even though he hates hospitals. He is super supportive… He’s amazing. My tip to partners of chronically ill or disabled people… Be patient and understanding.” – Sukie M.

“A lot! There are a lot of times that I’ve just gotten comfortable on the couch only to realize I forgot to grab something from the kitchen, so he’ll go grab it for me. Or he’ll massage my legs when they are driving me crazy, microwave heating pads or snuggle when I just need to not be alone!” – Alicia T.

“Having my fiancee as emotional support helps me tremendously. I don’t know what I would do without him. He allows me to cry on his shoulder when all the pain and stress become too much. He’s there when I need to just vent and say how much I hate living with my disease. Then on my good days I’m so thankful that he’s still able to be happy when I’m happy. I’m glad he doesn’t see a good day and think ‘Well when is a bad day gonna be back.’ He cherishes me and I cherish him.” – Ashlee G.

“He just holds my hand. He makes a cup of tea for the both of us and sits beside me and holds me. Even when I am mean … he never asks; he knows I’m in pain.” – Elena K.

“My husband cooks, helps me dress, bathe and walk around when I need to. He will rub my back, make coffee and get me my meds. He does pretty much anything I need him to do.” – Courtney H.

“My spouse knows how groggy and down I get, so he jumps right in to take care of the kids and shoos me to the bedroom so I can get much needed rest. When our flares act up sometimes we don’t even have the energy to take care of ourselves, so having a spouse that is able to remind us to eat when we need, drink and take our medicine is one of the best things we could possibly have.” – Bonnie P.

What would you add? 

Originally published: April 1, 2017
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