[This is an extremely personal, humiliating story and I’m hesitant and embarrassed to tell it. Yet I feel compelled to, because it shows what an incredible man my husband was, and the whole world should know what true love looks like.]
Have you ever wondered what true love looks like in action? This morning I took notice of a scar I’ve had for a few years now and the memories of how I got it came flooding back. It caused one of those bittersweet moments that just shattered me temporarily.
About 3 years ago shortly before Easter, my husband and I were walking and/or biking every day, sometimes for hours at a time. One day I began to have trouble walking. My upper right thigh was stiff and sore and we both naturally assumed it was due to some sort of strain from all the exercise because I first noticed it while getting off the bike one evening.
For several days afterwards, it began getting progressively worse to the point where I was having difficulty getting out of bed and began sleeping on the couch with my leg elevated against the wall. My husband took to sleeping downstairs with me so he could help me to the bathroom or get me a drink (or an ice pack or an aspirin) if I needed one.
My oldest daughter actually made Easter dinner that year because I couldn’t stand upright for any length of time. I was exhausted and lethargic and my leg began to swell (which is saying something because I’ve got some “healthy” thighs – at least that’s what someone once told me). Yet, we kept thinking (hoping) that it was nothing serious and that it would finally start getting better.
The breaking point came late one night (early morning?) when I needed to get to the bathroom, but my leg was hurting so bad I could barely crawl. After a few feet, I just stopped there on all fours and began to cry. It hurt to move forward, I just wasn’t able to go any further and was going to wet myself. Here I was, in pain, needing to pee, and unable to move. What a mess!
So my husband did the only thing he could.
He went to the kitchen and got a plastic cup and held it under me so I could relieve myself. That stupid song Red Solo Cup kept running through my head and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t exactly what Toby Keith meant when he talked about “filling it up”, but it was such a relief – literally.
He never thought twice about it, never made a face or comment or gave any indication that it was such a nasty thing to have to do (because, really… yuck!). I remember thinking then and afterwards “that is true love”.
We ended up at the emergency room later that morning and I was hospitalized for several days with a MRSA infection.* It seems when my daughter’s kitten scratched me on the upper chest while trying to climb my chair with me in it, he sent the bacteria systemic and it somehow settled in my leg. They operated on it to remove the infection and I was on heavy antibiotics for awhile. Now I have an ugly scar on my right thigh as a reminder of the event, but a beautiful memory of how much one man loved me.
When my husband and I discussed it all days and weeks later, I thanked him repeatedly saying I’m sure he never signed up for that when he married me. His responses were always something along the lines of “I’d do anything for you”. He definitely put his love into action that night. And I’ve got the scar to prove it.
* – Mine was likely a strain of Community-Associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), which is becoming more common. Although it was unclear where I originally came into contact with it, 1 in 3 people carry the staph bacteria in their nose, and as many as 2% of the population carry MRSA at any time, so it literally could have been anywhere. In my case, it was extremely unfortunate that a simple cat scratch resulted in such a major ordeal.
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