With Deepest Gratitude

 

I always knew he was a very good man.

Now I know that he is my hero.

It hasn’t been easy for Jerry the last six months. For anyone who has had a spouse care for them through cancer surgery and chemotherapy, those caretakers are the ones who deserve the kudos for ongoing patience, dedication, resourcefulness, and most importantly, humor.

First, there was the cancer surgery. When I needed help with almost anything, he was there. When I had drains to be drained and measured, he did it with the same devotion and rigor as a science experiment. (I guess you could say remotely that it was one.) He might have relished being not only my caretaker, but I have seen him as my knight in shining armor.

When the surgeon told me that I could go back to a normal life, my husband asked half in jest, “Am I being fired?”

That’s Jerry.

But it wasn’t the end of the journey. To our surprise, I would need chemotherapy, too. I don’t think there is any way to prepare a patient for the demands of treatment, the fatigue, the lack of taste buds, how favorite foods become abhorrent and chocolate/chocolate chip ice cream can become a godsend.

Every day, Jerry would have to do a taste bud check: What sounded good for dinner? I knew what I would make for myself for breakfast and lunch, but Jerry was the dinner chef. Scrambled eggs? Homemade soup? Scrambled eggs? Chicken and baked potato? Scrambled eggs?

Our menu has reduced substantially. Jerry insists on eating what I eat (although he does have wine and margaritas without me—they’re on my yucky list). And when I’ve thought something sounded like it would be tasty, and by dinner time it sometimes sounds awful, Jerry hasn’t blinked an eye and offers other suggestions: Pasta with chicken? Chicken Caesar Salad? Scrambled eggs?

Through it all, he has made me laugh and has provided lightness when I am discouraged. He double-checks the chemo drugs with the infusion nurse. He helps me load up little cups every week with powders, vitamins, and pills. He made an Excel sheet to track where we were in the process. He doesn’t hover: if he sees me washing the kitchen floor, he doesn’t ask me if I’m up to it; he assumes I am and thanks me for doing it afterward (which he does anyway).  He offers just enough encouragement to me when there are things I should do (like taking a walk every day), and I make sure he sees me snack throughout the day, so doesn’t worry too much about the weight I’m losing. He never looks at me with pity.

He only looks at me with love.

Happy birthday, Jerry; he is 75 years young today. The man deserves a medal.

How lucky can a woman be?

And to all those spouses and caretakers who have taken on the demanding job of caring for loved ones, I salute all of you.

Published in Marriage
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  1. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Happy Birthday, Jerry! The vows say, “In sickness and in health.” Good for you to honor them and in turn, our maker. 

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Here’s the Lovepop card I bought for him. Isn’t it perfect?

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    What a truly nice guy! 

    Happy Birthday, Jerry!

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Happy Birthday Jerry!

    • #4
  5. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    You are truly blessed. 

    Marital relationship as God intended. 

    • #5
  6. DrewInTherapy Member
    DrewInTherapy
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Awwww.

    I’m experiencing a bit of this right now. It’s not in my nature to allow myself to be waited on. I want to be the one doing the serving. But with my recent shoulder surgery, I can’t do much of anything for myself.

    And I can’t imagine how one would get through this alone. My wife has been having to help me dress, shower, . . . I can’t even do that most husbandly of duties: opening the pickle jar. If I were still “single guy” I don’t know how I’d manage.

    I’m constantly apologizing for all the extra work I’m causing her. She just says “Your time will come!”

    Here’s to those spouses who take care of us in our infirmities!

    • #6
  7. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    If he likes to make scrambled eggs, he should try this recipe at least once. 

    http://flavour-bomb.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-better-scrambled-eggs.html

    • #7
  8. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    If he likes to make scrambled eggs, he should try this recipe at least once.

    http://flavour-bomb.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-to-make-better-scrambled-eggs.html

    Soundslike the Parker House (Boston) scrambled eggs that they were famous for. The Parker House eggs call for cream. And like the Flavour Bomb recipe, the eggs are slow cooked and covered, stirring–more like turning, not stirring–frequently. 

    Scrambled eggs are my favorite thing to eat when I’m not feeling well. 

     

    • #8
  9. John Racette Coolidge
    John Racette
    @JohnRacette

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Here’s the Lovepop card I bought for him. Isn’t it perfect?

    Nice!

    • #9
  10. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    A beautiful tribute Susan – both to Jerry and marriage. G-d bless you both.

    • #10
  11. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Well done, Jerry. 

    Now that JY and I are in our 60s, one of the saddest things we’ve watched is our single friends struggle through illness or infirmities. More than once has expressed regret at throwing away good (or good enough) marriages in their 40s. 

    You take care, Susan. No fun being sick but it’s a blessing to not have to go it alone 

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Annefy (View Comment):
    You take care, Susan. No fun being sick but it’s a blessing to not have to go it alone 

    Like @drewinwisconsin, I’ve continued to say to Jerry, I don’t know how people do it without a loved one. Not just the physical needs but the emotional support, too. I don’t think I could have. Thanks, @annefy

    • #12
  13. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    It’s difficult to overstate the value of a loving husband and a good man.

    I knew I’d snagged a good one when I was diagnosed with lupus after we’d been married just one year. That year when I was severely ill almost all the time proved it to me and endeared him to my parents forever. It would have been easy for him to just throw up his hands and option out. In some ways the lupus year was worse than the cancer/chemo/surgery year. Lupus can be unpredictable and you don’t know what severity and illness the future will bring. But I had confidence throughout the cancer year that I would beat that one. As luck would have it we finally beat the lupus into remission and the cancer into nothingness. But I don’t know how I could have survived without someone to be there, uncomplaining and doing everything required. Like driving ten miles to get me the glazed donuts I like.

    Susan, we’re lucky to have gotten two of the good ones.

    We ate a lot of scrambled eggs too!

     

    • #13
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    DrewInTherapy (View Comment):
    I can’t even do that most husbandly of duties: opening the pickle jar. If I were still “single guy” I don’t know how I’d manage.

    Pickle-less.

    Happy birthday, Jerry.

    • #14
  15. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    A beautiful post, Susan. Blessing to you both.

    • #15
  16. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    No doubt his birthday wish is a happy and healthy you. 

    • #16
  17. DrewInTherapy Member
    DrewInTherapy
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Percival (View Comment):

    DrewInTherapy (View Comment):
    I can’t even do that most husbandly of duties: opening the pickle jar. If I were still “single guy” I don’t know how I’d manage.

    Pickle-less.

    I was waiting for that.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Susan, we’re lucky to have gotten two of the good ones.

    Indeed! I had no idea about the lupus, too! The future does look bright, though!

    • #18
  19. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Ha Shem, bless Jerry. I mean, through Susan you already have, but even more. 

    And may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you as well, Susan. 

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Ha Shem, bless Jerry. I mean, through Susan you already have, but even more.

    And may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you as well, Susan.

    Sweet, @hartmannvonaue. Thank you.

    • #20
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gotta show the wedding pic again . . .

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Then . . .

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Now . . .

    Anniversary Dinner, 2018

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I have got to get my wife to scan our wedding pics.  “Then and Now” would be a great post . . .

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    I have got to get my wife to scan our wedding pics. “Then and Now” would be a great post . . .

    And to be completely honest, I actually have no hair (or what would count for hair) at the moment. That’s the next “Now” picture with my hair fully grown back!

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    I have got to get my wife to scan our wedding pics. “Then and Now” would be a great post . . .

    And to be completely honest, I actually have no hair (or what would count for hair) at the moment. That’s the next “Now” picture with my hair fully grown back!

    I’ll wait!

    • #26
  27. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Happy Birthday, Jerry!  Indeed, you are both well blessed.

    • #27
  28. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Susan Quinn: When I had drains to be drained and measured, he did it with the same devotion and rigor as a science experiment.

    Ugh! I forgot about the drains and measuring puss.

    When Elizabeth Edwards was going through that her husband was knocking up his mistress so, yes, you got yourself a good man.

    • #28
  29. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Happy Birthday Jerry!

    Full disclosure:  I’ve had the inestimable pleasure/privilege of spending a few days with Susan and Jerry, and I can bear witness that everything she says about him is true. (I’m glad she mentioned the margaritas.  Jerry’s are beyond compare.  So, Susan, if you’re still turning your nose up at them next time, I’m drinking your share, ‘K?)

    Susan Quinn: How lucky can a woman be?

    As is true in many cases, the luck goes both ways.

    God Bless, you two.

    • #29
  30. CorbinGlassauer Inactive
    CorbinGlassauer
    @CorbinGlassauer

    Or there’s this.

    From The Nero Wolfe Cookbook, copyright 1973, fourth printing April 1974. Original copyright 1934.

    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 cup light cream
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 grinds black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 4 tablespoons clarified butter
    • several drops tarragon wine vinegar

    Bring water in double boiler to simmer. Mix eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, whisk vigorously. Melt butter in double boiler, then add egg mixture. Cover double boiler, leave for 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, cook clarified butter in a pan on extremely low heat until brown. When done, and off heat, add vinegar.

    After 15 minutes, open double boiler and begin stirring continuously until eggs are at desired texture.

    Serve, spooning butter-vinegar sauce on top of eggs.

    • #30