After my mom died a year and a half ago I thanked my sister Carolyn for doing the majority of caring for her. I used the word 'burden' and she quickly corrected me, "It wasn't a burden. I was the lucky one. I got to spend time with her." At the time I thought it was a great tribute to my mom: Her children saw it as a privilege to take care of her during her dying days. I now know even better what she meant. I've received a lot of emails commending me for stopping most of my responsibilities and dedicating my time to taking care of Amy. That comment initially surprised me. My initial thoughts have been: "Well, of course. I signed up for 'In sickness or in health'," or "Did I have a choice?" I guess one sees the statistics that up to 40% of spouses are abandoned in times like this and one realizes that we have a choice, but the other choice is reprehensible. As a missionary, I probably am more able to make this choice since people still support us even though I'm not 'working' full time at the moment. I suppose most others can't just quit their jobs to take care of their spouses and still pay the bills. Being a physician helps, though there isn't much that I'm doing that non-medical people couldn't do. I probably have a higher tolerance to seizures and vomit and I don't have to ask someone how much the next dose of pain meds should be. I have a thin spouse. If she were 200 pounds I wouldn't be able to care for her well. And being healthy myself makes carrying her possible and stamina gained from marathon running helps me to change bedding at 2 am. Our hope of a painless eternity with Christ makes being even-keeled emotionally possible.
So I guess I am lucky. I can spend this time with Amy when any one of these variables could make it so I couldn't do it. I'm the lucky one. I get to spend time with her.