Doesn’t seem like there’d be any, does it? But there are some; it’s just a very small number.
I realized this when I was re-watching an episode of Royal Pains. It centered around an ex-doctor who was intractable, grumpy and endangering his health by refusing to accept his limitations.
And I realized that this won’t happen to Tim or me (except that we’re already grumpy). Because we’ve already learned to accept our physical boundaries.
Tim’s knee problems sometimes keep him immobile, or they’re at least stiff enough that he doesn’t feel safe driving. In those cases, he has to ask me to run errands. Between his pride and my fatigue, he absolutely hates asking more of me. But he’s made his peace with it.
He’s also given up his copious daily intake of Mountain Dew after his GERD diagnosis. The caffeine helped his ADD brain focus, so he’s more scattered. Also, without the constant sugar intake, his hypoglycemia is more pronounced.
I’ve had to accept that I can’t do most repair jobs myself — or, as your guys’ comments have taught me, can but shouldn’t. I’ve had to accept that doctors and insurance companies are now too ridiculous to give me meds I need to function at anything approaching a normal person’s level.
There are plenty more things we’ve had to learn to live with, but you get the gist.
Obviously, more ailments will crop up as we get older. But we’ve already learned to accept new limitations as they come — begrudging acceptance, but acceptance nonetheless. So we’ll make the best health choices rather than fight against them, which would cause us harm.
Which leads to the second benefit: comfort with your partner’s body. Not the fun kind.
Most people who marry before their 30s are going to be healthy. Despite the “in sickness” clause of the vows, they’re only seeing the robust version. They’re unprepared for the realities of a sick partner.
It’s draining and often icky (to use the technical term). Whether you deal with actual physical stuff or just discussing bodily functions (and malfunctions) in depth, it will be a huge change for a lot of people. I’d imagine that can put quite a strain on the relationship.
Meanwhile, I had to help Tim deal with his MRSA boils back in the day. He, among other things, has had to handle a pair of leggings that had been inundated with, er, miscarriage byproduct — at least long enough to get them in the washer.
It’s really not going to be a problem, even as our bodies get worse.
And the last benefit I could think of: excuses.
If I reeeaaally want to get out of something and can’t find a nice way to do it, I can fall back on my fatigue as an excuse. Not that I do this much at all, but it’s nice to know I can.
It can also be helpful when dealing with people who don’t fully understand depression. They might not understand not doing something because, mentally, I can’t handle leaving the house, but they will understand fatigue.
I suppose there’s one more benefit, but it only applies to some people with chronic ailments. If you’re on disability, your insurance is insanely cheap. Tim and I pay a total of $220 a month for Medicare. (Yep, I’m still on it. I used to feel vaguely bad about keeping it now that I’m able to hold down a job. But then I heard what people’s premiums and deductibles were and… I’ll live with the guilt.)
Are there any upsides that I’ve missed?