Marriage advice: when a partner gets sick

Category: Marriage, Relationships 27 0

American doctor talking to senior man in surgeryBy now you already know that a man from Liberia was able to travel to the United States carrying the deadly Ebola virus. You also probably already know that he has since died and two nurses that helped care for him are now sick.

Nina Pham and Amber Vinson have both been identified as nurses that helped care for Thomas Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when he sought treatment. It is said that the hospital staff did not wear the proper protective gear around Duncan in the first stages of his treatment; however, it is also said that both women are doing well.

Having Ebola on American soil is terrifying enough for many people, but the fact that Vinson was able to fly between Dallas and Cleveland and back in the days before falling ill is even more concerning.

The public may be thinking along the lines of ‘Outbreak’ or ‘Contagion’ but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes there is very little risk to the general public, even at this stage.

This all begs the question: is there any marriage advice for when a partner gets sick?

Dealing with your partner’s illness

While your spouse’s chances of contracting Ebola are probably pretty slight, there is always a chance of them coming down with something else. When a spouse gets sick, be it from something like the flu or something a lot more serious, it can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. So, how do you deal with it? Here are some tips:

  • Talk about it. If you have concerns, share them. Some of the best marriage advice is to always keep the lines of communication open, even more so when one of you gets sick. Be open and honest and share your anxieties, schedule conflicts, and dealing with your own needs as well as your spouse’s.
  • Make your home conducive to recovery. Depending on how ill your spouse is, go ahead and set up a space dedicated to his or her recovery exclusively. This is particularly important if infection or mobility is a concern. Make sure there is a bed, table or tray area, and a proper receptacle for any bio-hazardous waste.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when you have a sick spouse. If you need help car-pooling the kids, cooking, or cleaning, enlist the help of loved ones. They are there for you!

Take care of yourself. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of anyone else. So, make sure that you pay attention to your own psychological, physical and emotional needs. Don’t sever social ties with friends and family. Go out for a quick bite or find the time to chat on the phone.

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