Love: In Sickness and Health
Esosa C. Imasuen
Over the past year, I have learned about Alzheimer's disease, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder,, and a myriad of other diseases that completely change people's lives. During this process that we aptly describe as "drinking from a fire hose," I have grown to have a deeper appreciation of and respect for marriage, a union where vows of "till death do us part" are exchanged and the word "love" is used freely and sincerely. In the context of the realities of these health-related trials, I have also grown to appreciate the importance of having a support group comprised of people who truly love you.
As a result of my exposure to patients’ personal stories, my definition of love has evolved. I have also come to realize that it is the tough times that truly solidify relationships. I would like to believe that anyone can lift flutes of champagne and go on adventures around the world with you, but it takes a genuine amount of love and commitment to go through the darker days.
That said here are the definitions of love that I have discovered over my 18 months in medical school:
Love is perseverance.
Love is sticking with your wife after she finds out she cannot have children.
Love is respecting your loved one's wishes and gathering up the strength to pull the plug.
Love is telling her she is beautiful after she found a lump in her breast and shaved off all her hair.
Love is supporting your loved one through opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Love is the hope you share for a successful pregnancy after multiple miscarriages.
Love is the woman who keeps coming back to visit her husband even though he does not remember her.
Love is re-teaching your 35 year old spouse how to read and write after a stroke.
Love is cleaning up, feeding, and providing for your loved one after the war led to their paralysis.
Love is more than having the wedding of your dreams.
Love is deeper than the hugs and kisses and the roses and chocolates on Valentine's Day.
Love is more than couple's costumes on Halloween.
Love is a bigger commitment than moving in together and getting a puppy.
So, my dear, I can only pray that if you seek love you will find it beyond the bed of roses and in a relationship where it is equally reciprocated - no matter what trials may come.
Peace and Love
Esosa C. Imasuen
Year in Medical School: MS2
Grew Up: Nigeria, England and Maryland, US
College Attended: University of Maryland, College Park
Favorite Quote: “I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars..”
- Og Mandino
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