DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman who has battled rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's syndrome for the past eight years. My aunt passed away from complications of it at the age of 43, and I'm getting close to that age.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have become increasingly disabled. I can barely get out of bed without being in pain and cannot sleep. Household chores have become impossible, and I can get things done only near the end of the day when the swelling in my joints goes down.
I saw how this disease robbed my aunt of her livelihood, but I also saw how my uncle helped her with almost everything. I love my husband, but he seems to think that I can just take a pill and instantly and magically be fine, which is not true. He has unrealistic expectations of me that I cannot meet.
I have tried to get him to understand this is a chronic disease that will be with me for the rest of my life, and I have given him material to read, but he dismisses it. At this point, I feel like packing up and leaving because I'm a burden to him and I don't know what else to do anymore. Advice? -- FULL OF PAIN
DEAR FULL OF PAIN: Packing up and leaving right now is not advisable. When couples promise each other they will stick together "in sickness and in health," situations like the one in which you find yourself is what's meant.
Does your doctor know the degree to which your health has declined in the last several months? If not, put the person on notice! Schedule a consultation, if possible, and when you do, your husband should be with you so he can fully understand what's going on and help you if you need it. If he isn't capable of doing that, you will have to make other arrangements for your care and for the housework you can no longer manage.
Please stop beating yourself up over this. You have done nothing wrong. Your husband could just as easily be the unwell spouse, if fate hadn't decided otherwise.