An award-winning author recounts how her husband’s treatment to alleviate chronic back pain wreaked unexpected havoc on his health and their relationship.
When Goldman’s (Losing My Sister, 2012, etc.) husband, Henry, saw an advertisement for injections that alleviated spine problems, he eagerly made an appointment. Surgery had been ineffective in curing chronic back pain, and engaging in the athletic activities he loved—jogging, racquetball, and tennis—had become impossible. Rather than cure him, the treatment left Henry paralyzed from the waist down. The doctor insisted all would be well despite disturbing signs to the contrary. Goldman, who was “too timid to take charge,” suddenly found herself having to fight a medical establishment that could not explain what had gone wrong. Henry did regain some, but not all, feeling; with physical therapy, he also regained the ability to walk. But for the next several years, he endured worsening pain, blood clots, knee replacement, and, eventually, total shoulder replacement due to an “altered gait and awkward posture.” When the pair eventually tried to take legal action to compensate for Henry’s suffering, they were told they did not have a strong enough case to sue for damages. The author watched her husband struggle and observed how extreme stress caused her to display her most “unlovely self.” At the same time, she also pondered their past and the new normal of their present. The shifts that threatened to tear their relationship apart forced both Goldman and her husband to assume new roles and expand old identities in ways they could never have foreseen. For all their trials, they emerged more bonded than ever. Honest and compassionate, Goldman’s book is a life-affirming story that celebrates the grit that goes into making a long-term marriage work.
A moving portrait of “young love turning into old love” in the face of unexpected life challenges.