Saving My Marriage from Narcolepsy

Guest Post by Hannah Naude

Photo: Krisha Craven Photography

This time last year I was preparing to marry the most incredible man I have ever met. Devyn is such a strong, positive person, not to mention pretty darn good looking. I honestly couldn’t imagine what kind of person I would be if I was in his situation. Nevertheless, as his wife, I was going to make his life so much easier. Spoiler alert: I was so wrong.

I met Devyn a year and a half ago, about six years after his injury. He was in a head-on collision that broke his neck, causing him to become a quadriplegic. Devyn is paralyzed from the chest down and can use his upper extremities with the exception of his fingers and triceps. His personal story of triumph is amazing to say the least. Since his accident, he has graduated with a college degree and even started his own business. But his greatest achievement, I think, was marrying this gorgeous woman. That is, until the narcolepsy hit me.

As I said before, I really did not make Devyn’s life easier. In fact, my narcolepsy made it even harder. Devyn is very independent, but he still relies on me a great deal. Narcolepsy caused me to begin struggling to care for the one man who absolutely deserves the world. For example, it was a nightmare every morning for Devyn to wake me to get him dressed. I’m sure he laid there in regret for the full hour it would take to wake me. I felt guilt for causing my paralyzed husband to lay there longer, unable to start his full scheduled day.

I simultaneously fought sleep attacks and helping Devyn into his compression socks. Socks continue to be my least favorite article of clothing, in case anyone asks. He eventually stopped asking me for help with his hobbies and projects that required fingers. I couldn’t muster enough energy, or even stay awake long enough to keep our home clean. I didn’t cook to begin with. I fell into depression, with thoughts clouding my head: what possible good am I as a wife?

My newly diagnosed, worsening narcolepsy eventually caused me to be absent in my own marriage. About the only thing I could do was wake up, late of course, for work. By the end of my three 12-hour night shifts every week as an RN, I was so exhausted I ended up sleeping actual days at a time. I missed my time as a newlywed, all the while testing a handful of different medications that had little impact on me. Our marriage was starting off badly. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us was going anywhere. But I imagine if things continued at this fabulous rate, one of us eventually may have given up.

Thankfully, finding the right medication gave my life back and saved my marriage. It regulates my sleep cycles, which makes me less tired during the day. My wonderful husband has his wife back, the one he fell in love with. And now I can truly say I’m taking care of the one man who deserves it all.

Note: Stay connected with Hannah and Devyn through their blog www.narcolepsyandthequad.wordpress.com.