"He Says I'm a Hypochondriac"
Her Turn, continued
"Alan was totally different from the other men I had dated. I used to fall for your drop-dead handsome guys who were basically jerks. Alan is good-looking but quiet and shy. We dated for two years and then got married and moved to Denver, where Alan is from.
"Alan went to work as a systems analyst for the energy company, and I started doing public-relations counseling and some freelance writing. Our marital problems started about two years ago, around the time my medical problems snowballed. First, I had two miscarriages, which were very hard on me; then I began an early menopause, which was horrendous. My gynecologist put me on estrogen-replacement therapy, but it took months to get the right balance.
"While I was still experimenting with the right combination of hormones, I developed fierce pain in my hands and hips that turned out to be severe osteoarthritis. An orthopedic surgeon prescribed an anti-inflammatory, which relieved the pain, but then that medication apparently triggered an underlying asthmatic condition. I know this is hard for Alan to deal with--his mom died of asthma and my condition is a constant reminder. He either tells me I'm a hypochondriac, or he simply gives me the silent treatment.
"Believe it or not, our sex life has been fine. We don't make love as often as we used to, since I'm in pain a lot, but at least in bed I feel close to Alan. I want to be close in other ways, too. I don't see how we can go on like this."