As a home care nurse I have the opportunity to get to know families along with my patients. I have met some wonderful people in the 9 years working in people’s homes. Never have I met a husband as devoted to his wife as Al is to Karla. I joke that he deserves an honorary nursing certificate, but it is true. He navigates all her care, arranges appointments, drives her to clinics, researches medications and treatments, and lovingly cares for her in any way needed.

Through Karla’s hospital stay after back surgery he was my assistant that didn’t turn his nose up to anything, or decline a job… he was always there to help no matter how grim or unappealing the job. In my experience spouses are very helpful but step aside when Nurse Erin is around.

Every morning I would arrive at 7am and find Al curled up on a pull out chair that at best would be suitable for a dog to sleep on. There was very little comfort for him. A couple of days he went back to sleep on the pullout while I cared for Karla, and a couple of others he went home to try and recover his sleep to be rested enough to be by her side that night. For 10 nights Al stayed with her, never once complaining of back pain or lack of sleep, he just operated in love for his wife. He has mentioned since that he has no clue how he did that… which proves his motives were love.

Over the days in the hospital I was there all of the day but 2 (they made me take time off…), and over those days I got to know Al in a different way than “just” Karla’s husband. He shared with me stories of his working days, memories of travelling and crazy capers in a sketchy airplane, flying around the world over and over again, and cinnamon buns that he missed when heading to work. He is a very interesting man, with lots of stories and a great sense of humour.

When things got scary and uncontrolled with Karla he never lost his cool, he just “rolled with the punches” and “steered into the skids”. I can’t get into details of what went on, but rest assured that Al was there and looked like a hero! I know for myself if roles were reversed and I was watching my husband go through what Karla did; I would be a mess. He stayed strong, he stayed calm, he never swayed his love for her. The reassurance that Al gave her was kind and gentle, and we even shared a laugh here and there with what Karla was saying! He was able to laugh and keep light in a very stressed out situation (while being serious when he needed to be).

This was not just a one time occurrence, he is like this all the time. Anything that I need as a nurse to help Karla, he will get, do or make. He is devoted to getting his wife healthy again and will go any lengths to ensure this health. Like seriously who lets their in-laws move in?? (As for in-laws he has pretty cool ones, so that makes it a bit easier).

I am sure life is not easy for Al right now, there is an unsure future for Karla and their family. I encourage you all to think about Al often, keep him in your prayers and thoughts, or however you show support to someone do it for Al. He needs a little extra grace and mercy right now!

Al, if you are reading this I want you to know that I admire you for the love and the care you give to Karla. I am sure it is not easy, I am sure there are times you want to give up, I am sure you are scared. I want to thank you for allowing me into your family for this journey and thank you for all the support and help in Karla’s care. You really are a top notch husband… good catch Karla!

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