Douglas Winslow Cooper
Something my beloved wife, Tina, recently said to me on our porch made me want to reassure her of the constancy of my love for her, a love that has lasted 49 years so far. Reunited with me almost 20 years after we had separated upon my graduation from college, Tina told me about her multiple sclerosis before I proposed to her, and we have faced her progressive disability together.
Tina nearly died eight years ago of a respiratory infection due to her MS. In his foreword to our memoir, our primary physician, Dr. Richard Walker, referred to our triumph over death in a 100-day battle in the Critical Care Unit of the Orange County Regional Medical Center. He wrote: “Their love saved them both.” He understood.
We thank God daily for Tina’s survival, and almost daily we thank IBM for its generous retiree medical benefits that have supported around-the-clock critical care nursing in our home from a dedicated set of RNs and LPNs. I worked for a decade as a research scientist at the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., my favorite job. We have been very fortunate in an unfortunate situation to have so much assistance.
To illustrate the steadfastness of my love for her, I told Tina to picture the North Star, toward which the axis of our rotating Earth points steadily, day and night, fair weather or foul, seen or unseen, always north. Likewise, home or away, attentive or distracted, I assured her, I remain wholly in love with our heroine.
“I love you, too,” she replied.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., a retired environmental physicist, lives in southern New York State with his beloved wife, Tina Su Cooper, a former editor at the Encyclopedia Britannica and mother of two. Tina was first diagnosed with MS in 1981 at the age of 37, and she has been quadriplegic and ventilator-dependent at home for almost eight years. Tina is the central figure in Dr. Cooper’s book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or their website, tingandi.com.