What’s Your Number?

Tina Cooper headshotWhen I greet my dear wife, Tina Su Cooper, I often say, “How is my most precious person in the world, my numero uno?” I give her a kiss as she lies virtually motionless in bed, quadriplegic and on a ventilator, due to multiple sclerosis. She smiles and replies briefly but lovingly.

At bedtime last night I greeted her this way, but she objected, “I am not.”

“You are not what?”

“Your number one.”

“Of course you are. You are the center of my life, of our twenty-eight-year marriage. I frequently say, ‘Tina comes first, but everybody counts.’ I mean it.”


“Think about it, Ting. Who else is as important to me as you are? Not family, not friends old or new. No one.”

“But I can’t do anything.”

“Yes, we have lost some options. We cannot readily travel, but I was never big on travel. There are other losses, too, but we have a special marriage rather than a routine, conventional one. Who do you think I care about more than I care about you?”

She thought, and then pondered some more. “No one.”

“Right. You are the number one person in my life. Please believe it and remember it. I am the number one person in yours. That is the nature of our situation, of our love, of our marriage.” I kissed her goodnight…on the cheek, so as not to transmit any germs.

When I saw Tina this morning, her spirits had lifted.  I addressed her as usual as “my most precious person in my world.“

I asked her, “What’s your number?”

Tina smiled. “One. What’s your number?”


Douglas Windslow Cooper


  1. Douglas,
    You have such a beautiful story! This post is a simple experience that shows a fabulous example of your daily lives!

  2. Wow what a great story. I know I am married to someone who thinks I am his number one as my MS has progressed he has shown me that, but scary to think that I will be more dependent then I am now. The drugs nearly killed me so I fight the disease with my #1 and my boys. Next hurdle a tricky brain aneurysm secondary to the MS. God bless you for standing by your wife through the worst of this disease. Thank you for sharing your story of love.

    • Christine~
      I’m sure Douglas will want to reply to your comment but I need to sneak in a replay of my own. I just have to acknowledge my wonderful husband who is also my caregiver. He treats me every day just as Douglas treats his wife and it sounds like your husband treats you: like we are truly number one!

    • Dear Christine,

      Very pleased you like our story. Sounds as though you, too, are in a special marriage, being #1 for each other! Bless you both.

      Doug Cooper

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