Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In Sickness and In Health

Cold and flu season is upon us, and hopefully my marriage will survive! There are really very few things my husband and I argue about. Who is "sicker" is one of the few and one of the most ridiculously childish. With the exception of the kids, there is little empathy for the infirm around here. My husband is sick right now, which explains why he just barrelled angrily out the door to work after our nasty exchange of words, leaving the tea I was making him in a travel mug behind to make some sort of dramatic statement. Fine by me... I got to drink it.

I caused the argument; I'm fully aware of this. I was not very supportive of his illness complaints, to which he was well entitled. I gave him the tried and true "Suck it Up" attitude with a little self-martyrdom thrown in for effect. This is how I see it. When I, the wife/mother, am sick I don't lay in bed and rest. Why? Well, if you are a mother you will know the answer to that question. I WANT to lay down in bed, I SHOULD lay down in bed, and my husband would even support it; but I don't. There are meals to be cooked, a house to kept, children to attend to, and various things throughout the day that I can't make disappear simply by hiding under the covers. When my husband is sick, however, he manages to get through the work day heroically. But once he comes home, he assumes the horizontal position with proclamations of catastrophic illness. Half the time he has a garden variety cold; sore throat, sniffles... the same crap the kids and I have. You would think it was the black plague and scarlet fever combined the way he carries on.

I don't doubt the veracity of his malaise (though the severity of symptomatology are sometimes in question) and I don't begrudge him for laying down and resting. What ticks me off is that I am also usually concurrently sick, or have just recovered, and have received absolutely no acknowledgement, special treatment, lovingly supportive words or acts, or general R & R during my boxing match with airborn pathogens. In fact, for a week prior to his illness, I was reasonably sick and spent 2 sleepless nights up with coughing attacks. I went through 1,000 Halls Cough Drops that week. He'd say things like "Why do you smell like medicated vapors?" Perhaps it's because I'm sick, oh insightful one.

When I bring up the fact that I also am, or just was, sick he then must make a case for why he is 'sicker' than I.... he has a fever, or diarrhea, or a brain tumor... some special symptom that I missed out on which justifies why he needs more rest and empathy. He should be considered a medical miracle from all the life threatening diseases from which he has recovered.

I've concluded that he must have some sort of latent Florence Nightengale fantasy. I'm not sure, but he really gets offended when I'm not overly sympathetic to his sniffling. I think he sees my reactions as a test of my true love for him. I don't look at it all that deeply. I just think; Hey, your sick. Join the freakin' club. But perhaps I should treat him the way I would want to be treated. Love thy husband as thyself and all that stuff. Tonight, I should make him some tea, fluff his pillows, and kiss his foreheading lovingly to check for fever. Perhaps all anyone really wants is a little acknowledgement that someone cares about them when they feel like crap.

This is an original post to by Alicia DiFabio.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails