By Rebecca Link
Most of us have married wonderful men. They are great partners, lovers, fathers, and we are usually grateful for all they do and for the role they play in our lives. That is, until they get sick. Then they often become dramatic, whining, hairy children who must be waited on hand and foot. Before you sharpen up the pitchforks, I understand that this is not ALWAYS the case. Take my coworker, for instance. He is a type-A “alpha male” and calls his wife every afternoon (on speaker phone) and asks what she would like him to pick up and make for dinner. #1- who goes to the grocery store every goddamn day? #2- who is this helpless woman that doesn’t shop and can’t make a meal? I bet he is a champ when he is sick. I know, there I go making generalizations again. The recent bout of illness my husband experienced and him lying in bed moaning, me bringing him things, and him puking all over EVERYTHING prompted me to jot down these nuggets.
Attitude is everything. The thought of driving away and not returning may have crossed your mind. However, you CANNOT let them know that you are feeling this way. When men are sick, they develop an extra sensory set of super powers that allow them to smell frustration. Like, emotional sharks. The more upset you get, the crankier they become. Try to keep your game face on and stay positive. If not for him, then for your own sanity. Also, if your attitude slips, you might be met with the lash of 1000 passive aggressive tongues saying things like, “It’s not like I got sick on PURPOSE!” and “So sorry that this is so HARD for YOU…”
Be prepared to ask a million questions. What doesn’t feel good? Sick how? Like a stomach bug or a chest cold? Do you feel hot? Should we take your temperature? Have you eaten anything? Has someone at work been sick? Do you need to go somewhere? Doctor or the Emergency Room? Have you taken anything yet? Do you need a drink? Can I bring you anything from downstairs? Do you need anything from the store? Would you like me to call your mom? When women are sick, we know what we have, where we got it, exactly what to take, and when we need medical attention. We have also figured all this out while folding laundry and mopping the floor.
Put on your mask and gloves. You may have thought it annoying before when your husband could not seem to walk the extra three steps to the trashcan with his paper towel or quite make it to the laundry bin with his undies. This can be multiplied tenfold when they are sick. The 10 different drinks that he will request will pile up on the nightstand next to the mountain of snotty tissues that your dog has been eyeing fervently. You will most likely need to set up your least favorite trash can next to the bed lined with multiple bags because you simply cannot expect him to walk the 6 feet to the bathroom should he need to get sick. And when he does get sick, there may be puke everywhere BUT the trash can. Have another bag and a book of matches ready for his clothes and your new sheets. Hope you have some Resolve on hand or the steam cleaner’s number programmed into your phone for the putrid stains on your carpet. Also, Lysol spray.
Leave. Haven’t seen your girlfriends in a while? Been meaning to schedule a playdate with that kid from your child’s class? Now is the time. This is probably my best advice. The best prescription for dealing with these things is TIME. If you hang out in that house too long, your frustration will begin to show (see #1). Go out and take a break and let him rest alone. It is important for you to stay sane while supporting the family. You will return, hopefully feeling a bit recharged.
Just be sure to ask if he needs anything before you go.
About the Author
Rebecca is a #millennial living outside Washington DC with her totes adorbs baby, a naughty Puggle, and a husband who graciously puts up with her shit. When she is not rotting away in her cubicle, she is usually eating snacks, drinking wine, or wiping baby puke from her clothes. You can find her leading a pack of wild women at facebook.com/groups/AMBIMOMS/.
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