Seven Steps to Dealing With A Sick Husband

 

What do Rambo, Superman, Al Pacino, President Bush and your husband all have in common? That's right ladies...one little case of the sniffles and suddenly they are reduced to a helpless, infantile and often whiny disposition. What? You don't think that Rambo's missus kisses a lot of boo-boos to make them better? Is it so implausible that Laura spoon feeds old George some chicken noodle soup while he lays abed watching countless episodes of Sponge Bob Squarepants?

I will build my case first with a true-life story...I call it...

The Christmas Pimple

 

It was Christmas Eve day...and I had about twenty people coming over for dinner. With just my husband, his two little girls and his mother visiting from Florida, my apartment was already more crowded than I liked it to be...I couldn't imagine what it would be like once everyone else arrived. Still, and call me a masochist, I was looking forward to it. I'd planned an extensive menu of made from scratch munchies and was currently up to my elbows in fresh spinach when it began...

Ed's youngest daughter tugged at my sleeve as I was trying to figure out how to put a frightening amount of fresh spinach leaves into a pot that didn't seem big enough. "Daddy isn't feeling good," she told me, "he told me to come get you."

I wiped off my hands and walked into the living room where Ed was lying on the couch, writhing in pain. "What's wrong?" I asked concerned...feeling his forehead. "My leg!" he gasped, his face white and sweating. I rolled up the leg of his sweat pants to get a look. On his thigh was a boil...a rather nasty looking boil...but still, a boil...probably from an in-grown hair. I got up, went to the bathroom, ran a washcloth under hot water and folded it into a neat square as I returned.

"Keep this on the boil...if it cools down, get another one. Do you want a Tylenol?"

Ed's mother chose this moment to walk in on the scene and seeing her baby in the throes of an agonizing death, dropped to her knees next to him...feeling his forehead. "Oh honey...what is it? What's wrong?" she cried in concern.

Ed's teeth clenched and he barely managed to speak between spasms of pain. "My leg...I have...a boil."

Seeing that he was in good hands, I went back to my kitchen to finish preparations for dinner. Before long, I heard this god-awful thumping sound...sort of like a *THUMP! SSSSSSSSSSSh. THUMP! SSSSSSSh. Thump!* I peered from the kitchen to see Ed, clinging to every surface as he hobbled across the room, dragging his useless appendage behind him. His mother, wringing her hands in a rather distraught fashion was close on his heels.

"Laurie...do you have Epsom Salts?" she asked.

"Yep...they're in the bathroom."

"C'mon sweetie...let's get you into a warm tub with some Epsom Salts."

The bathroom being on the other side of the kitchen wall allowed me to overhear the sounds of the ensuing struggle.

"Just take your pant's off..."

"Mom!"

"What...it's not I like haven't seen you naked before."

"Just send Laurie in..."

"Laurie's busy...I'm your Mom...c'mon...stop making such a fuss!"

I have to admit those Epsom Salts really worked...or actually the threat of those Epsom Salts did. Ed came scurrying out of that bathroom with his pants still on and his limp miraculously cured. He retreated to the safety of the couch.

Once I had dinner under control I checked on him again. I was pretty sure eventually the boil would blow like Mount Vesuvius...but at the moment, it was still stubbornly refusing to give. I reheated the compress and placed it back on my husband's leg.

His mother watched over my shoulder. "You know, I don't like the look of it..." she said. Ed moaned piteously. "Perhaps," she said, "one of us should take him to the emergency room." My jaw sort of dropped as I imagined strolling into the emergency room with my husband, sitting alongside cases of broken bones, car accident victims and some life-threatening burns.

"Yes ma'am," the emergency room attendant would say, "what seems to be the nature of your emergency?"

"Well you see...my husband has this really painful zit..."

I looked at the two of them in disgust. "If you want to take him...take him. I'm not driving him to the hospital for a pimple."

Heartless, maybe. Eventually it popped without surgery and no appendages required amputation.

I did learn one valuable lesson though...it was Mom's fault. Oh yes...

Whenever a man falls ill, his fevered brain hearkens back to the good old days when his Mommy tucked him into bed, served him special food, allowed him to watch television and in general made a fuss over him. While Mommy might not be around anymore...perhaps living safely in some warm locale, sipping pina coladas and playing bridge with her friends...lucky for him he has you.

Lucky for you, I have come up with several pieces of wisdom to help you cope during these stressful moments. You are not alone...

This Could Happen To You If You Don't Follow the Seven Steps

Nothing says lovin' like chicken soup

The Seven Steps

 

  • 1. The Remote - Forget the medicine, the thermometer, the chicken noodle soup...without this handy little device you are SCREWED. Once, when my husband was ill, weakly calling my name...probably to give me the terms of his will...I walked in to discover the reason for my latest summoning. It was truly pathetic. There he was lying on the couch...his right arm extended and flapping weakly in the air...the remote lying two inches from his fingertips on the coffee table. "Honey...could you...get...the...*gasp*...remote...I...*weak moan*...just can't...reach...it." I smiled as visions of clobbering him with it briefly crossed my mind. I now attach the remote control to my husband's wrist with some sort of bungee cord. Problem solved.
  • 2. Fussing - It is important to give your patient the "Illusion of Mom." Shove a thermometer in his mouth every so often and tell him to keep quiet. Keep in mind that leaving it there for more than ten minutes may raise suspicion...so as much as you enjoy this peaceful time, don't make the mistake of overdoing it. Touch his cheek and forehead with the palm of your hand and make a concerned face. Say things like "Mmmhmmm" and frown. This will actually make him feel better. He will know he is in the hands of a true professional.
  • 3. Feeding - You will have to feed your patient occasionally. In their devolved state, things like macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into little triangles with crust removed, gelatin and alphabet chicken noodle soup will work wonders. If they are good, you might want to give them a small glass of milk and some animal crackers. Don't forget the occasional flat ginger ale or 7-up. He'll remember how his sainted mother always gave him that for a tummy ache.
  • 4. Medicine - Knock them out completely as often as you can. Nothing says I love you like unconsciousness. If it comes in a cherry flavored liquid...even better.
  • 5. Baby Talk - Essential to healing, your big strong man will expect you to coo and fuss over him. Everything he does should be important to you...whether he just blew cookies all over your expensive comforter or had an amazing case of the runs and left it for you to look at and flush. You are the Mom-like being...great and powerful. Gypsies can only read tea leaves...but you can see portents in excrement and vomit.
  • 6. Well-being - Whatever it takes, rubber gloves, those germ barrier masks, copious doses of hand sanitizer and Lysol...do NOT get sick yourself. If you think any of this loving care will ever be reciprocated...then perhaps you should take your own temperature. Your miraculously recovered mate may lean over and pat your hand as you try to weakly rise from the bed to tend to dinner or house work and murmur things like, "Don't worry about all of that honey...it's not important." But what he really means is...they can wait until you feel well enough to do them. Those dirty dishes piled up to the ceiling in the sink aren't going anywhere...
  • 7. Sympathy - Unless you want to nominate your husband for an emmy performance at some future date, you'll have to commiserate with his misery. It doesn't matter that he puts those soap opera actors suffering from a terminal brain tumor for the third time to shame with his groans, moans and pathetic whimpers of agony...ignoring him will only encourage him to an even more dramatic performance. Pat his hand, stroke his cheek, reassure him that he is very, very brave...and then hand him the Kleenex and tell him to blow.

If you remember these few words of advice, you'll be out of the sick room and back to doing what you want in no time. However, if all else fails...invite his Mom over to take care of him. The period of recuperation seems to be cut in half the first time she offers to give him a sponge bath.

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Comments 10 comments

rowanelayna profile image

rowanelayna 8 years ago from York, PA

VERY different, but she's much easier to deal with (and that's including the 3am wake up calls). And even with snot running down her face and a sore throat she's still has the best disposition. She may have gotten Daddy's face, but she ended up with my temper.


spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Of course it's different when Cecilia gets sick though... :) Or no?


rowanelayna profile image

rowanelayna 8 years ago from York, PA

I married the "golden child"...the youngest AND the only boy. Matt tends to have a cold every other week throughout the winter and generally develops something a few days after either Cecilia or I (I was informed of a cold Tuesday after I was throwing up Sunday morning).

I almost completely ignore him...all the moans and pathetic coughs (he's generally too weak to have a full mansized cough)...but explain to him that that's how I like to be treated while sick. I know he's not going to do more than bring me tea and after having our daughter I've come to realize that throwing up several times in one day is NOT enough to get me out of changing diapers filled with poo. After 8 years of togetherness I think he's finally starting to realize he'll never get more than the smallest fragment of sympathy out of me. If I think he's starting to forget I shake out my dusty old speech about how much sick people annoy me. : )


spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

misty: LOL! Yeah...I hear you on that. Luckily when I'm sick the last thing I want is anyone nurturing me. I just want to sleep and be left alone.

2pat: I forgot all about the smelly stuff! You are so right! Never tried the spare bed idea though...I'll have to kee that in mind. It might not be a bad idea either when trying to avoid catching something nasty.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Hot flannels (washclothes) applied to foreheards are good for sick men. Also applications of smelly ointments, rubbed in to backs and legs, with suitable sympathetic sounds. (through gritted teeth.)

Sometimes offering to sleep in the spare bed gives a test of how sick they really are.....


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

LOL, yes, men thrive on sympathy and mothering I am afraid, the female sex simply "get on with it". You should read my Hub about living with a control freak (my ex), as it covers perfectly his attitude when he was ill versus his attitude when I caught the same illness and he expected me to carry on doing the shopping and cooking so he could work on his computer creating music tracks for his stage act. Typical!!!!


spryte profile image

spryte 8 years ago from Arizona, USA Author

Eric - I'm hurt *sniffle* I thought to myself...self, I said...if there is one man...just one man that wouldn't take advantage in this fashion...one man that would never whimper in pain...just ONE MAN...Eric wouldnt' be it... :)

Misty - Gotta love it...and until I wrote this article and stumbled across that YouTube video, I never realized it actually had a name. Man Flu...it makes sense. As for the boss that constantly points out what he has to do, obviously he just wasn't getting enough baby talk and sympathy. Heheheh!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

PS. He would frequently moan to clients about how tired he was as he had been working from 8am to 8pm every day, a big surprise to us nurses who knew he hadn't got in until after 8 am, had taken a two hour lunch and was mostly gone before 6.30pm leaving us to clean up the untidy mayhem he left behind him. Frustrating when you heard the clients sympathising with him in ignorance of his true working hours.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Hysterical, when I worked at the vets we had a boss like this, who would wear a surgical mask when he had a cold, but only when he was in with clients in which case he lamented how ill he was and looked for appreciation that he was going to the trouble of avoiding them catching it by wearing the mask. Funniest bit was that after his appointment he would remove the mask and promptly sneeze all over the place with no consideration as to if the rest of us poor staff caught it, (no hand over mouth or anything). Oh, and of course it was always "flu" and not simply a "cold" like the rest of us get. We simply nicknamed it " Man Flu" in the end, and the name stuck.


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 8 years ago from Australia

Sprite - You're a cruel, cruel woman!

Hub Pages should not allow secret Mens Business like this to be published.

Consider yourself un-fanned. 100 times!

(I'll have to get my wife to mop my brow after all this stress. And bring me a peanut butter and jam sandwich.)

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