Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My husband my cold

My husband had a cold; five simple words which record the actual end of life on earth as we know it.

Day one, “I have a scratchy throat.”

Day two, “I think I’m coming down with something.”

I ignored him because for the previous month my sniffles had morphed into a 4am visit to the emergency room and time off from work. I don’t get paid for sick days, but I took one, because I was, key word, sick.

Day three, “I think I have a temperature, I have come down with something.”

Not that I’m competitive, particularly regarding illness, but I had a double ear infection, (my left eardrum burst twice), a sinus infection, (my head felt like a cinderblock at the bottom of Long Island Sound) and I had not slept for a week. The worst part, because of the ear issue, I couldn’t hear a thing. My husband complained that the TV was too loud, so I turned it down; he got upset because I couldn’t hear him. I call it selective-nurturing.

“Day four, do we have any NyQuil?”

That, he uttered during Alex Trebek’s reading of Double Jeopardy categories. He fell asleep during Final Jeopardy and slept through Wheel of Fortune; I hadn’t had that much sleep in seven days. During Pat’s final spin, my husband took NyQuil, chased it with Busch, (dumb), and went to bed. I turned up the TV.

After my initial course of meds, I stopped carrying around a box of Kleenex and had two nights of semi-restful sleep. I was on the mend until everything came back, my ears filled up, my sinuses closed, I could feel my heartbeat in my head. I was going to resort to gin. I don’t drink, but I was willing to try Gilbey’s just to get a good night’s sleep. Within a day of starting another round of antibio-something, I entered the world of the living again.

By then my husband was miserable, I handed him my box of Kleenex. Mind you, the man was not sick, he did not have a cold, he had the sniffles. No temperature, no cough, no ear infections, sinus infection, headache, body-ache, can’t sleep, eat, drink or work kind of illness. But to him, no one had a cold as bad as his cold.

Why are men such babies when they get sick? Did their mother’s coddle them by massaging their egos with Vicks? Don’t get me wrong, the man is not a wimp, he’s a tough guy; he uses duct tape to close wounds that need stitches until a trip to the ER at the end of the work day.

After recently sharing with a group of female co-workers, my husband’s cold-whining, it came to our attention that almost all of us are married to the same man. And the single women…they are divorced from the same man. The general consensus, if men gave birth homo-sapiens would have become extinct eons ago. But what we thought was interesting was that when men are really sick, anything requiring an actual trip to the doctor like chest, head and back pain, they act like nothing is wrong until they fall flat on their self-inflated sense of strength.

I love my husband. I love that when I get sick, he gets sick too. Maybe it’s a sympathy-pain kind of thing guys get, and then again maybe it was a cold, a real cold. Even if it was, and I doubt that it was, mine was worse than his.


Teri said...

If you've never seen the Esquire essay from the 1960s, you can find "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" here:

One of the best essays ever written --- and close to my heart since I just got over the summer flu. Ugh!

Cooking on a Budget said...

I love this piece to death. Men are wimps.

Jennine G. said...

YES!!! Same experience here. So sick, but he falls asleep like nothing, off and on all day long. Constantly has to talk about how craopy he feels, while watching TV and sleeping off and on all day long.

When I'm sick the kids still have places to go and there is laundry to do...oh, and I'm NOT sleeping, but it all still gets done!!!

You hit the nail on the head, pardon the cliche.