I woke from a dead sleep in the middle of the night to hear something gasping and grunting somewhere in my room. Zombies! I struggled to get my eyes open and for my sleep muddled mind to process some more information before leaping out of bed and attacking and I began to realize it was probably not a zombie. It was Husband in the ensuite bathroom. I listened for more signs of what the problem was and debated with myself about whether to get up and check on him. He sounded as though he was in genuine distress, but god save me, I couldn’t make myself get up and do anything for him.
We’ve had more than our fair share of The Sick this year- especially me- I hardly ever get that sick. Rarely am I so ill that I am truly incapacitated and have to ask for help. Most of the time I’m up and deal with it myself. Even in situations where most people would call in reinforcements. I drove myself to the hospital in labor, leaving my husband at home sound asleep figuring I’d call him and my mom to come when there was something happening. I tolerated my gallbladder for as long as I could (2 years until the “attacks” were pretty much constant), refused emergency room visits and waited until I could get a definitive diagnosis at which point they couldn’t understand how I’d gone that long without having to haunt the ER. But it’s not about being tough or trying to out hero anyone- I just believe in saving the whining and sniveling for really important things. When I had the flu this year- I could not do anything for myself. I was weakened to the point that without some help, I would have ended up collapsing and maybe really needing the hospital. That’s when I complained. That’s when I whined and asked for help.
My darling spouse on the other hand, uses almost no scale at all by which to measure the level of severity. His 1-10 is more like a 9-10 . So when he stubs his toe really hard- Gasping and grunting and moaning and complaining. Cut himself shaving- Gasping and grunting and moaning and complaining. Pulled a muscle at volleyball- Gasping and grunting and moaning and complaining…. If he were to literally cough something vital out of his body, like a lung or part of a kidney- I would need to see it happen in order to even process that there was an emergency. 13 years all together of gasping and grunting and moaning and complaining over everything (nosebleeds, headaches, hangnails, bad gas, runny noses, canker sores AND broken bones, severe burns, and cuts that needed stitches) I have become desensitized- not to be confused with insensitive- to his reactions.
So. It’s 3 am, and there is no Zombie staggering around in my room. The Not Zombie finally shuffles back to the bed- still making weird noises. I ask “What’s the matter?”
H “my stomach hurts”
I pause for a second to think about what the next appropriate diagnostic question should be. “Where does it hurt?”
H *gasp* *grunt* “Everywhere!”
And I thought about it- and decided that if it were appendicitis, or an aortic aneurism, his symptoms would be more specific- and since it was probably a bad case of indigestion from the 4 slices of Meat Lovers pizza with white-sauce and black olives he wolfed down while lying on the couch in front of the TV an hour before bed last night- he would probably live to resent my lack of appropriate concern in the morning. So, I said nothing. There was nothing to say that wasn’t going to sound mean so I said nothing. And went back to sleep.
At some point, he will either wake up and put on his big boy pants and go to work today or he’ll make it as far as the couch and stay there, or maybe he’s dead up there- I don’t feel like going back up to check. Because if he is- then I really am a jerk.