I overheard this whispered a while back. There’s a very sick woman who’s hardly able to care for herself, but she has a family she loves dearly. Apparently, her husband treats her like she’s faking her illness. All hush-hush, secretive talk of course – nothing substantiated. She’s undergoing a major transformation medically, and her illness is being belittled by the person who took vows to stand with her, through sickness and in health. I know that the actual truth isn’t that far off, for I’ve seen spouses belittle each other’s ailments all too often.

    My grandfather ignored his wife’s health issues, impregnating her 16 times, despite losing 6, until she finally could no more. Her cancer ate away at her insides, her pain unimaginable, while he picked up and carried on with a new, younger model of a wife. She was on number 2 when he thankfully (for her), died. My uncles, having had no role model to look up to also seem to ignore their wives when they are ill, expecting them to be up and ready to serve them, despite fevers, coughs, incredible aches and pains, day in and day out, until they rest eternally it seems.

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    It’s been a while since I’ve sung the praises of my beloved, he of the laundry doing and general spoiling of this very lucky writer. When I tell anyone who’ll listen about what a wonderful specimen I’ve landed, they can’t know how indeed lucky I am that I ended up with someone as attentive and kind – rather than the cold and distant, unfeeling bastard I was probably molded to serve. (That almost happened in my ill-fated European trip… phew… out and safe by this close!)

    For anyone who’s only seen understanding and patience amongst couples, especially when it comes to illness, it may seem like a simple thing to have someone who will care. But so many women and men don’t get that. Actually, I think it applies equally – it should be equal love and understanding. Some men like to be babied (ha – I’ve heard that the word is actually MOST), and some men shun any type of pampering, preferring to suffer in silence. It’s a pity, for letting someone care for you is essential to getting better. It probably doesn’t help that mainstream media shows men as the strong silent type, who suffer alone. I always want to smack the woman on my screen advertising some anti-cold/flu medicine; her husband lies on the couch feeling ill, and instead of giving him a hug and a mug of hot something, she hands him pills and a shovel, to shovel the snow outside. I say let the man have a morning off. What’s she so busy doing that she can’t shovel snow herself this once?!

    Well, I’ve dawdled long enough about my sweetie pie. See, this weekend I was ill, so ill I thought I was going to die from spontaneous combustion (hehe, I am sure anyone who has a high fever things the same…I can be a bit melodramatic at times). Forgoing combustion, perhaps I would have emptied my insides and slowly lost my internal organs from the uproar they were in. Between that and the headache and intense body aches, I was pretty sure I was a goner. (I had a little bacterium that just needed me to add a tiny bit of cheese to my system that eventually led to a gastrointestinal infection…but I digress). This year will make 8 years since I’ve been with Pookie, and in all honesty, we know a lot about each other, but perhaps not that much…if you get what I mean (and I am sure you now know a lot more about me than you bargained for…whoops…sorry!)

    Well, Pookie literally picked me up from the bed (I am not a size zero, or a size 14…), helped me bathe, held back my hair as I knelt at the porcelain god, said nothing about me losing complete control, instead simply let me empty myself, then proceeded to help clean up. My bill at the doctor? Paid. My special bland crackers and toast? Bought, and done. Soup? He was ready to start slicing and chopping. (By then, I was able to stand without having to heave…so I tried to take over…) What man comes in to the bathroom to do the happy dance for you when you achieve something you never thought possible again? Belly rubs? Never ending - at the slightest groan, no matter the time. I don’t think the poor man slept much. Even when he had to work, I was sure never to run out of anything.

    How different it is now from what I saw when I was younger. As I write this, I have managed to build up my strength to eat and I even managed to prepare something for him. I got up to find him doing the laundry, something we’ve been sharing lately with our new automatic machine. The sun was blazing, and he’s not a lover of the heat, yet there he was, pouring sweat, when the line popped, there he was picking it up and starting over. I could never start over, not without him. I just wish he was in the percentage of men who let themselves be pampered. Yes, just my luck, he’s one of those “take it like a man” kind of guys…but as soon as I am better, you can be sure the five pounds I lost in two days will come back two-fold with all the wonderful treats we’ll be enjoying. He deserves it. Just like everyone deserves to be cared for until they get well.

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