Posted by: chlost | February 1, 2010

Spousal care

My husband had surgery today.  Just an outpatient procedure, and he was home within the day.  It is a very interesting dynamic to see how the marital roles work when one spouse needs the care of the other.

My husband is the kind of guy who believes with all of his heart that he is invincible.  He took no pain meds for this surgery, although he had an epidural.  He wanted to be able to watch the procedure as it was being done.  He has never had general anesthesia, and while I agree that it might be a bit risky for him to have a general, his true reason for not wanting it was that he doesn’t want to give up control to a surgeon without knowing what is happening.  I think that is the ultimate definition of control freak.

When he got home, his methods are even more interesting.  He tries to do everything the nurses told him not to do.  He tries to do everything.  But, he really wants to have someone say to him. “No, no, let me do that for you!” And I do.  I refuse to let him do more than he should, but it still allows him to feel in control, as he chooses to allow me to do these things.  Does that make any sense?  It is a little hard to describe, but I know it when it happens. When he is sick with something like the flu, he wants to be pampered.  He wants to snuggle.  Personally, I am not so bit on getting snuggly with a man who has a fever and has been complaining about aching joints all night.

I am different when I get sick.  I am not claiming to be better, just different.  I want people to leave me alone for the most part.  It would be nice to have someone just check in on me, to be sure I am still alive, but otherwise, just let me sleep.  I have had some other health issues in the past few years.  I understand that my husband is a little worried about me.  But unless I ask for help, I really don’t want it. If I have had surgery, I try to follow the medical instructions.  If they tell me to take it easy, I try to do that.  I don’t challenge the directions.  I hope that someone might help me out by offering to bring me a cup of tea or something, but it isn’t a big deal.  I can sit in front of the TV or read, or just take it easy without any problem.  

Is it the difference between men and women?  Or is this the difference between the two of us?  

One of the favorite stories in our family is that when I had cataract surgery shortly after we had moved into a new home, my husband stopped at a pool table store (because we were close by) on the way to bringing me home.  I sat in the car with my big dark sunglasses on my face, and dozed while he chatted with the salespeople.

Another story that my youngest son likes to hear, is that when I was in labor with him, my husband had breakfast with the older kids before we left for the hospital.  I sat in a chair in the living room waiting for him to finish.  We got to the hospital and my son was born within about 2 hours. 

When I passed out early in the morning a few years ago, my husband awoke to the dog barking at me, and came downstairs to find me bleeding and lying on the floor, still unconscious.  He took care of me.  He was great.  When I had the stomach flu a few months ago, he cleaned up the “barf pan” that I used.  He was great. 

 The test of a true relationship comes when one of the partners is ill.  Will he or she respect your wishes as to how you want to be treated when you feel awful?  You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat you when you are ugly, sick and crabby. Only then can you determine if it is “true love”.


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