Illness, according to the marriage vows

Photo by cottonbro on

Now I know that when I took those wedding vows, that I said, “in sickness and in health.” I didn’t pay close enough attention, though, because although I said, “in sickness and in health,” I think my husband may have said, “in health only.”

Now, I’m not talking about the big stuff, life-threatening, ect., I know that he would support me through all of that. I am talking about the days where a stuffed-up head and the sneezes or coughs have got me. I think he forgot to take any vows about when I have the flu.

When he is sick, he wants his hot soup and cold compresses and orange juice delivered to where ever it is he is lying, sitting, or contemplating how sick he feels. I am happy to do this, and not because I took any oath, either. Just because it is the right thing to do. Do I wear masks and gloves so I won’t catch anything? Of course, but I always take care of him “in sickness.”

When the tables are turned, however, things are a little different. I have frequently made the observation that he would show up at my deathbed, and the first remark out of his mouth would be, “Before you expire, what’s for supper?”

It isn’t that he has no sympathy, it’s that he simply blocks out the fact that I am sick. Mostly because that would mean he might have to cook a meal and maybe, the lord forbid, clean up the dishes afterward!

This weekend, I have been feeling really lousy with a head cold and congestion. All I really want to do is lie around in my easy chair, watch some romantic movies on television and sneeze until my nose drops off. I don’t care about eating or much of anything else as long as the Vicks and the kleenix holds out. I don’t even want him to take care of me, just let me die in peace.

This does not happen. An hour into the morning, he appears from his shower, toweling himself off and remarking, “I don’t smell any coffee. Isn’t it done yet?”

“No. I didn’t make any coffee, I’m not well. You’ll have to make it yourself.”

After five minutes of listening to him slamming the things around in the kitchen and exclaiming that he can’t find the coffee, the filters, creamer, etc., I finally get up and go out and make the coffee. This is, of course, my first mistake. I have demonstrated that if the house were on fire, I could get up and move sufficiently to get myself out. That must mean I’m not sick.

While he can get himself a bowl of cereal, it’s always a fifty-fifty chance that there is no milk on a Saturday. “Uh, I don’t have any milk. Are you going grocery shopping this morning?” he questions, holding his dry bowl of Grape Nuts.

“I’m not going grocery shopping,” I say, blowing into my tissue.

“Why not? We’re out of milk,” he says incredulously.

“Because I thought it best not to infect everyone at the grocery store with my disease,” I answer, “have some toast, or go get some milk.”

I can usually count on a couple of hours of quiet then, but it was not to be this morning. “Uh, I’m out of clean socks,” he calls from the bedroom, “did you do any laundry?”

“Yes,” I answer through my sneezing fit, “I did some yesterday. There are clean socks in the dryer.”

“Well, why didn’t you bring them up and put them away?” he honestly can’t understand it.

“Do you understand that I am sick, that I don’t feel well, that I am under the weather as they say, and I don’t care if your socks are in the dryer, in the drawer, or on your head. Take care of it yourself!” by now I’m shouting, which is not good for a sore throat.

This will of course, give him a bit of a case of the sulks. He will leave me alone for a time, but I have to hear mumbled comments about how some people are sure in a bad mood today. I don’t answer because he is right! At noon, I roll over to see him standing over me with a smug look on his face. “I made myself a scrambled egg for lunch, because I figured you weren’t going to make anything.”

At least that explains the smell coming from the kitchen. I didn’t think even burned eggs could smell that bad. I relaxed, though, because I figured that maybe this meant he had gotten the idea that I was sick. I was wrong.

“The dog and I are going for a walk, you should come along,” he says in his brightest voice. “Good fresh air will clear your head because you’ve been sleeping all afternoon.”

“I don’t want to go for a walk,” I mutter, after a coughing fit. “I didn’t want to wake up to tell you that I don’t want to wake up and go for a walk.”

“Come on, dog,” he says in his most aggrieved tone, “I guess she doesn’t care to take care of her health with exercise.”

It had been a long day, and I truly felt unwell, so I decided that maybe I should just turn in and try to sleep things off. “I’m going to bed,” I told him. “Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

“Oh, okay,” he replied, “but before you go, what were you planning on for supper?” He didn’t like my suggestion and I can’t tell you what it was because they don’t allow profanity on these internet sites.

Tomorrow, I’m just going to pretend I’m not sick. It’s less work!

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