Thursday, November 12, 2009

That Woman

I do not very often speak of the state of my marriage because I know I am the girl who is easy to hate. I have a husband who does everything. And by everything, I really mean everything. He irons. He cooks. He cleans the bathroom. He can change a battery, a tire or the oil. He got up every night to change diapers, and he always puts the seat down. Always.

He is in no way perfect, but he is perfect for me. I usually joke that I am married to a woman because of his housekeeping abilities, but in all seriousness I am one lucky bitch.

The past three weeks have been very tough for me. I very rarely get sick. However, I inhaled something, somewhere, that has taken up residence in my body and will just not leave. Initially, I had a brutal cough. Now, I am just a mess. Crackly ears. Stuffed nose. Bloodshot eyes. Racking cough. With the hours my husband has been forced to work lately, getting my ass to a doctor has just not been a priority. In the years since I have had children, this has been my truth. I have two options:

1) I can drag my three and four-year old to the doctor's office and have other people cough on them for two hours until my name is called. While we wait their little fingers touching nasty magazines harboring every pestilence known to man. Then, I am called back but sit another forty-five minutes in a tiny room and attempt to keep my children out of the cabinets.

2) Stay home and hope I eventually get better.

Over the past five years, I have always chosen Option 2. Until Tuesday.

I had not really reflected over how bad I was feeling. Just another day of daily grind. Until I took my temperature. It was not a high fever, but I do not fever very often. And the family with whom we'd just spent a significant amount of time had come down with H1N1.

I called my husband and said I needed to go to the doctor and get this shit sorted out. I wasn't convinced I had the flu, but enough was enough.

And here is one area in which my husband and I are not a good match. He is laid back. Very laid back. I am not good at asking for help. If I get to the point of asking for help, I need it. Really need it. I could tell that my news was not going over very well. I think it was more his brain kicked into gear starting to figure out the logistics of leaving the office, but I told him if it was a problem I would find someone to come watch the kids instead.

Shockingly, he called me from the train telling me he was on his way home.

I went to the clinic. I have never had a medical professional try and push drugs on me like this lady did. She actually looked at me and said Please let me give you drugs. Turns out I have bronchitis and a sinus infection. Awesome.

The nurse practitioner was nice, but incredulous when I told her I'd been like this for three weeks. She asked me where my husband was in all this and why had he let me get this sick. I rambled on about work hours and school schedules, and while she kept her face neutral I could see she wasn't buying one bit of it. Suddenly, I was one of those women. One of those women I just can't stand. The ones who marry good-for-nothing asshole men who are more interested in a cold beer and a football game than taking care of their family members.

That night, I had a talk with Hubbie. I asked him straight out the same questions I'd been asked. He didn't really have an answer. Between my not complaining, his late hours and subsequent exhaustion things just kind of got out of hand.

My feelings on the whole situation are very mixed. For the first time in the sixteen years that we have been together, I was embarrassed. I have never, ever been ashamed of his behaviour or embarrassed by his actions. Until I listened to my stuttering lame excuses as to my deplorable health condition. None of this was intentional on his part, but it is obvious that I slipped through the cracks. I needed to be taken care of, and being too sick to realize it, he should have stepped in.

We are going to work on communicating a little more. He on paying better attention. Me on expressing myself (or coughing more loudly in his ear). We'll work on it. I do not ever want to be that woman again.


Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

I don't know how to comment... Part of me wants to stick up for the hubs, because I know exactly how the really busy, long hours work schedule can affect a person. But the other part of me says Yeah, he should have said something, asked how you were, or if you needed to see a doctor. And then part of me thinks that he's so used to you running the show with no problems, that it never crossed his mind that you possibly didn't have everything in control.

I dunno. Just get better!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Joe: That's the rub for me, too. I'm not angry with him for the exact reasons you've mentioned because that is exactly it. However, that is also what a good partnership is about. Each person running their part of the show but being aware enough for checks and balances. I need to keep my finger on his pulse, and he on mine.

Mountain Momma said...

Well, I envy your husband. I love my husband to death but he is absolutely useless around the house and wouldn't know how to pick up a sock if it killed him. He was the cook in the family until 2 years ago when I started and now he won't pick up so much as a spatula. But he's good for shoveling snow and fixing toilets so I keep him.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I totally understand this one: I think we might be married to the same guy. (Dammit, I knew those late hours at work meant he had another family, somewhere.)

It's proof positive that a weakness is a strength that's out of balance.

The same gentle kindness and attention to detail they show in doing the shopping, cooking (nearly) every meal, cleaning the bathroom and generally giving 110% at work means they have little left over to care for themselves... and sometimes we also fall through the cracks when it comes to health issues.

When my husband and I finally hashed it out- I discovered that any injury or illness I have actually scares him. I broke my arm- and he completely froze up. Relied on me to tell him that I needed to go for an x-ray. Partly, it's because I worked as a medic for years. Partly it's because I'm the raging type-A in the household. He carries the harmony and the bass... and when the dust settles, he has a cup of tea or a glass of wine waiting.

Tell him that you need him. For more than cooking, his great looks and his amazing ability to work 90 hours a week. Sometimes our guys don't know how to read us: by turns, we get sick, "tough it out", then end up in the ER on a Sunday night.

You're on the right track. Communicate. Like we tell our kids...

Use your words. :)


Kat said...

It's cool that you two get along so well and he sounds like a great husband, to me. I think you're right - life gets busy and it's always good to pay more attention to each other.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Oh, how I love you, NATUI. You cut through the shit like nobody's business. And in the most beautiful, real, eloquent way possible.

But, as I am too well aware, being eloquent doesn't always go hand in hand with communication skills. That whole planetary allegory is not too far off the mark. Just keep trying. Keep talking.