What is it that is expected from a spouse when their partner falls sick? It is not a rhetorical question… I genuinely don’t know the answer to that!
My husband of 12 years made me bowl of soup once… I remember it, because it was right after giving birth to our second baby. My hemoglobin was 7 and they wanted to do a blood transfusion, but I promised the doctor I would get it up myself, and she suggested mushrooms… so he made me a mushroom soup… I also remember feeling proud then that he made me something. But now I believe he did it, because my mother was in town and she had to travel the next day, because her brother had just passed away and she felt guilty leaving, so in order for her not stay longer he wanted to show her that he’d take care of me… and maybe twice, he made me a cup of tea!
I have been really sick for a few days now, drowsy from the damn antibiotic injections and tired from the throat pain caused by the puss and ulcers and sinus headache that would not go away… and it hit me. I don’t even know what husbands for their wives when they get sick. What should I be expecting, and what should or shouldn’t piss me off. When I see a spouse caring for their partner in a movie, I just tell myself… ohh these are just fairy-tales they feed people, like Disney movies.
It was around four days ago when I started feeling ill… I had borrowed my sister’s car and drove one daughter to nursery and the other had the day off and we had plans to go with her friends and a few other parents to the museum. I called one of the mothers and asked her if she could take her and after dropping her off and for the following 5 hours I could not get out of the car between sleep and feeling terribly faint. A friend of mine was calling, and she told me why don’t you call him to help out, you sound terrible and should get some rest… haha… ha… a sad and ironic laugh that is, of course … it would be more horrifying to ask than endure…
The day after I could barely swallow my saliva… but I still had to get up and go with him for one of our kids’ school interview. I was so drowsy and stuffy, and everyone i met there told me that I looked really out of it and not even an “are you ok” cared to slip his tongue… On our way back I told him I wasn’t feeling well and my mouth is filled with puss, he said oh, I am having a scratchy throat myself… I asked him to take the kids away from me, because I didn’t want them to get infected, he yelled at me that he just wanted to sleep for 15 min before he had to go to work… I called up a doctor and also had to call a nurse to bring me meds and a give me the injection prescribed. He had already gone to work didn’t wait for the doctor to arrive. All I wanted to do is for them to get out of the room, so they would’nt get sick. I have no idea how I got through the rest of the day. It is such a terrible feeling when you are feeling so ill and cannot be there for your kids, filled with guilt and weariness and anger.
I had barely managed to put the kids to sleep as he was coming back from work… “Are you feeling any better” he asked… before I could answer he continued, “a friend of mine is coming over, do you need anything”. I don’t think he cared to know how I really was. I kindly asked if he could make one of those ready made soups. He went to the kitchen and came back with the pot of a day old soup that was sitting on the stove, saying “why don’t u eat this” … all I could say was: It’s ok, never mine, I’ll manage. I felt like I don’t matter… a furniture piece that broke and he expected me fix, like everything else in the house.
He did one thing right though… the next day he took the kids to visit his mother and I finally got a few hours of peace and quite. Not that I want to assume the worst, but I think he wanted to sleep and he didn’t want to be guilt-tripped into sleeping and leaving the kids with me even when I could not move. He brought them back way after their bed-time and who would do the bed time routine with them, me of course; he had some party to go to.
Yesterday morning was all a blur and thankfully I have adorable little ones who managed with only me telling them what to do. Later in the day I started feeling a tad better and managed to get up, cook a late lunch for the kids and play with them a little. I had been pushing them away the past days for them not to catch my infection and I felt horrible about it. After putting them to bed, I sat in the living area exhausted, he then had the audacity of actually out blunt asking me if I wanted sex! To fuck, really… Is that what he thinks a sick person needs!!? Maybe he thought I wasn’t sick enough… or that I was pretending…who knows!
I never expected him to be an all-giving and pampering husband, but I do think I might have had some expectations when we first got married; I just cannot remember what they were. Year by year they started to fade, until a simple get well soon as he passed me by became acceptable and somewhat appreciated… He once told me I don’t ask for help from anyone, so no one would ask me for anything…
He definitely managed to limit my expectations to the bare minimum… or is it enough… i dont know! Hmmm… I guess I still have some expectations, like helping out a little with the kids or maybe a cup of tea… or for the least some compassion. But sex, seriously!
When he gets sick, I try my best to make him feel comfortable, like around 10 days ago, he had a terrible cough. I asked him if he needed anything, he said no. I asked if I should get him something warm to drink… he said he didn’t want any. A while after I told him, he should try taking the kids coughing medicine, it’s all natural and will make him feel better, he didn’t answer… later in the day he got up, so just as I was about to give him the medicine bottle, he yelled at me saying I don’t want anything, you don’t have to shove your advice down my throat…
So what is a husband expected to do? A non-narcissistic one, that is?