A few days ago I stayed home sick. No, I didn’t actually have a fever, but my nose was constantly draining as if someone forgot to turn the shower off and my body was achy everywhere. I was involuntarily stretching because of these aches and knew that I would accomplish nothing, zero, zilch, nada at work. I was lightheaded and nauseas. From the moment I woke up, I knew I was doomed. I texted my boss and informed him I would be out apologizing because I have a project deadline approaching. I then crawled up the stairs and informed my husband that he would have to drive our daughter to school.
“I’m sick. Can you please drive Sophia to school?” I voiced weakly, “I’m dizzy, achy, and my nose needs to be permanently attached to tissues.”
I should’ve known what his response would be, after all I have been married to the man for over 12 years and with him for over 20, but I was still a bit awe stricken…
“Ugh, do I have to?!” he whined.
I love my husband, really I do. He really is my rock. So many times my Depression and Anxiety have told him to leave, that he would be better off without me. But he never did. He stepped in as primary parent and let me get the help I needed whether in the form of visits to my therapist or psychiatrist, a phone call to my parents or even a couple of hospitalizations. He truly is my best friend and an awesome man with exception to this one thing.
During my hospitalization for Severe Postpartum Depression and Anxiety 10 years ago, I finally learned I am not Wonder Woman, I cannot do it all. I mean ALL is a considerable amount. The media will have you believe that mothers can do everything. I haven’t met a mother yet that does everything and those that come close usually have large quantities of coffee or wine in hand. Once I arrived home from this hospitalization, I put the phrase, “I need help” to use. I mean, I honestly needed help.
“Jimmy, can you help me with this?” I asked my husband. For awhile, he did (remember, this was a decade ago). Then he would get whiny. Once he started to get whiny, I stopped asking for help. Without asking for help, my Mental Illnesses got worse, but I kept them relatively under control. After all, I was forever in debt to him for being hospitalized and leaving him with a newborn to take care of for 12 days… at least I thought I was. Then, I was hospitalized again and once released, he and my daughter questioned me how they could help me.
Ah, finally, they were asking how they could help, not waiting for me to beg them. This, unfortunately, didn’t last. I was once again asking them for help, not a lot, and I was using “please” and “thank you”. They are the magic words you know. My daughter usually obeyed, but lately, with prepubescence, it is becoming more difficult. My husband…
And we’re back to… “Ugh, do I have to?!”
I tried not to get angry by this response. I was completely drained anyway, but inside I was beginning to boil.
“Yes. Thank you.”
He proceeded to do as asked. I then called him at work around noon, after a nap and forcing some food into me, to make sure he was going to pick her up from school.
“You’re picking Sophia up from school, right?” I inquired.
“What? Me? Why me? You’re home. You pick her up.”
“I’m sick. I’m not leaving the house.”
And once again… “Ugh, do I have to?!”
When this is a response you constantly receive, it makes it hard to ever ask for help.
Then, he added, “What are you making for dinner?”
What?! Yes, I know I am home, but really, I don’t even have a desire to eat. After explaining if he would like his food with snot on it (because, hello, drippy nose), I hoped he would understand that dinner making was not happening from me. That wasn’t the end of it though… somehow he did guilt me into marinating the steaks I wasn’t going to eat. With tissues stuck in both nostrils and my hands lathered in antibacterial gel, I got the steaks marinating.
It didn’t end there. When these two people I love to infinity and beyond arrived home, their understanding of Mommy being unwell left the house. I was constantly needed for something. I don’t understand… the two of them functioned fine when I was away on business a couple of weeks ago. But somehow they can’t understand the idea of me becoming sick. To them, if I am present in the house, I should be able to function at 100%. This, too, was the case 3 years ago when I had the flu. They both couldn’t fathom why I wasn’t cooking and cleaning the whole house since I was home. At that time, I put myself in quarantine… for 3 days all I did was sleep, go to the bathroom, and munch on toast.
And now, the tables are turned.
Hubby left work early 2 days ago feeling icky, deep into a case of the ‘Man Cold’ with the symptoms I had. For those who are questioning what the heck ‘Man Cold’ is, I am pleased to tell you. ‘Man Cold’ is the common cold when it presents itself in male humans. Instead of acknowledging that they have a cold, they think they are dying. They believe their sneezes and coughs are much more than a common everyday germ. They somehow get the idea that this germ, the germ us females have just had, has mutated into a superbug. They will continuously whine about how awful they feel and try to make you believe that they deserve to sit on the sofa and binge watch Star Trek and Mythbusters.
He stayed home yesterday to nurse said ‘Man Cold’ and mainly because school was canceled due to a couple of inches of slushy snow and ice. He questioned why I wasn’t staying home too so I could take care of him and our daughter. I just looked at him oddly. Home all day and he didn’t even salt the walkway, driveway and sidewalk. Made for quite a theatrical performance for me getting to my front door last night after work.
This is the same person that only a few days ago was having me drive my child to school, make dinner, clean, pick up the child from school and wanted to know why I couldn’t go to work. But I don’t whine when he asks for help. Why? Because I am Mommy. I am the caretaker and my heart aches when those that I love are ill. I just want to help them feel better.
I am sure there are men out there that do not act like they are on their death bed, that do not suffer from the dreaded ‘Man Cold’. But, I haven’t met one yet. Anyone who is married or with one of this special men, hold onto them tightly. They are a rare species.