Friday, February 11, 2011

Of Sick Husbands, Grace and Gratitude

So the hubby is sick.  Like most men I know- when he is sick the world stops.  I don't know if this is his annual big winter cold or a mild flu but he is pretty miserable.  He has been sick for a couple of days now; sick enough that I moved into the guest room because with my compromised immune system it's just not safe to be around him, sick enough that he is very vocal about how miserable he is feeling.

This morning, I am struggling to practice grace and gratitude.  Gratitude is easier- I am very grateful that thus far I have not gotten whatever it is that he is sick from.  Grateful that I have place (other than my couch) that I can sleep and not share his germs.   Grateful that I can go to work today and he can have quiet to rest and recuperate.  Grateful that we have the weekend to just get ready for our trip and grateful that he didn't get sick next week when we are traveling.

Grace is a little harder.  I find it very, very difficult to have the sympathy I would have when we were much younger.  I find it difficult, when he complains about how his muscles hurt from being sick, to not say "Welcome to MY world." I find it difficult when I suggest that he try something that might help and he "pooh-pooh's" the suggestion to listen to him complain.  The struggle comes because he is a really good guy.  He has been as understanding as he can be about my illnesses.  He understands the chronic fatigue, he understands the limitations.  He treats me like I am normal.  That's a good thing most of the time.  I don't want to live in a constant pity party but sometimes, when I am flaring or when I have had a bad day or when I am just plain worn out- a little sympathy can go a long way.  So I try to give a little sympathy because I KNOW it can go a long way but if I go too far we will both know that it is false.

There was a time, before I developed RA and Fibro, when I would have been in my full "Dr. Mom" mode by now.  I would have made sure he was tucked in, made sure he was tucked into bed with his meds and ginger ale and hot soup (that he probably wouldn't eat) in the crockpot so he could have it if he wanted while I was gone.  Now, he is sitting in his recliner with a box of tissues and the Nyquil is near because he put it there.   I have to wonder if this change in me is a good thing or a bad thing.  I have to wonder if my even higher tolerance to pain and my accepting and living with my illness has hardened me and made me less tolerant to the complaints of others.  Something to think about this weekend.

In the meantime, I will keep saying the Serenity Prayer over and over and trying to remember that he is not used to being sick and therefore I should be a little more....I don't want to say caring because I DO care that he is not feeling well, but caring in terms of taking care of him.  I have to work this weekend for inventory so I won't be home to do for him but in the morning I can start some chicken soup before I leave and restock his Ginger Ale and cracker supply on my way home tonight.  I can call and see if he needs anything before I leave work today and call and check on him this afternoon.  I can try and remember that I can't treat him as I would want to be treated because we are totally different and if I catch myself being snappy or having ungracious thoughts I can stop myself and turn it around.  That sounds like a plan that I can put into action.  

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