A close friend had once narrated an anecdote.
Once long back, her mom was diagnosed with some illness which required complete bed rest. The doctor and the elders in the family had advised her happy-go-lucky dad to take leave from work, stay at home for a couple of days and look after her. The well meaning advice backfired. Happy at getting leave from work out of the blue, Mr. Dad went ahead got himself crates of beer and called the friends who were available on a weekday to give him company. Besides creating ruckus with his male bonding act, he also managed to irritate aunty by waking her up from her medicine induced sleep every hour to ask “you are doing fine, right?” He would then vanish before she could muster a reply!
Her mom had finally bolted the bedroom door from inside after being woken up thrice and the next day she freaked at the doctor and her mother-in-law who promptly took back their earlier advice and uncle was requested to “not look after aunty” and get back to work with immediate effect the very next day!
We had all laughed hysterically on her dad’s twisted Florence Nightingale act! Little did I envision at that point, that once married I will land in similar territory.
What is it with men and tending to the sick? Why are they so completely at a loss? I am sure they mean well, just that while executing the kindness, somehow they land up doing exactly what is NOT required. Let me share my own very recent anecdote.
Last Friday, 8.00pm IST:
Being unable to walk for last 2 weeks because of swollen feet accompanied by excruciating pain, I finally decided to take medical help. The GP + the ortho (two different docs, if you please) asked me to get a series of tests done. One of them was to check RA (rheumatoid arthritis) factor. Being a Google addict; on reaching home post check up and tests, I promptly read up on RA and discovered that it is incurable and although medicines do regulate the pain, one basically lives with pain and side effects caused by the medication rest of his/ her life.
Overall, not present a pretty picture, at all.
I pondered about this and visualized myself as a stick/crutch dependent person, shunned by society, not able to work, in dire consequences etc (my imagination has a habit of running wild) and since there was nothing else to do except croak in pain, I decided to get depressed.
Suitably depressed, I rang the HUSBAND. On hearing my grief /panic stricken voice on phone, he for once did not say something irrelevant (Ex- I forgot to have my lunch today; I just saw two MIG’s flying over my tech park etc. Yes they are not co-related AT ALL, but then you don’t know my husband).
He actually came back home early to offer me his shoulders to cry on. Pouring himself a large peg, he advised that till we actually find out what is wrong, it is no use getting worried. Logical and sensible advice, after all the evening had just begun. My pain was manageable at that point.
The second drink, of course brought out the emotion. He claimed that no matter what happens to me, he will be there. He also assured full support on behalf of our fat four legged friend. Furry friend of course, looked the other way round and yawned, he did not seem very keen on supporting me in my illness.
Then as the third drink made its way, he mentioned that science is taking giant leaps, a possible cure will definitely find its way in the next couple of years. Which effectively meant that by then even he believed that I may be in for some trouble which totally contradicted his statement post drink No. 1.
By then the pain had increased manifold and I decided to have my dinner.
By the time the fourth drink was over, I had dozed off. I was tired and sick and wanted to sleep it off. I was suddenly shaken awake; THE Husband looking at me with a confused expression. Anyone who has had four large pegs in quick succession knows the expression I am referring to.
And I was informed, “I think I am little high, can you please serve me dinner?”
There you go! Who was ill? Who needed looking after? Who needed TLC? Who should have served whom dinner? These thought provoking questions never get a satisfactory answer; my friend….and life goes on.
At the Hospital though, we were confronted with a different side of the coin.
A couple was sitting with their back towards us waiting for the same doctor. The woman kept whining that her shopping time cannot be compromised on. The man replied “I have never stopped you from going out”. Woman cribbed, “But you promised you will accompany me”. Man sighed; deep, sad sigh. And then as they got up to leave, we realized that the guy in question had crepe bandage over his ankle. The HUSBAND stated gravely, “Man, having a wife who insists that you accompany her for a shopping spree while semi limping is a real sad situation.”
Was that the moment of truth/ acknowledgment that there are real pain-in-the-wrong-place kind of wives on this planet and that he is lucky NOT to be associated with one?
I am yet to know.
PPS: Oh by the way, in spite of four pegs he was up on time the next day to accompany me to the doctor.