Friday, 1 October 2010

What is it about Men and Illness?

I have spent the last 5 days playing nursemaid. No, I misspeak. What I should have said is that I have spent the last 5 days attempting to play nursemaid. The Husband, usually the most healthy of souls, has been struck down by a case of walking pneumonia. Now I should make it clear that I have been nagging and badgering him for about a month to get himself to the doctor to get his roiling chest cough checked out by a professional who won't placate him. Getting sick around here during the High Holidays is not an option that I can realistically hope to handle, (yes-I am a selfish bitch!!) hence the nagging and badgering. It was as much about self-preservation as concern for him and his "I never get sick so therefore I cannot be sick" ass.  I have heard it all.

Me: "You need to call the doctor."

Him: "I am fine."

Me: "You are not fine. You sound like your whole insides are coming up every time you expel a hack!"

Him: "I AM FINE!!"

Me: "You are NOT FINE!! Fine doesn't sound like an old man in a nursing home puking up last night's dinner!!"

Him: "F*&@-off!!! I AM FINE!!"

A month's worth of nagging and badgering must of worn him down, because unbeknownst to me he finally engaged the opinion of a professional. On Monday he came home armed with a diagnosis, a bucketful of antibiotics with names that are unpronounceable, and an acute inability to say "Yes, dear-You were right and I was wrong." It was truly amazing to watch this man who refuses to ever relent to illness, finally admit that maybe, just maybe, there was more to this phlegm-laden bark then just allergies. Unfortunately the diagnosis of pneumonia did nothing to slow him down. I attempted to get him to stay home for a couple of days. After 3 hours on day one, I thought that I might end up as a poster-girl on Dateline for having a suspiciously missing husband with no trace of his movements or remains. His boredom was palpable. Oprah, game shows and soaps are definitely not on his TV watch list, and he decided that it was the actual diagnosis of pneumonia that was making him feel so shitty. If I hadn't nagged and badgered him into going to the doctor, he would have continued to feel just fine. Isn't it amazing how his pneumonia suddenly became my fault?

I have been told by several friends that men, when faced with illness, seem to handle it in one of two ways. Either they revert to childhood and hope that their women will care for them like their mother's once did, or they stoically and with intense machismo deny all aspects of the illness so that they can carry on. My man has been stupidly choosing option 2. As I write this, he is at the office awaiting some delivery that probably could have waited out the weekend, but at this point in time is the single most important delivery ever to arrive at any office ever in the City Above Toronto.

The wild irony in all of this is that the Twin Son, not to be outdone or out-ailed, is currently recuperating at home with several broken and cracked ribs brought on by a Peter Pan induced delusion that he can still play hockey at his age without physical repercussions. He is, I am told, on some painkillers of mammoth proportions and can barely inhale without pain. It seems rather fitting that these two idiot split souls should both be suffering from breathing issues at the exact same moment in time.

I have lived long enough in a house full of men to realize that XY chromosomes and physical discomfort don't always mesh well. All I wanted was for him to acknowledge his illness and be proactive towards its cure. I have spent the better part of the week futilely attempting this feat. If anybody has any suggestions, I am open to them all.


  1. I have a suggestion - offer endless sex. That'll keep him "in bed"!

  2. What an imagination you have ... men don't get sick!

  3. Suggesting that one should give up hockey because of one's age is ludicrous!!! So what if we get injured and need's like saying you are to old to breathe! For shame!!!

    I would write more but I am late for my physiotherapy appointment, and then off to the surgeon for a follow-up.


  4. I agree with Elaine, hockey can and should be played by everyone. One cheap shot by the other team could not and will not stop me. I continued to play, the true hockey player that I am. The only thing I did not do was go out for beer and wings after, manly because I felt like throwing up.

    Pain meds in hand and a few weeks of healing and I will be back on the ice.

    Barry (twin son)

  5. I never once suggested that anybody give up hockey. That would be un-Canadian. I did intimate that maybe one should accept one's physical limitations and stop when one's body dictates it. You weekend warriors all amaze me. That said-are you certain that cracked ribs, ripped up knees etc are worth the price paid? This post was more about the fact that the men that I know cannot seem to accept those limitations. Hockey?? Go Leafs!!!

  6. Again with your wild imagination ... men don't have "physical limitations" (whatever the hell that is)

  7. The thing like 'I told you so',won't work on anyone. He's a matured and responsible person. When we treasure our family, we need to take care of ourselves. I bet he already knows that. Cheers!