If you have a husband who, shall we say, is sensitive to his physical afflictions, and if said man is down for the count, whether that be for a common illness or an injury or even recovering from surgery (GASP), this is for you.
Here are ten important tips for handling your man whilst caring for him when he has the “man flu”:
When taking your man to the doctor, be prepared to listen to him ask lots of questions.
He will also bombard the doctor with the detailed story of what is wrong/what happened/what hurts a few more times just to be sure the doctor understands his suffering accurately.
This may or may not ignite a desire to tell him to just stop, but it surely will agitate you or at the very least irritate and annoy. Just sip on your coffee and keep reading that Oprah magazine you picked up in the waiting room.
This will be over fairly soon. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT roll your eyes, sigh, or cut him off. Focus on the zen of Oprah and all her inspirational writing peeps.
Eat your words. No, really.
When you FINALLY sit down after getting your man his third meal of the day while cleaning up his surrounding trash and charting his meds while dispensing them carefully and he asks for some more water, take a deep breath and grab a pen and on the nearest piece of paper, scribble: “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!” in really big letters, then crumple that paper into a tiny ball and eat it.
That way, while you are getting his water, you can literally eat your words. This works like a charm.
He’ll have trouble with cognitive functioning.
When you are trying to decipher three different practice schedules with a frantic pace before you run out the door, hoping you drop each kid off at the right place at the right time, and you shout to your man, “Is baseball ending at 6:00 then?” And he says “I don’t know. I sent you all the emails with the information.”
Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT respond. It would be dangerous, we know this.
Carefully walk over to your computer and search for the emails while grabbing 4 cookies to smash into your mouth. This will pacify your need to scream. Swallow slow and hard, take a swig of milk leftover from the kid’s cup to wash them down, then calmly say “Maybe you could possibly if you are feeling up to it, help me organize the kids’ schedules so that I can pull it all off until you are healed.”
And gently whisper, “Because I don’t think your mind is broken.” Then leave the house immediately.
You don’t want to be near your man at this point, and well, you are late to practice- which one? You’re still not sure. And by ALL means, do NOT go down memory lane, thinking through all the times you parented and did allthethings while you were suffering.
This will take you to a dark place.
Ask before you relax.
When you are folding the 14th load of laundry and the kids are finally in bed and you cannot WAIT to finally sit down after you pack the lunches and clean up the kitchen, please don’t fool yourself into dreamy naivety- because although ignorance is usually bliss, you will receive a crushing blow to that sweet dream.
You know better. Don’t play mind games with yourself. You will always be disappointed with this approach to self-care.
The reality is that the day is not done. So, one-up your man and go over to him, touch his hand and in a soft and gentle voice ask, “Is there anything you need before I sit down in the other room (away from you) to watch a show and rest?” This way, you can beat him to the punch.
You will feel like you won. You usurped your man. BAM! Don’t ask me what you won, just go with it. My gosh, just feel the win.
Fake it ’til you make it.
When you are tired of hearing your man moan, complain, whine, worry, about his awful predicament, his serious affliction, his terrible state, or his painful injury, always respond with a loving “I know. I’m so sorry, honey.”
You have learned through parenting, that you don’t always have to believe what you say. You are completely qualified to fake it and not count on your feelings to guide your words. You are skilled at this much-needed technique, you are GOOD at it. You can do this! Use it. Often.
Pray for self-control.
When your man simply can’t reach to the other side of the couch to get his pillow and calls for you to come get it, take a few minutes to pray to your mighty God for the supernatural miracle of self-control as you kindly take the pillow and slowly carry it past his face to his hands.
And… YOU DID IT! You have performed a miracle by not taking that pillow and chucking it to the other side of the room, or worse, smashing it into his face and holding it down if only for a few seconds. Praise God and Hallelujah! Walk away fast. Really fast.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
When your husband asks you to get something, for say, the 427th time, and it’s only 9:00 am in the morning, stifle your raging desire to scream “GET IT YOURSELF” by finding the nearest dirty sock and stuffing it in your mouth. I promise the stench alone will induce a dry heave and focusing on the filth you just ingested will completely distract you from your unraveling anger in this relentless never-ending day of care-taking.
Also, be sure to not get angry that there is a dirty sock within arm’s reach. Let that go, girl. You have too much else to handle right now.
Does he need more attention? Give him your “to-do list”
If your man seems to want even more attention from you because he is just so sad about his awful predicament, reassure him you are too busy to spend one more minute by his side, because you have kids to feed and take to all the practices somewhere at some time, you have tons of work to catch up on, and laundry to do and dishes to clean, and calls to make.
Keep going on and on until he interrupts you and says okay because you’re distracting him from the tv show he’s trying to watch.
He’s having surgery? Your sisters will help you survive.
If your man is injured or needs surgery, girrrrrrrl, you are in it for the long run. This is an entirely different battle. Listen up, sweet soldier: In order to survive this looooooong season of healing, you must vent to your girlfriends on a regular basis, or you will explode.
A quick text, a secret phone call from your car in the garage, or in your next girlfriends’ group gathering, ask to have the floor for the first full hour. Your gal pals will be your favorite people, your safe place to cry, to complain, to laugh, and to stiffen all the strength you need to go back home and do this care-taking dance over and over again.
Remember all the reasons why you love your man.
During this time of your man’s convalescence, it’s imperative you have an ongoing repetitive list in your mind of all the things you ADORE about your man.
Think through all the incredible qualities you fell in love with years ago and all the many character traits you still love and admire about him now. Remind yourself over and over again how he has helped care for you, been your rock in hard times, and rose to meet the needs of your family in more ways than you can even count.
Take a second to reflect on how needy you can be at times and how he can be so loving and patient with you. And have hope that one day, this will all be a memory.
It will all be over. It will take just a weeeee bit longer than you’d expect.