Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Sickness and In Health

My wife is sick.

It may have come from the 20+ degree fluctuations in temperature this last week. I blame El Nino for the bi-polar weather that has dumped close to two feet of snow on our heads, then jumps to a balmy 40o Fahrenheit, inspiring shorts and flip-flops to fly out of drawers and everyone to think we're living in the Bahamas.

It may have come from extended contact with any of her 30 cousins over the Christmas holiday. Lord knows what bacterial, viral, or homicidal specimens creepy-crawled their way from those cute little elementary school hands into my wife's ears, nose, or throat.

Regardless of the source, she is officially sick. The doctors have deemed it,


Evidently she's been infected by sinuses. I hope I don't catch the little buggers. I've gone my whole life without a single sinus, and I don't plan on catching one now.

Nursemaid to the Stars

I don't know if you realize this, but as a husband, it is your duty to care for your ailing wife in times of suffering. The clause “In sickness and in health” includes sinusitis.

It all began with a tickle, located somewhere in the back of her throat. Annie's voice sounded a little raspy, but we chocked it up to talking over the ravenous din of ecstatic cousins and exuberant aunts. But then, the aches and pains started. The soreness led to an all out whine of despair that bore a striking resemblance to Randy from A Christmas Story. Instead of,

I can't put my arms down!”, her wails of despair were saying,

My whole body hurts!”.

After a healthy regimen of over the counter pharmacological cocktails, cold washcloths, and love, it was obvious that I was losing the war against this vehement virus. I admitted defeat and she went to the doctor. She waited two hours for five minutes of face time with a physician who didn't have time for bedside niceties. A few routine pokes and prods and the verdict was in: SINUSITIS.

Pharmacists Don't Smile

Out the door she went, sinusitis in one lobe, prescription in the other. I got a phone call about an hour later.

They said I have to wait 25 minutes for the prescription. Will you pick it up for me?”

Of course. Go home and rest. I'll bring it by in a bit.”

A half an hour later, I head to the pharmacy. The lady at the counter retrieves my white bag from the sea of bins behind her.

There's a five dollar charge for flavoring.”

She got flavoring? What kind of flavoring?”

Watermelon. It's out of season, so there's a five dollar charge. Is that OK?”

Well, you can't remove the flavoring now, can you?” I joked. Anything to help get this Codeine infused swill down.

Have you ever taken these medicines before?” she responded with deathly seriousness.

They're not for me...My wife – I'm not Ann, I'm Chris.”

Have you taken them or not?” Her tone was tinged with an irritation you might find in someone surrounded by sick people all day.

No. No ma'am.”

I'll have a pharmacist explain them to you. CONSULTATION!” she bellowed into the shelves behind her. I didn't think such a small woman could contain such a deafening roar. Soon a pharmacist was before me, rattling off the specificity of each elixir and pill.

Quaff one teaspoon every 4 hours...

...Two pills the first day, one the next four, unless your a Capricorn on Thursday...

...Don't take if you are operating a forklift...

...Don't forklift if you are operating a tank...

...And that is all there is to it. I hope you feel better Mrs. Jasper!”

Bewildered, I proceeded to the exit and delivered the narcotics to my withering wife. I tried my best to impart the instructions to her and, in a semi-conscious state, she understood fairly well. We administered the first dose of antibiotics without a hitch. Attempting to deliver the Codeine proved more difficult.

The top was not only childproofed, it was adult proofed and possibly bear proofed as well. After a solid three minutes of prying, twisting, and biting, I successfully loosed the cap from it's mooring.

Is it flavored? I asked them to add a flavor.”

For five dollars, it better taste like prime rib.” I muttered. “It smells kind of spicy...”

An unsteady hand wielding a teaspoon of medicinal magic was soon in route for my wife's mouth. A squeamish face greeted the utensil and swallowed the medicine with reluctant force.

Eeeeuuuggghhhhh!!!!! Get me some water!” Evidently the spicy watermelon didn't help much. So much for that investment.

I Feel My Temperature Rising

When I got home from work, It didn't seem as though Annie had moved more than a few inches from the spot I'd left her in.

I threw up.” She greeted me with a dilapidated groan.

So you're feeling better! Swell.” I changed out of my work clothes and tried to assess the situation. She was very warm, so I got her a cool washcloth and laid it on her head.

The rest of the evening, we had the thermostat set at a balmy 55o. As we went to bed, Annie was wearing pajama pants and a t-shirt. I cloaked myself in a hoodie, sweatpants, socks, and mittens. About four hours later, all that was about to change.

I woke up at 2:30am in a pool of sweat. My mittens were strewn across the bed, the blankets were no where to be found, and I had no clue what was going on. But it was hot. Annie was barely awake and, upon hearing my rouse, she asked,

“I'm freezing. Can you turn up the heat?”

I begrudgingly obliged, peeling off layers as I stumbled through the house. I got back to bed, laid back, and heard,

“Can you get the thermometer? I think I have a fever.”

Another blind stumble to the bathroom found me back at the bed, thermometer in hand. A few moments later, the digital read out stated,


“Great. I'm glad we solved that mystery.” I returned to bed, pulled up the covers, and was met with a meek,

“Can you get me a box Kleenex?”

At 3am I was finally reunited with my REM cycle. The next morning was a slow one, but I made it to work. Annie had borrowed my car for the day, and about 11:30, she shows up at my office, bearing SUBWAY.

“This is for taking such good care of me. Thank you.”

And that makes it all worth it. I love my wife, even when she's feeling like death, and just as fun to be around.

About five minutes later, I get a text from the woman of my dreams:

“I almost just barfed in your car.”

That's what love is all about.

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