You’re Always Grumpy When I’m Sick

IMG_1667I was irrationally angry with my husband. He had asked me to please put dirty dishes in the sink rather than on the counter, since he had just cleaned up the kitchen. It was not the first time he had made this particular request. I usually just shrug and say I’ll try to remember.

I refused to answer and went back to reading the Internet. When I walked into the kitchen right before going to bed, I emptied the dishwasher, and pointedly ignored the dishes in the sink.

There, I thought bitterly, in the morning, he’ll learn that he shouldn’t have said that.

I headed upstairs and responded brusquely to his good-night kiss.

“That wasn’t much of a kiss…” he replied smiling.

At that point, it occurred to me that he probably had no idea what he’d even done.

“I hate to leave dishes in the sink! They belong on the counter!” I declared, making what was probably my first ever stand against the dishes in the sink crowd.

“They belong in the dishwasher, but if it’s full the kitchen looks so much better when you can’t see them. And if it looks better, it stays cleaner longer. It’s not just you, I need to remember to do it as well.”

“I hate to be nagged.” I yelled.

Then I took a deep breath.

“I’m sorry…” I replied, “I don’t know why I’m so angry.”

“I do.” he laughed. “You’re always grumpy when I’m sick.”

I didn’t reply to that. I’d been so good in the hospital.

You see, the Monday before, my husband told me he was having stomach pains. I hadn’t taken it very seriously. In fact, my main worry was whether I had cooked something toxic, since we’d been to a couple of parties. I sort of hoped that he would be the only one with a tummy ache.

It didn’t start to worry me until he told me his doctor had recommended a trip to the ER. Even then, I thought that it was likely just another round of kidney stones, and that we would soon be sent home with pain pills and the so-called ‘party pack’.

But the doctor in the ER was more concerned. It wasn’t appendicitis, that happened a few years ago. And my love’s gall bladder was also gone, and my husband said the pain wasn’t the same as kidney stones.

After the C.A.T. scan, the doctor looked less nervous.

“It’s diverticulitis.” he told us. “There’s the mild scenario where we would send you home with antibiotics and pain pills. Or the serious scenario where we would do surgery. You’re in the middle.”

With that, my husband spent the next four days in the hospital.

Hospital time is strange. Fortunately, thus far, I only know it as the visitor, but between my husband and my aunt, I’ve logged some time in hospital rooms. There are incomprehensible monitors, odd beeping noises, unpleasant procedures, occasional moans from other patients, and of course, overall anxiety. Yet despite it all, there is a peacefulness about it. It’s though normal life is suspended. After all, there isn’t much, as a visitor, that you can actually do. My real job, I figure, is to stay cheerful, laugh at the patients’ bad jokes, and thank the nurses. Meanwhile, particularly when I am with my husband, I have lots of time to knit, surf the internet and play Free Cell. And my husband is a good patient. He doesn’t complain, and is generally gracious to everyone.

So the hospital time went well and I was good (in the beginning) after he came home. He was on a low-fiber diet, so I learned how to make rice pudding!

We were suppose to go camping with friends on the Cape. But since he was still recovering from knee surgery, he couldn’t hike. As he was on a low-fiber, bland ‘mushy’ diet, his restaurant choices would be very limited, and since one of the antibiotics he was taking reacted very badly with alcohol, he couldn’t sit around a campfire with a drink. And he was not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds.

“Do you mind if we pass on this one?” he asked.

“Of course not…” I replied “if I was you I certainly wouldn’t want to go.”

I was fine all the way up until the dishes in the sink incident.

“What’s wrong with me?” I asked myself afterwards.

Now this should be the time where I wind up the article and supply an answer. But I don’t really have any answers. My husband was fairly quick to forgive me. He’s the one who spent the last week in the hospital. He’s also missing his vacation. He’s the one who is on a complex and confusing regimen of antibiotics. He’s the one who can’t eat anything good. He’s the one who should be upset.

I always wish I could just take a magic pill and become a good person, the type of person who wouldn’t get irrationally angry over stupid things. I wish that someday, I would just grow up.

But. It’s probably not going to happen to me in this life-time. I should probably just accept my husband’s answer.

“You’re always grumpy when I’m sick.”

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