My husband and I have differing styles of sickness.
Paul likes to be left alone when he doesn't feel good. He hibernates in the bedroom and doesn't really want or need anyone to check on him.
Problem was (and yes - I mean WAS), he thought I liked to be sick the same way.
This wasn't really ever a problem because I don't tend to get super sick. But a while back... I got really really sick. I had a hell of a flu virus. I was running a high temp, the room was spinning, my body ached terribly, I could not get out of bed and I couldn't sleep. I actually sobbed I felt so bad.
And Paul was nowhere to be found.
He also apparently threatened the children because none of them showed up either.
So there I was, really needing a drink of water and an ibuprofen to help with my temp and I got nothin' - no one. For FIVE HOURS.
Finally - I couldn't take it anymore. I reached over to the phone and called Paul's cell phone.
He didn't answer. He never answers. He leaves it on vibrate and apparently it doesn't vibrate enough for him to feel it...
Why the hell carry a cell if you don't answer it? (another story for another day).
Anyways... After no response from Paul... I called my father. Sobbing.
Me: Dadddd. (I am now crying uncontrollably - partly because I feel like shit and probably partly because I've been abandoned by my family)
Dad: Chino? What is it? What's wrong?
Me: Dad! I need you to come over. I am so sick and Paul hasn't checked on me and I need help. I have a fever and I feel so bad... (sobbing continues).
Dad: What do you mean? Where is Paul? Doesn't he know you are sick?
Me: He's downstairs but he hasn't come to check on me...
At this point - I mean let's be real. I've been left alone for five hours -- I could care less if my father is mad at my husband. In fact - I am hoping he is mad at my husband.
Dad: I'll be right there.
Within a few minutes, the doorbell rings and I hear Paul answer it.
I hear talking.
I hope my dad is scolding him for leaving his precious daughter alone to die in the bedroom.
My dad comes up to the bedroom.
Dad: Chino. Paul didn't know you needed him. He thought you were sleeping.
Me: For FIVE HOURS! I am so upset dad! (sobbing more)... I need some ibuprofen and some water. I can't even get up for water!
But I did have the stamina to cry and yell.
Dad: Chino. Come on now. He didn't leave you here on purpose.
Me: Would you leave mom for five hours when she is sick?
Dad: No... but Paul has four kids downstairs to take care of.
The last thing I need is commonsense talk - it just makes me want to cry.
So that's what I do. Cry. Harder.
Dad: I'll come back in a minute.
After a few minutes, Paul comes upstairs with water and medicine. He sits on the bed next to me and rubs my back. I am still upset.
Paul: I didn't know you needed me. I'm sorry.
Me: I tried calling you on your cell.
Paul: Honey - I'm sorry. I got busy with the kids. I was trying to keep them away from you. I thought you wanted to be alone.
Me: I don't want to be alone when I am sick. I want you to check on me. (I start crying again).
Paul: Okay. I'll check on you from now on. I promise. Now don't get upset. You need to rest. I need to go downstairs though with the kids.
Me: Will you check on me again?
Paul: Yes. I'll come up again.
And he did. About once an hour.
Since that first collision over sickness... Paul has adjusted to my way of being sick... and I to his. I don't bother him when he is sick. That is the way he wants it. And as much as it seems wrong to leave him alone... I force myself to do it.... even though images of him being dead in bed swirl in my head.
He now checks on me when I am sick. He comes up, asks me if I need anything, brings me water and meds, and now... even surprises me.
This last week I have had strep throat. I'm not feeling as icky as I was the last time... I am able to get up and get what I need.
But Paul has called me from work, he comes home at noon to see how I am doing. He even surprised me yesterday by bringing home my favorite magazine and a chocolate treat to cheer me up. Today, he sent me the cutest Hallmark e-card.
I'm sure it goes against his fundamental Norwegian being to attend to me in this way... but he does it anyways. Because he loves me.
And it reassures me that he cares about me enough...
to not want to find me dead in our bed.