Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ministering Angel

Vicky is ill again. He has been ill much of this summer, with persistent colds and racking coughs and high fevers. I believe he is overworking himself, more through mismanagement of his time than anything else, but it's quite true that he has made an effort to spend more time with Rahul and me of late, adding yet another major demand on his time.

When we were newlyweds on our own and he fell ill I remember rushing around trying to be the perfect nurse while also working full-time and taking care of things -- while also being pregnant. I soon lost that drive as I realised that he certainly would never tend to my sickbed the way I thought it ought to be done, the way I was doing it for him (which I believe was driving him a bit up the wall, actually).

I've never really regained that feeling. Mostly I justify it by telling myself that I don't tend to him hand and foot because he doesn't do that for me either. That is to say, he does take care of me, nursing stuff like meals on trays and medicines laid out and help with baths etc, when I'm ill, but I have at best 48 hours of this, usually only 24, before I find myself doing laundry or making beds or figuring out meals or tidying the house. There is always something needing to be done and I find myself doing it. I have resented him for this, because when he takes to his bed he does so for days, refusing to do anything at all, so usually by the time he recovers I am ready to hit the sickbed myself!

Today though I thought, perhaps I don't do the Florence Nightingale bit because it's not my thing. (Except for the gruffness and sternness, I believe she was both and so am I, in a sickroom.) Maybe these are all reasons to justify why I don't have much patience with ill people. It hurts me to see Vicky ill and feverish and unable to walk. I hate seeing him unable to eat or even talk. But deep down, I'm getting impatient if he's not better already. It's like how he is happy to have me do the housework with a raging fever.

And it's not just with him either. When Rahul falls ill, I'm the one who sternly bullies him into having the medicines he hates, who gives him the remedies nobody else can bring themselves to force on him. I have no patience even with an ill child. At least, I do, but my patience is limited. It is a strange thing to acknowledge because my parents were both very good to me when I fell ill. I was pampered and petted and made much of. You'd think I would do the same, wouldn't you?

It's just who we are, Vicky and I. Essentially loving people, but also essentially self-centred. I like how the realisation adds to our relationship, that this is who we are, that we both acknowledge this and that neither of us like this aspect of the other but put up with it like we adjust to so much else.

I do hope that the man is better soon. Not only because this continuing illness is playing havoc with my work and stamina but also because I hate to see him suffer so much. Nobody tell him I said so, but at times like these I wish I could lock him in the bedroom and let him sleep every bit as much as he wants to.


B o o. said...

You are not alone, Sister! I am exactly like that too! I get very impatient and restless when the husband or the kids get sick! I think its because at the back of the mind, Im thinking "God! one more thing to take care off along with the million other stuff!"

Sue said...

Boo -- Exactly what you said. Perhaps you and I are not alone?

Sands said...

You are so not alone. Add me to the group, will ya? Everything you said in this post resonated with me.

Rohini said...

Chalk up another one for this group. Once when Ayaan would not stop coughing for over an hour in the middle of the night, my nurturing side was seriously overwhelmed by my totally irritated self. Each cough was like another nail being driven into my nerves.

Subhashree said...

"But deep down, I'm getting impatient if he's not better already. It's like how he is happy to have me do the housework with a raging fever. "

Now you are reading my mind.

And what Boo, Sands (tho I don't know her) and Ro said.

dipali said...

My mom wasn't a patient nurse and would always scold us for falling ill or getting hurt. Dad was always much kinder- he was the one who put in eye drops and ointments for me, and gave me medicines in the middle of the night when required. I've done a lot of nursing in my day, and have consciously tried to be kind to whoever the patient is, but it honestly doesn't come naturally to me. The spouse is mostly useless, though he has given me bedpans when I was pregnant and on bed rest, but now he would prefer me to have a full time servant to do what ever is required. I find it much easier to manage by myself with my part-time help as long as I'm able to get up at all!

Aneela Z said...

I guess the misery of the non-ministering angel loves company. sign me up too. though it doesnt sound as interesting as Charlie's Angels. So much for the "nurturing" Cancerian. With the Toddler, yes I worry and will pamper him but with the grown ups in the house I find falling sick irritating, in myself and in others.

R's Mom said...

oh please add me to that group..I seriously dont have any patience at all..even if my child or spouse is sick..I have people in my office who take leave when their spouses are sick and when I come to work when RD is sick, I am judged..not that RD takes leave when I am sick..gah!

Gayatri said...

- Wow! So I'm not alone?????
- Husbands not equal to fathers, wives not equal to mothers....and finally mothers/fathers gen x not equal to mothers/fathers gen y :)
- "I like how the realisation adds to our relationship,....put up with it like we adjust to so much else." That's coool...finding positives in the negative... I can't do that:(
- Hope things get back to normal soon...

Sue said...

People, I didn't know so many of you would agree with me. In fact, I was steeling myself for the disapproval.

Sands, Subha -- :)

Ro -- I know! (Although you better never feel like that about Spidey. Us second children need more kindness.)

Dipali -- Indeed you've done your fair share of nursing. If anybody is allowed to get annoyed, you are!

Aneela -- Yes, so much for the nurturing Cancerian. :D

R's Mom -- But work needs to be done, no? People are too quick to judge. Mind you, I've always been grateful when Vicky took leave because I needed him at home, but now that he works from home, he seldom stops for my illnesses. Thank god I don't fall ill very easily.

Gayatri -- Generation gap you think? I think it's more a personality thing myself. I used to think I would be a mother handing out mugs of Complan to a child studying at night but I'm more likely to yell at him for not having finished his studies in the daytime instead. LOL

hack said...

shit, doing housework with a raging fever! i'd never do that. the world can go to the dogs.

Rohini said...

Not having been a second child myself, I plan to do no such thing. :P

Sue said...

Hack -- Not if you live with two slobs it can't. Especially if you're the one who needs to fix their mess a week later anyway.

Ro -- When the Second Children take over the world, you'll be sorry.