This week I got this heartfelt email from a friend of mine:
‘I have been reading your blogs from my sick bed this week – very enjoyable! By the way, if you are in need of another subject, you might want to consider how, although the other half is trying to help look after the little one and you while you are sick and laid up, what actually happens is like “Sleeping Beauty”: everything stops in the household and what appears to be a forest of dirty washing and dishes, floors, etc, grows and does not disappear until you recover from your illness. I am not kidding! In the space of a couple of days the house is a tip and it will take me about a week to sort it all out.
‘Men just do not seem to think about the need to keep on top of things. I even had to get up to make sure that my smalls had been washed as it would not enter [DH’s] head to think about such things. And he is not even trying to be unhelpful. In his defence he says that [DD] kept him busy (although what he thinks happens when I have her on my own is a mystery?).
‘I am feeling much better now, although I am sporting a bruise on my head where I managed to knock myself out on the bathroom floor during the throes of my illness. [DH] did not even raise and thought that I had just decided to lie on the floor to rest!!!? Why would I do that as it is way more comfortable to be sick in bed? I still do not understand how men’s brains work even after years of living with him.’
Ring any bells? Luckily I’m hardly ever ill, but last time I was, last Christmas with flu, I did not spend one single day entirely in bed. I actually think I can’t be unwell – or at least can’t give in to it – because there is always too much to do. Apart from the fact that I run my own business, so I don’t get sick pay and a client deadline is a deadline, there are two small people and one other big person to clothe, feed, ferry around etc.
Perhaps I’m being too much of a control freak here, but my fear is that if I did ever spend a couple of days ill in bed, there would just be more work for me when I did get better, so I might as well push on through. I’m probably not giving DH enough credit – I do know he is perfectly capable of doing everything I do. But because house/child management is not his job, it’s not instinctive, and it would probably take almost as much effort to issue guidance, instructions and reminders as to just do it myself. Perhaps I should reread ‘Mr Large in Charge’, by Jill Murphy, where Mrs Large isn’t very well and everyone muddles through, with just a few accidents…
Mind you, I fully admit that I am no great nurse myself when DH is ill. Partly because of my own full-blown martyr status, I have little truck with illness and am not terribly sympathetic, other than pointing him in the direction of the Redoxon, ibuprofen and echinacea. Last time I scoffed at his ‘man flu’, tho, I was a bit embarrassed when he was diagnosed with a full-on chest infection. The ol’ crown of thorns was a little askew that day…