Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I Have Terrible Bedside Manner (AKA How to Take Care of Your Sick Husband)

So... basically I’ve been accused of being a robot sometimes. Like, by my own husband, my mother, my brother... It’s because I think my emotion chip got short-circuited when God made me and I ended up with the empathy level of a rock.

Because of this personality trait of mine, one of my “areas of improvement” in our marriage is having a better bedside manner when my husband gets a man cold, uh I mean, is legitimately sick. He grew up with a nurse for a mom, so she’s, like, the ultimate loving, caring mother and I’m definitely not built like that.

So this is what happens when Mr. Gamer is feeling under the weather. I say (in a robotic voice):
  1. What’s wrong?
  2. Do you require medication?
  3. Let me get you said medication.
  4. Is there anything else you need?
Boom, problem solved! I mean, from my standpoint, he’s a grown adult, he knows how bad he feels, and he can call the doctor if he needs immediate medical attention, right?

pain scale

On the flip side, when I’m sick, I do the following:
  1. I inform my husband, “I’m sick with xyz.”
  2. Then I drink lots of fluids, get more sleep, and feed myself medication as needed.
  3. If I need help, I say “Mr. Gamer, I require assistance in this manner” (e.g., “please make dinner tonight”).
  4. Finally, I do whatever it takes to get well as soon as possible since my family needs me.
As you can probably tell, this low level of compassion and empathy doesn’t really fly well with my husband, and it’s been a longtime complaint in our marriage. Thankfully I got together with my amazing friend Alyssa, who is like the sweetest, most considerate woman I know, and she ran me through her response to a man cold, I mean, real illness:
  1. First she tells him “I don’t want you to do anything but rest and recover.” That means she volunteers to do all the chores while he’s sick.
  2. She brings him water or hot lemon ginger tea.
  3. She makes him ramen or congee rice porridge, which is like the Asian version of chicken noodle soup.
  4. She says caring things like “Are you comfortable? Is there anything you want? Maybe you should take a nap.”
tea for a sore throat

Holy cow… Mind. Blown. My husband has always said generic things like “bedside manner” and “compassion,” but I don’t think I really understood what that meant until someone spelled it out for me. I know this is probably super obvious to most of you, but I’m like, “YES! Thank you, Lord Jesus!” And I’m even more excited for Mr. Gamer because now he’s in for a real treat the next time he’s feeling under the weather.

Question of the Day

What are your best tips for taking care of a sick spouse? Comment below with your experiences because I’d love to hear them. And if you know someone who needs a little help in the “bedside manner” department, definitely share this article with them.

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