Men, although in many cases physically stronger than ourselves, do not seem to manage as well as we do when ill. This is not just one writers opinion, on researching the subject I find there have been actual studies conducted on the subject. Even as a child, my son would take to his bed over a hangnail and moan and groan as if I’d covered him in honey and set him on a nest of fire ants. Perhaps this is why we ladies were chosen to bear children. From what I’ve seen that first strong labor pain shuddering through a man’s body might have signaled the extinction of the human race.
At around twelve, my son and his best friend, Rob, apparently lacking in anything of consequence to do on a beautiful summer afternoon, came to the bright idea of playing what they referred to later as “roof football”. Do not try this at home. The rules, it seemed, involved one ball and two players. One player positioned himself on a roof and the other on the ground. The player on the ground threw the ball upward with the other player attempting to catch it and visa versa. Pretty basic. Certainly no urgent need to patent this idea before someone snapped it up and ran with it. Having had his turn on the ground, my son climbed the ladder set out for such a purpose and took his place on the roof. Ball into play, he ran back for the pass. Unfortunately, he did not take into account the restrictions of his playing field. Although completing the pass, he sailed off the edge of the roof landing spread eagle in a bed of rose bushes. The good news was the bushes broke his fall, resulting in only a sprained ankle. The bad news was they were, in fact, rose bushes, and he was completely covered with scratches and thorns.
An eight-hour emergency room visit and a down payment on a Maserati later, I took my wounded player home to recover. On the drive home we had a brief discussion on the soundness of playing football on a surface with a two-story drop on all sides. Obviously I did not have his full attention, as several months later he had sixteen stitches in the front of his head after diving in the shallow end of the pool with both hands behind his back. In case you are wondering, the answer is no. No, I did not drop him on his head as an infant. We choose rather to think of him as having an adventurous spirit. Instructions from the doctor involved rest, medication, regular icing, and an ace bandage to keep the swelling down. Working full-time, this necessitated my taking a few days vacation to nurse him back to health. Lying prone on the couch his young face was contorted in a constant grimace of pain. I waited on him hand and, well, foot. A bell was provided for my patient’s use to summon his nursing staff. Put into use so frequently, it’s clanger blessedly finally fell off in protest. “Mom”, became the dreaded word of the day, it was spoken so often.
Too weak apparently to use his words, but strong enough to push the numbers on the remote, we passed the days together. Getting him settled in the morning on the couch I would inquire as to his breakfast order. With a look as though his last breath was surely lurking around the next corner, “I’m not hungry”, came the whispered answer.
“Not even a piece of toast?”, says I.
“Well, maybe I could eat a bite of toast…. with a little butter and jelly. Oh…. and could I have a couple of poached eggs on top of the the toast to keep up my strength?” Sigh and muffled cough.
Sigh, again (that would be me).
“Bacon or sausage?”
“Could I have both?”
To this day my son still calls when down with the flu or ill, and I can almost hear that little bell clanging away in the background.
The men I married were worse. A cold required full bed rest, treats from the store, heating pads, and possibly traction. My second husband suffered from hypochondria. If someone at work got sick, by the time he got home he could be found shoving vitamin tablets in his mouth with the same enthusiasm a chubby theatergoer might approach a tub of double buttered popcorn. Reviews of his throat via flashlight were conducted at regular intervals to ensure nothing had grown there since the last look a half an hour before. God forbid I got sick. Conversations were engaged from behind a handkerchief held over his mouth. I was repeatedly bombarded with a heavy mist of disinfectant spray and food was shoved along the floor from across the room as though I was under the protection of Father Damien. Once he had minor surgery to remove a small growth on his knee, totally benign. The doctor instructed him to watch for infection and apply salve and he would be back at work the following week. So intense were the precautions put in place to protect against germs once he was home, I could have been asked to gown up and report to surgery without having to wash up.
The funny part about this phenomenon is that when I was sick, even after major surgery, somebody was still needed to man the pots in the kitchen. The general assumption, if I remember correctly, was that it would be me . While I was up why not toss in a load of whites and clean the toilet? After all, once the anesthesia wore off what was I going to do with all that spare time?
This comes up because I have a friend nursing her husband back from recent surgery. It was not a fun surgery, but as yet I haven’t heard of one where people are fighting for position in line to have the procedure. Apparently he has been such a bad patient she is considering performing a follow-up procedure of her own to suture his lips together. Bringing him home after a three day stint in the hospital, his moaning became so pronounced the neighbors dog commenced howling to commiserate and his owner stopped by to make sure they weren’t being attacked by a band of mutant marauders.
Fortunately all is well in our house today as the move progresses. It has been nice to have taken a few days off for the holiday weekend as my body was giving me a harsh talking to for asking it to do things normally not required of it.
This salad is simply yummy. I could make a meal of it.
Fattoush (Mediterranean) Salad
2 cups romaine lettuce, torn
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large English cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 large red onion, sliced thin and quartered
1/2 large green pepper, sliced thin and quartered
1 small jar of artichoke hearts packed in oil, quartered
1/4 cup garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
Pita chips (recipe below)
Mix together all salad ingredients in large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2 pita bread rounds, cut into 1″ squares
olive oil for frying
Heat 1/2″ of oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Cook squares in batches avoiding overcrowding until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
2 tsp. dried mint
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Mix all ingredients together in food processor. Process until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hr. before serving.
To assemble salad, just prior to serving toss mixed greens with pita chips and dressing.