A few months ago my husband was complaining about some heartburn or something (I don’t know–I assumed he was whining about some man-cold and ignored it on principle). Later on though, he woke me up in the middle of the night, notifying me that he was driving himself to the emergency room. I drowsily asked about his condition as seriously as I could muster given 1) it was like 3AM 2) I figured he was being dramatic and 3) it had already been a long weekend of listening to three kids’ whining and 4) Momma needs her sleep.
A couple hours later, I notified his mom who came over to stay with the kids so I could go up to the hospital. I arrived just in time for the sonographer and the doctor to confirm their suspicions: gall stones. They would have to surgically remove his gallbladder, but they didn’t perform surgeries on the weekend unless they were emergencies. Based on the location of the stones, the surgery could wait until the next day.
Which meant my husband got to stay. In a hospital. In a bed. Fully monitored and attended to by caring staff. For at least one night.
My jealousy was instantaneous and immense.
As far as I was concerned, he had hit the surgery jackpot:
- Minimally-invasive? Check
- Relatively pain-free? Check–in fact, it relieved his pain almost immediately!
- Not critical? Check
Meanwhile, I returned home to the regular Sunday mayhem: my perfectionist six-year-old insisted on still going to church, so I got him ready and contacted a friend to see if he could sit with them; my five- and two-year-olds helped me to prepare our meal for the Supper Club swap; and I ran up to the high school to get substitute instructions prepped for my husband, who medically would not be allowed to work for a week. A WEEK!
I was running all over town to prepare for the upcoming work week while my husband, now pain-free thanks to hospital-grade drugs, was napping peacefully in an adjustable bed with television and nurse access at the touch of a button. I had to check a mirror to see if I had begun turning green yet. (I mean, sure, he was suffering through a liquid diet, but think of the benefits of that temporary diet I could have reaped!)
I was already exhausted by the time I brought the fed-and-freshly-bathed kids to see him that afternoon. While the kids were clamoring over him for a bedtime story from the hospital bed, I realized how much harder parenting is when he’s not around to help. But the guy was living my fantasy: a few days off in a restful environment while those who take you for granted come to appreciate all you have to offer!
As difficult as those couple of days were (not for him–this is about me!), they were nothing compared to having him home, where he was fully entitled to rest on the couch all evening. You know what’s frustrating? Parenting alone. You know what’s infuriating? Parenting alone in the presence of another grown adult who is out of commission.
I’m not saying I want to have a surgery (eww, IV’s!)–I am saying I wouldn’t mind a retreat where my every need is anticipated and taken care of followed by a week off of work so I can rest up. Only this time without postpartum pain.