In sickness and in health, and you better not be faking it

Burt's Eye View

I’m positive my wife violated a wedding vow. It’s that one about pampering me in sickness and health.

“The word ‘pampering’ wasn’t there,” Terry claims.

All that vow requires, according to her opinion, is to love me even when I’m not faking the 24-hour bubonic plague to get out of yard work.

When I am sick, Terry offers me ibuprofen and the occasional backrub — and far more vitamins, vegetables, apple cider vinegar and Vicks VapoRub than necessary in one sitting. But she figures I can change my own channel, spoon my own chicken noodle soup and blow my own nose.

She also says the vows say nothing about putting up with “whining.” (I was not whining. I factually stated my symptoms to assist her with an accurate diagnosis, then repeated them two or three or 67 times just to make sure she heard it correctly. I cannot overstate the importance of accuracy.)

Maybe she adhered to the letter of the vow, but I contend that she ignored the spirit of the marital promise.

It’s a common problem we husbands face. I’ve heard chilling horror stories about how insensitive wives are when we guys share war stories about those maddening hangnails, sore thumbs from the remote control and the dull aches from diving under the bed when she wants us to go shopping.

But do our wives care? No.

This despite the fact we try to uphold our end of the wedding promises no matter how irrational they behave when they think something’s bothering them.

For example, when Terry conks out with flu, famine, pestilence or a temperature of 104, I let her know that I can wait a few minutes on supper. I might even be helpful and fix it myself.

When I gently shake her awake to ask if the chicken I excavated from the back of the refrigerator should be reheated at 250 or 450 degrees, she tends to grow quite testy.

For a woman who claims to be that sick, she can get quite a bit of velocity on a microwave when flinging it at me.

But afterward, when I sneeze, Terry pays no attention. She’d rather keep sorting that 37th load of laundry that stacked up while she lounged in the sick bed than to run to the living room to check on my well-being.

“The tissue box is right beside you,” she bellows. “Stop using your sleeves.”

I have actually heard wives claim that husbands are just big babies who’d shrivel up if they ever have to deal with real pain. This is where they bring up that whole childbirth thing again.

Hey, they’ve obviously never had a sliver of wood from a garage project embedded in their palm. Now there’s some pain, let me tell you. But I dealt with it just fine. I followed her around the house, repeating, ”Make it stop hurting. Make it stop!” — for accuracy of diagnosis — until she finally set aside the fire extinguisher (I guess it’s not 450 degrees to reheat a chicken) and drove me to the emergency room.

And I resented the woman doctor who, after she extracted that damaging hunk of wood, pressed a Snoopy bandage over my wound, patted my head and gave me a sucker. “They never stop being little boys,” she whispered to my wife.

I bet that doctor’s husband never admits it to her if he’s sick. He’s too busy checking the vows.

— Whine a little with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at www.burtonwcole.com.


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