If this post looks familiar to you, then you are the proud owner of a copy of “I Just Want To Pee Alone”, which features this essay. We are finally able to share it with
our loyal readersthe whole world today! And now we sit by the phone, because at any moment Oprah is totally calling us, right?
Let it be known right off the bat, we have initials that go with our full names. Lisa’s are M.D. and Ashley’s are R.N. You might think that being married to someone in the medical professional would come with certain benefits. Maybe we’re like Albert Schweitzer and Florence Nightingale all wrapped up in one, diagnosing their aliments and caring for them with compassion during their man-colds. Surely we’re consumed with keeping track of their Motrin dosing schedule and lovingly applying cool compresses to their foreheads.
You might think those things, but you would be wrong.
Because neither of us is involved in patient care on a daily basis anymore, we really enjoy functioning as private WebMDs for our friends. Our fellow moms always come to us with legitimate and normal concerns. We love to help them. But our husbands are another matter. Something about taking our marriage vows eliminated our tolerance for their whining, sniffling, and dramatic overreactions to their every ache and pain. In fact, we endlessly complain about their latest hypochondriacal maladies to each other. Daily.
Hence our conversation from last Tuesday:
Ashley: Seriously, get ready for the latest complaint from my damn husband. Keep in mind that every.single.word I am about to share with you came directly from his lips.
Lisa: Oh God, I can tell this is going to be good.
Ashley: That man looked at me last night and said, “I am really worried about my knee. It feels really spongy–YES HE SAID THAT VERY WORD– and loose around my kneecap.” I let him know that he is over 40 now and that’s going to happen. I told him to get a knee brace from Walgreens, and he’d be good to go.
Lisa: Yep. Total weekend warrior syndrome. That was good advice. Did it reassure him?
Ashley: Ha! No, not even close. He wondered if he should make an appointment with an orthopedist for a custom brace or maybe an MRI.
Lisa: Wow. Just wow.
Ashley: The best part is yet to come. The *next* thing he said to me was (and I quote), “I am really nervous it will just buckle, and I will need emergency knee surgery.”
Lisa: Bwahahaha! Oh, Lawd! What is he, a linebacker for the NFL all of the sudden? Which orthopedist do you have on retainer? I wonder if knee buckle surgery is arthroscopic or invasive?
Ashley: I wonder if it’s covered under our insurance! I assured him that I was pretty confident he was safe from a dreaded case of “the knee buckle”.
Lisa: This must be the week for joint complaints in the over 40 male population.
Ashley: Oh, do tell!
Lisa: My brave little soldier of a husband has decided that he has a raging case of tennis elbow. Except, instead of taking an ibuprofen and going on with his life like a normal person, he thinks it’s best to go around the house wincing and moaning every time he tries to pick something up. He has even taken to freezing in mid-motion and crying out in agony.
Ashley: Did you tell him to get a brace? Maybe our husbands can go together. Perhaps they can find a buy-one-get-one-free special or something.
Lisa: Oh, I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately, the over-exaggeration of his “pain” led our sweet, somewhat anxious son to decide that his father was gravely ill. Bobby was so concerned that he took me aside because he was worried his father had somehow contracted elbow cancer.
Ashley: Poor kid! Hey, wait a minute! Don’t *you* have tennis elbow from time to time?
Lisa: Why, yes…yes I do. In fact, when I tried to commiserate with my dear husband at dinner and offer tips for dealing with it, do you know what he actually said to me?
Ashley: No, but I can’t wait to find out.
Lisa: He said, “Oh, that’s right. I forgot you had tennis elbow.” Um, OF COURSE HE DID because I don’t go around complaining about it all of the time.
Ashley: I bet he felt bad then, right?
Lisa: Oh, no! In fact, he had the nerve to say, “My case must be worse than yours. You would not be able to function with pain like this.” You will be proud to know I suppressed the urge to stab him with my fork.
Ashley: Bravo, sister. You deserve a medal for that.
Don’t judge us. We are caring people.
If you had to put up with the litany of complaints we do on a daily basis, you’d become hardened to their whimpers, too. After years of cases of “malaria” that turn out to be nothing more than a zit, we feel totally justified in our penchant for dismissing their illnesses outright. We have no problem assuring our husbands they won’t catch rickets just because they spend all day in an office environment.
We are also absolutely positive they won’t contract scurvy because we callously refused to buy the imported crate of tangelos they wanted from Harry and David.
As a rule, we are always correct.
But…let’s just say that *hypothetically* there may have been a time when each of our husbands complained of a severe cough. We might have suggested they suck on a Ricola and relax. Let’s just say that they both continued to insist they were getting worse by the second and begged us to listen to their wheezy chests. Maybe we assured them they didn’t have the bubonic plague and that, while colds are indeed unpleasant, they are harmless. Let’s just say that after they each spent days lounging in bed, we sent them to the doctor so he would tell them to man up. It’s *possible* that they both *hypothetically* came home with the official diagnosis of pneumonia.
Boy, did we learn a lesson.
No, that lesson isn’t that husband coughs should be taken seriously. Have you even read a single word we’ve written?
The takeaway is that husbands who cry wolf-itis, only have themselves to blame when we tell them to take two aspirin and call us in the morning. Obviously.