Monday, March 15, 2010
It’s been four and a half weeks since my husband broke his ankle. It will be another few days until he can put weight on it, use a walking cast. After that, another several weeks until he can walk on his own. Until then, I will continue to minister to him as I have been since mid-February.
Oddly enough, I hadn’t really expected his accident to affect my life to the degree it has. I worried deeply about his pain management those first few post-op days. I hate seeing people in pain; I hate feeling helpless around another person’s suffering. But once those days had passed, I thought it would be business as usual.
Early on, maybe the third day we were home from the hospital, he said something to me like, “So. Don’t you appreciate everything I do around here, now?”
At the time, I said, “Yes. Yes, I do.” But what I was really thinking was, “What on earth are you talking about? I did everything before and I’m doing everything now.”
At the time, I was feeling like his contributions were minimal. He waters the plants. He puts the garbage cans out on the curb. Sometimes, he folds some laundry, empties a dishwasher. The kids can pick up the slack on that, I thought. I won’t even notice the difference.
My head is still reeling from the stupidity of that thought. Having a man down is all consuming – like having an infant again, except without the nine months you have to mentally prepare. In a typical blogpost, it is here that I might start giving examples of all the extra things I have to do. But I won’t now. Because it’s too humiliating for me to list things that other women do regularly (like buy food and prepare meals for their husbands) which, to me, falls into the category of martyred service. I know it’s no big deal to have to change light bulbs. All I’m saying is, that’s not something I usually do.
And there are about a hundred things like that, little and big, that I now do all day, every day. They’re not difficult, and each one in and of itself, is not time consuming. But they all add up to the colossal contribution that my husband typically makes to the household – a contribution that I, for the most part, have taken for granted.
It didn’t take me an entire month to come to this conclusion. But it did take me a while to stop feeling sorry enough for myself in order to be able to write about it. To figure out how to manage his chores and responsibilities enough to find the time to write at all.