May 30, 2019

For Better or for Worse

I'd been awake for 2 hours and no breakfast. I took a shower, but the movement of my arm caused a great deal of pain. It's not going away. I'm dying.

I call out: "Can you please get me some breakfast?"

He comes in the room right away.

"Oh yes, what do you want?"
"Rice Crispies and a banana."

He brings me a bowl of Rice Crispies with milk, and a banana, unpeeled. He knows I can't use my left arm without searing pain. Will the banana strip itself?

"I can't peel the banana. Can you peel it, and slice it, and put it in the cereal?"

He takes it all away and a few minutes later brings me a bowl of Rice Crispies and skim milk, with a sliced banana in the cereal. 

After he walks away, I notice that the spoon isn't the right size. It's a large spoon, not a teaspoon. Who eats cereal with a jumbo spoon?

I call out: "Can you please get me a teaspoon? I can't eat cereal with a large spoon."

He brings me the teaspoon, but doesn't stay long enough to take away the large spoon. It's like he's running away from me. Am I supposed to eat the cereal with a huge spoon sitting there alongside the banana?

I call out: "Can you take away this spoon?"

He comes back and takes away the spoon.

I eat my cereal. It tastes good.

I get up, slowly. My laptop is in the way. I've got an empty bowl in my right hand and my laptop in my left. Searing pain hits my left shoulder area. I shouldn't be carrying this laptop, but I don't want to sit there with a laptop on my lap, and an empty cereal bowl sitting on my lap.

I finish getting up, and the remote control bangs to the wood floor. My phone follows. The blanket is in the way. I move slowly, trying to avoid tripping on the blanket and briefly wonder if my phone is broken.

I walk the one step to the bed and put my laptop on the bed. I carry the empty cereal bowl and spoon to the kitchen, place it on the counter, and walk back. I pick up the unbroken phone and the remote control and get back in the recliner. The pain is excruciating.

He comes back in.

"Do you want your laptop?"


As he hands me my laptop, he says "I'm making veggie chili tonight. Do you want cornbread or biscuits with it?"

We have a freezer full of food. Why is he cooking something else? What I really want is macaroni and cheese with a side of mashed potatoes. Any maybe some bacon sprinkled on top of all of it. I don't want healthy. For a brief moment I just want to be alone. It's not my job to figure out what we will be eating tonight. Just leave me alone.

"We have a freezer full of food. Why make anything else?"

"I want something healthy. We haven't been eating all that great lately."

So now it's my fault. It's my fault that I have a genetic heart disease. It's my fault that the coil in my heart moved and I had to have another surgery to fix the defibrillator -- the device that scares the hell out of me. It's my fault that you asked for hot dogs and tater tots, with a chaser of potato chips, the night before the surgery. It's my fault that you have no idea that cornbread or biscuits are not healthy. They are going to kill you anyway, so you might as well have real chili with real meat with real fat that will clog your real arteries.

I decide to take the high road: "You are doing all the work. Whomever cooks gets to decide what to cook."

"But figuring out what to eat is the hardest part."

Welcome to my world, buddy. I have to figure out what we eat every day. Now it's your turn. Deal with it. I'd been home from the hospital less than 2 hours when I got a bill from the hospital. And the bill is wrong. Despite my pain, I sent off a message to billing and explained why it was wrong. This morning the hospital wrote back. I was right. The bill is gone. There's $48.35 that I earned while in pain and fear. I'm handling everything. You can handle the life changing issue of biscuits or cornbread. And while I'm at it, no one eats chili with biscuits. That's just wrong.

As he leaves to go the grocery store, I call out: "Can you bring me back a frappuccino? With whipped cream?"


I can hear it in the "OK." I know what you are thinking. I need whipped cream like I need a heart attack. I don't care. I don't have clogged arteries and even if I did, I just don't care. Not today. I'll care tomorrow. Or the day after. Or Monday. Monday is a great day to start caring. I want what I want. I deserve whipped cream this morning.


He walks away. I love him so much.


I woke up around 4. I noticed she'd been awake on and off all night. She'd pick up her phone for a second to check the time and, even though she slept in the recliner, the light bothered me. I couldn't get back to sleep. I'm tired and the sun isn't up.

I want to go for a run this morning, before the guy shows up to work on our insulation issues, but I put off the run. I know she'll need me around to help, and I want to go to the grocery store soon. She filled up the freezer with food prior to the surgery, but the stress of another surgery had both of us eating poorly. I need some healthy food. And so does she.

Hmm. She's taking a shower. She must be feeling better. I'm so relieved. I hate seeing her in pain. I'm so worried that she's going to die on me and then.. . Forget it. I can't go there.

Finally finished upgrading our wi-fi so she can watch Netflix. She can't do much else, so this is the one thing I can do to really help.

I hear her calling out. I get up quickly to see what she wants.

"I'm hungry. I want breakfast. Please."

She has politics on. I can't be in the room when she does that. She knows it drives me crazy. But it's on and I don't say anything.

"What do you want?"

She sits there silent for a moment. Then: "Rice Crispies. And can I have a banana too?"


I bring her a bowl of Rice Crispies, with skim milk and a banana. Exactly like she said.

"Can you peel the banana?"

"Ok, do you want it on the side or in the cereal?"

"In the cereal. You know, I have a banana in my cereal all the time now. Remember, I said I really liked a banana with Rice Crispies, so I stopped buying Cheerios and started eating Rice Crispies with a sliced banana in the bowl? I mean I've been eating that every morning for the past 2 weeks? Didn't you notice?"

Must have missed that breaking news. I think it was drowned out by the sound of politics...

I take it all away and a few minutes later bring her a bowl of Rice Crispies and skim milk, with a sliced banana in the bowl.

After I walk away, I hear: "Can you please get me a teaspoon? I can't eat cereal with a large spoon."

I bring her a teaspoon. What do you do with the large one if you don't eat cereal with it? I eat my non fat yogurt with raisins with it all the time. Now that's a good breakfast. I think cereal is junk.

She calls out: "Can you take away this spoon?"

I walk back and take away the spoon. The large spoon. The spoon for which there is no obvious purpose in life.

I come back in.

"Do you want your laptop?"


I want to help. As I hand her the laptop, I say: "I'm making veggie chili tonight. Do you want cornbread or biscuits with it?"

"We have a freezer full of food. Why make something else?"

I'm not having lasagna or any of the other stuff in the freezer. I want something that isn't going to kill me. Or her. For a brief moment I just want to be alone. I want to go for a run, by myself. I want to go to Starbucks, sip a hot black coffee, and read my book. Alone. I don't want Netflix. I want music. I don't want to give her those pills or make dinner or slice a banana or get the small spoon or be here for the insulation guy. I want to get in my car and just keep on driving.

So I say, "We've had a lot of heavy food lately. I want something healthy. It would be good for both of us."

As soon as I say it, I know it was the wrong thing to say.

She tells me to figure it out myself, but as I leave, she calls out: "Can I have a frappuccino? With whipped cream?"


"Thanks, Mikey. I love you."

"I love you too."

I love her so much.


MOOD WHEN DONE: Grateful for the best husband in the world. I'll be back in a couple of weeks (maybe sooner?) with stamping!! 


Anonymous said...

omg i don't know whether to laugh or cry. hope you recover soon.

Diane McVey said...

This is priceless, Joan. I feel your pain and frustration, and your love for him. Life can be so conflicting, especially when we don’t feel well. I feel like I was in the room with you both, watching this play out. You are an amazing writer. I wish you better days, no pain, and complete healing. And good food, I wish for you macaroni and potatoes. If I were closer I would make you some real comfort food! I hope the Frappuccino was yummy. Big hugs to you, please heal quickly.

Cat Craig said...

Sending healing thoughts along.

judkajudi said...

Oh, Joan! Been there, done that! If you don't laugh, you will cry. I wish you rapid healing. And by the way, I eat cereal and soup with the big spoon, applesauce and pudding with the smaller spoon. Bless our spouses that have had to figure out how to do what we have done for so long …. especially that darned meal planning!! Hugs!!

Tammy said...

I LOVE THIS! This is real life, blessings for a quick and complete healing.

maria f. said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can get your own damn spoon! ♥

Jill said...

So true in so many ways. Hoping you are feeling better as soon as possible. BIGGEST hugs to you!

conil said...

This all sounds very familiar but the roles are reversed. Just bope you enjoyed yohr frappuccino. Sending bunches of healing thoughts.

Leslie Miller said...

These times are tough. I'm glad you see it from both sides. Got some scary news about Rich this morning. I love him so much. Heal well and quickly, Joan.

MyLittleBlueDog said...

I'm so sorry for all the pain you've been through over the last couple of years. I think you've been extraordinarily unlucky but also at the same time very very lucky. I admit I am totally crazy with a comment like that, but it is all in the way you look at it isn't it? I have to say I hate to be in the position of having a partner try to cope... mine just doesn't cope at all well if I am not doing all the thinking and planning. I agree and think to myself the same thought "welcome to my life" I hate having the job of thinking what to eat, making it, washing up afterwards. Things could be worse though. I think you are very brave and strong, you will come through this. Don't let the politics drive you mad!

~amy~ said...

Oh Joan, thinking of you both. I chuckled about the large spoon vs teaspoon...I always use a large spoon :)

Joan B said...

you are right. it is never lucky to get sick, but at my age most folks have something! However, I am very very lucky and very aware of it.

JanTink said...

I have lived this,both with pregnancies and with the thyroid surgeries with the cancer. It's really hard to swap places. My husband doesn't cook much more than scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, and grilled stuff. He would always try though. He would always clean the whole house when I was in the hospital so I didn't have to come home to a messy house. His attempts at cooking were mostly less than stellar, but he did try. He cooked when I was on bed rest with my oldest's pregnancy. That was my high-risk pregnancy with preterm labor and diabetes, along with the extra bonus round of my body deciding that some foods were poison and rejecting them. The taste, the texture, the smell, the way it looked would set something off in my brain, and my body would immediately make me retch it up. I learned to feel when it was about to happen and stop eating whatever it was before it all came back up. My husband didn't quite believe me either. He was frustrated during our vacation in San Diego when I would reject the expensive food we were eating. All up until the day, when I was on bed rest and couldn't stand up to cook, he made us hamburgers on the grill. He made them too thick. I knew when I bit into it that I wouldn't be able to eat it, but he really worked hard to give me a meal that was good for me and had the right things for blood sugar control. I tried to eat it, and the inevitable happened. He believed me after that. I love how even when we want to be alone, we just deal with it, and love each other all the more. Blessings!

Vikki H said...

Still giggling. Here's to more frappuccinos and a swift recovery!

Kathy D said...

Joan, this is raw and familiar and funny (not necessarily when it is going on, I am sure!) - thanks for sharing. #teamsmallspoon #teamcornbread #politicalTVisspouserepellent

Karen Dunbrook said...

Take care has thrown you a real curve ball.
xx Karen

Nance in Reno said...

Joan, it's lousy to feel lousy. Glad both you and Mike have the ability to see each other's point of view. After 32 years of marriage, I learned "sometimes you can be right or you can be happy. Pick one." Wish I had figured that out 25 years ago! Like you, I am married to a wonderful man who is patient and kind but who sometimes doesn't read my mind! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Andrea Hastilow said...

Oh I'm in exactly the same place currently, recovering after a long 4 hr plus operation to remove my gall bladder that should have taken an hour & half & been straight forward. My partner is putting up with so much, I can't thank them & my family enough. Hope your recovery goes quickly & you are up stamping again soon, take care, paper hugs x

vdoyle8 said...

I have been there also. I pray for a speedy recovery so you can get the correct breakfast without asking .

Ginger said...

So very glad the surgery is over and you are in the recovery phase. Remember it is just a phase. It is difficult for you both. My recommendation is Subaru commercials with the Barkleys(dogs) and Carol Burnett skits. Both of these can be found on YouTube. Praying for a quick recovery.

I Card Everyone said...

life has lumps … it's a blessing to have someone nice to fluff them for us.
take care, JB.

Marie said...

Get well SOON Joan. And cut out the politics. That would be enough to make for a gloomy day. LOL

katrynka said...

I hope that by the time you are reading this that the pain has decreased considerably. It's funny the habits or preferences we develop! I personally like a big spoon...with a bit more rounded bowl...sort of between a conventional tablespoon and a soup spoon!

Julie Ebersole said...

I'm at a loss for words, except to say how much this post has touched me . . . and reminded me of how lucky I am to have someone who'd go to the ends of the earth for me, too. ❤️