Thursday, January 20, 2011

...Or I Could Just Hire a Manservant

It wasn't until after I was divorced that I realized all the things about married life that I took for granted. I'm most acutely aware of these when I'm sick. When you're married, partnered, living with someone, or even seriously dating someone, there is someone who will bring you cough drops, soup, and trashy magazines when you're not feeling well. These little things often make being sick just a little bit easier. 

Now I should make one thing clear: I am an awful patient. I whine and complain and swear that I'm dying of some previously unknown hybrid strain of Ebola-whooping cough. In short: I am not pleasant. My ex-husband put up with my antics when I was sick, generally saying things like, "I know you don't feel well. Is there anything I can do? Do you want soup? I'll go get you soup," and then coming back an hour later with a case of canned clam chowder - because you know what they say: feed a fever, drown a case of Ebola-whooping cough in canned soup. Seriously, though, he was a patient nurse who probably would have given anything for me to just feel better and quit asking him to call the CDC.

But now that I'm single, I don't have that automatic support system. I could call and beg a friend, but I'm not going to cash that chip unless I'm on my deathbed. So at times like this, when I'm feeling achy and congested and feverish (is 99.1ºF a fever? I think so), I'm suddenly aware of how much I took for granted. I can't just count on someone else to feed the cat because I don't want to get out of bed. If I don't have soup in the pantry, no one else is going out to get some for me; I'm either getting in the car and buying myself some, or going without. And no one else is going to do my laundry for me, or run to the store to get me more Sudafed, or even wander into the bedroom to ask how I'm feeling and offer to run me a bath.

I'm not saying that these are reasons not to have gotten divorced. But I do think I'm much more aware of all the things I took for granted in my former partner, both when I was sick and when I wasn't. I don't think this perspective would have changed my ultimate decision, but I do think it will be something I'll try harder to keep in mind in any future relationships. Also, I'll keep the CDC on speed dial so that when my rare case of Ebola-whooping cough flares up, I can call them myself.


lahn said...

Love this Erin! Wish I could bring you some soup, but I think I live about 2,000 miles away!

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