Three years ago, my husband complained of intense abdominal pain. We rushed to the ER, where he was diagnosed with appendicitis. The doctor immediately wheeled him into surgery, and Tom emerged shortly thereafter, feeling much better and bearing a tiny laporoscopic scar. Laporoscopic surgery is also known as minimally invasive surgery, and involves the surgeon fixing what’s wrong with a tiny incision and a pair of chopsticks.
Tom’s resulting scar was about the size of a dime. When he was wheeled out of the operating room, I felt the rush of relieved, overwhelming emotion that you feel only when someone you love wakes safely from anesthesia. That love shriveled up like a raisin as soon as he opened his mouth, though. Because, when I leaned in to smooth the hair off his brow and ask Tom how he felt, this was his reply: “Well, I feel ok, I guess. You know how it feels, because it’s probably a lot like when you had your c-section.”
I hate speaking in generalities, especially gender-related ones. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that only a man would compare a laporoscopic appendectomy with a c-section, where a doctor slices open your lower abdomen to extract (in my case) a stubborn ten-pound baby. My c-section scar is six inches long–but who’s counting–and constantly threatens to pop out of my bikini bottoms. His appendectomy scar is barely visible to the naked eye and is grown over with hair in any event. I’m not saying men are weaker, by any means. But I AM saying that only a man might proclaim that he’s staying in bed because he feels “sniffly” and has “a huge canker sore” in his mouth. I may know a man who actually said that to me last Friday, or I may not. You decide.
I’ve taken an informal poll of my girlfriends, and it appears that I am not alone in living with a guy who immediately turns into a 3-year old as soon as the first symptoms of a cold appear. In my instance, Tom’s preferred method of dealing with illness is to chug a gallon of Theraflu, reject all food by dramatically recoiling from it, and then shuffle aimlessly around the house in his pajamas, looking lost and pathetic. Since he happens to have started eating healthier a few months ago, I now have the added pleasure of hearing him repeatedly mutter to himself, “Why am I still getting sick?? I drink so many smoothies.”
It’s going to be a long winter.