Ever since Supersoldier became a physician assistant five years ago, I’ve had this romanticized vision in my head of what it would look like to have my own personal P.A. to take care of me.
He’s only ever been on the same continent twice when I’ve been really sick, and one of those times, he was lying on the ground, sharing the puke bucket beside me. (Talk about romance.)
So when I came down with the no-joke flu last week, I was super bummed to cancel my plans for the week and even MORE bummed to reschedule a weekend trip to meet my new niece in Seattle. (Babies and influenza don’t mix.)
But, even as the cough, sore throat, sweats, chills, head ache, body ache and fever began to set in, a tiny part of me was kind of excited.
This is it, I thought. The first time Supersoldier’s been home when I’ve been really sick! How blessed am I to have influenza with a personal P.A. by my side?! This is going to be SO romantic … sexy, even!
But there, lying on my couch dressed in two t-shirts, one sweatshirt, two blankets and a hot pad, with a head and throat that felt on fire but a body that couldn’t get warm, coughing until I vomited and aching in places I didn’t know existed, I remembered.
I didn’t have a personal P.A.
I had a military P.A.
A P.A. whose job over the years has been to send soldiers back to formation following sick call.
A P.A. who has seen literal life and death situations in the field on a regular basis.
A P.A. who has treated patients who, as they were nearly bleeding to death, simply gave themselves tourniquets and returned to battle until the job was done and there was time for something as luxurious as medical care.
And a P.A. who himself has been sicker than a dog during deployment … and still pulled himself together enough to save lives and provide medical care for others.
That P.A. … trying to care for someone who claims she’s dying from her place under a pile of blankets and a mound of tissues with a television blaring in the background of a non-combat zone.
Right. Definitely going to be a win for Michelle.
So while Supersoldier rocked out dishes, laundry, boy bedtimes and packed lunches all week — while he took care of every logistical aspect of running our home and even completed that week’s adoption paperwork like a champ — he tried really hard to take care of this miserable girl who felt like death warmed over for the first four days of her six-day flu.
By asking how many compresses I wanted, how many ounces of liquid he wanted me to pour, if I needed another blanket, if I wanted anything to eat. When I was up coughing all night, he would occasionally lean over and ask, “Are you okay?”
To which I would respond, “No, I’m dying,” and he would respond, “Okay, just checking. Just let me know if there’s anything I can do,” roll over and go back to bed.
Mental note: Remind future military spouses that if they want to be petted, coddled and spoken to in a sing-songy voice while being cared for by someone with medical experience during illnesses, they shouldn’t marry military P.A.s. They should marry military VETERINARIANS.
Don’t get me wrong. This man asked all the right questions. He helped in all the right ways.
It’s just that he sounded more like a robot trained to ask all the right questions than a human nursing his wife back to health.
He kind of reminded me of Baymax, the personal healthcare companion from Big Hero 6, only without the big fluffy arms and the programmed charm to his voice. ;)
Let’s face it — when your compassion competitors are soldiers who have won the Medal of Honor for savings lives with dangling limbs in battle, you and your flu lose every time.
Stinking brave men and women of the United States military … ruining it for the rest of us pansies on the homefront. ;)
At least, I thought, if I can’t use my P.A. for his sick day tenderness and influenza compassion, I can use him for his meds.
So, hacking, aching, shaking and freezing one night, I half-stumbled, half-crawled into the kitchen, where Supersoldier keeps his magic tool box. (It is a LITERAL toolbox … because a normal First Aid kit could not hold the junk this man brings home.)
As I stepped down from the ladder and pried open the magic box I hoped would cure me, I was overwhelmed by my choices.
We had tourniquets. We had suture kits. We had splints, wraps, needles and medical bandages. We even had meds that would cure rare diseases in the case of the apocalypse.
But of cough syrup and decongestants we had none.
Because those were clearly less likely events than bleeding out to take place in our home.
With no homemade chicken soup and no man rocking me back and forth while he rubbed my back and heated my blankets in the dryer (I am really low maintenance), and now, not even some cough syrup to calm the hacking that wasn’t allowing me to sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time, I was desperate.
So at midnight, I busted out all the big guns — every trick in my “When the Boys Get Sick” book.
By the time Supersoldier left for work at 4 a.m. the next day, I was lying in the family room in one big puddle of essential oils, diffusing Thieves, sipping Bragg’s, eating honey and turmeric paste and gnawing on raw garlic like a rabid animal. My eyes were bloodshot after a night of no sleep, and my hacking only came to momentary pauses between sips of the Throat Coat I’d found at the back of the tea jar.
“What kind of voodoo did you do while I was sleeping?!” he asked, laughing hysterically.
“What kind of P.A. doesn’t have cough syrup and Sudafed?!” I asked, hacking.
Supersoldier, still laughing, helped me up, covered me in a blanket and flashed that trademark smile that made me fall in love with him. And then he filled my cup with ginger ale, warmed my heating pad, packed the boys’ lunch and told me he loved me before he left for work to serve as a P.A. to people who likely whined less and smelled less like pizza than me.
And as he left for work that day, I thanked God for a man who might not sing “Soft Kitty” or play with my hair for 72 hours of sickness, but who always gives me exactly what I need.
Including the space to grow just a little bit … and a blog entry for Military Monday. ;)