Friday, January 17, 2014

When Your Husband is Injured: An Ode to Florence Nightingale, Everyday Women and Overdue Ephiphanies

So the Hubby and I have been trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle.  What that's equated to thus far is a lot of green smoothies, no fast food, healthy home-cooked meals and daily exercise.  Two weeks into the new year and we were feeling pretty good about things.  Our favorite healthy activity has included our daily walks and runs at Kakaako Waterfront Park. What's not to love there? I mean besides the cat colony and tents. There's big green hills, great walking and bike paths, stunning ocean views and gorgeous sunsets. I walk Snoop while Hubby runs the hills and we all get some fresh air.

A couple of days ago, we're following our routine and I'm walking to meet him on the hill he likes to workout on. I don't see him anywhere and as I'm looking, he calls me up. "I'm behind you, hon, I injured myself."  Worried, I find him and he proceeds to tell me that as he was sprinting up a hill for the fourth time, he heard a loud "pop" in his left calf, felt immediate pain and had to sit down. He tried to walk it off but it was really sore. Images of torn tendons fill my head and I try to assist him as he limps toward the van. "I got this," he says, brushing off my attempts to help him walk. Macho.

Of course, Mr. Man refuses to go to the hospital, so I urge him to seek 'medical advice' via the internet and he reads the acronym, "R.I.C.E."-Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevate. So RICE it is-at home, I grab the ice bag, some pillows for his leg and situate my 'patient' on the couch. He waives off my offers of pain killers and insists that it's not a big deal.  As the evening progresses, so does the pain and we know it won't just go away. "I'm taking you to the doctor tomorrow!", I insist. I will do it even if I have to drag his prideful self there.

The next morning finds me up way before my normal awake time because now I have to be the chauffeur, not only to my son (who Hubby usually takes to school) but Hubby's client, who needs a ride from Kalihi all the way to Mililani by 8am! Geez. I call in sick to work, shuttle my child and Hubby's client to their destinations, take my in-laws to their doctor's appointments and return home to take care of my invalid partner. I proceed to clean the dishes, make lunch, do laundry and prep for dinner. Then I'm off to pick up my in-laws, work out at the gym, pick up the client in Mililani, pick up my son and take Hubby to the orthopedic specialist.

Doc takes a look at it and thank goodness it's not an Achilles injury (whew!), but it is a torn calf muscle and he'll need therapy (serious?!?) and lots of rest. He's using crutches now (incidentally, the crutches in the storehouse that he was emphatic about tossing out not a month ago, to which I replied, "What if we need it one day?" and he asked, "Who's gonna use it?". Gee, I really hate to have been right on this point. After the doctor's, I drive to Costco (did I mention that I don't really like driving very much?), go shopping by myself, load up the groceries in the car alone (although Hubby did try to assist), and carried them into the house (again, he tried to help and dropped the almond milk and almost tumbled down the stairs). "Don't try to help when you're lame!", I exclaim. I put them away and started dinner while helping Sonny with homework and checking on my patient. I get the feeling that Hubby is enjoying this energetic, attentive and domesticated version of his wife.

During the course of the evening, I had to keep catching myself every time I wanted to yell out, "Hon, can you bring in the clothes in from the dryer?", "Hon, can you take Snoop out to go bathroom?". Of course, I called on my son to do those things, instead, but I digress. Then it hit me, and I said to myself, "Delia, your Hubby does A LOT around here everyday!".  Because of his flexible work schedule, he takes my son and in-laws around and me to work, he does the shopping while I text him a list of what I need from the store. He makes dinner almost every night and usually cleans and does laundry during the day. And he drives EVERYWHERE. Wow, it sucked to do everything myself. I mean, this Nurse Nightingale and Domestic Goddess thing was wearing on my nerves. Don't get me wrong, I work and do my share of cleaning and laundry and help my son with homework but there's a ton of stuff my Hubby does that I guess I take for granted.

I explained this epiphany to my bestie over the phone and I asked, "Is this typical of most men?" or, dare I say it, "Am I spoiled?". Her reply: "Uh, no this is NOT typical and yes, you are spoiled. Let me just say that what you described is typical of what most WOMEN do every day, at least all the women I know. You are VERY lucky."

How could I be so blind? I mean, I knew my Hubby rocked in the domestic skills department but I didn't think what he did was atypical, don't all husbands and partners do this for their wives-shouldn't they? Apparently not.  It took my Hubby getting injured for me to realize this and I felt both grateful and guilty at the same time. Maybe I should do more? After 21 years, surely this man knew and understand who he had married and committed to as his eternal companion and accepted me, right?

As I tucked him into bed and checked that he had water beside him and his blankets and pillows in place, he thanked me for taking care of him and being his nurse, to which I smiled and in my typical, automatic, wise-crack, thats-so-Delia fashion I responded, "Sure thing, just don't make this getting injured thing a habit!"  Hubby cracks up laughing and as I turn to leave the room, I thank God that my Hubby gets me, really gets me, and likes me anyway.

Get well soon, my love. . .the floor needs mopping. ;)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Bring a Main Dish". . .A New Year's Resolution Mantra

While discussing her upcoming family holiday gathering over lunch, my friend expressed her concerns over the meal to be prepared and the fact that certain family members always brought side dishes while she and her husband usually brought a main course.  I could relate and I told her that after years of a similar fate, I finally just asked for what I wanted with the following request-"Bring a main dish."

It was as if a light went off in her head, a great epiphany had taken place. "Bring a main dish," she uttered. "Bring a main dish. That's brilliant! I think that will be my mantra this year!. Obviously attributing a deeper meaning to this simple statement, she had found inspiration in these words and I mulled over the different situations where this phrase could apply to in my own life.

For island people, food is a very important part of any gathering.  Ask any local and they'll tell you what they ate for lunch or what was served at a party they attended over the weekend or what they're 'ono' for right now. The true mark of success for any island event is how well the food was enjoyed by the guests. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it is a cardinal sin for an island party to NOT have enough food, as it is common for hosts to insist that guests take home plates of food to enjoy later or to feed family members who were unable to attend.

When you're invited to a dinner or get together, the first thing you ask here is, "What can I bring?". If the host says, "nothing, just come", you bring something anyway. And when you ARE asked to bring food, you better bring enough. I do feel for people not from the islands who are unaware of this unspoken rule. Perhaps all visitors and newcomers should receive a list of do's and don'ts when they arrive-much like filling out the mandatory agricultural forms on the airplane when coming to Hawaii. At the top of that list would be the following warning: "When asked to bring food to a local party (especially if you're bringing your whole family), DON'T BRING CHIPS."

So it is with this cultural context that I reflected on my dear friend's interpretation of, "Bring a main dish", and why she would choose this as her mantra for the new year.  I suppose that for her it meant to 'bring your best', 'bring your fair share', 'show you care'. Bringing a main dish also refers to an abundance mentality as opposed to a lack mentality.

With that, I've come up with a number of possible scenarios in which this mantra might be utilized:

To a child who gives a lackluster performance during a soccer game: "Son, when you come to the playing field, bring a main dish!"

To a co-worker who relies on other team members to do the bulk of the work on a project: "Sally, in the interest of the entire team, may I recommend that you bring a main dish when we start this next initiative?".

To a spouse who expects you to work AND do all the housework while he watches TV: "Ah, honey, I'm telling you right now, I'm tired of being the only one who brings a main dish to this relationship!".

To the face in the mirror who doesn't want to go jogging in the morning: "Girl, you got this, it's time to bring a MAIN DISH!".

Well, I've beaten this mantra to death, but I think you've gotten the point.  Whatever your goals are this year, whatever resolutions or grand visions you have for yourself, your family or your business, whatever your theme or mantra, may you find success and may you always BRING A MAIN DISH!

Happy New Year!