I frequented antique shops and junk stores when I lived in Maryland. A friend and I were browsing in one of my favorites just outside of Annapolis one day. The owner and one of her employees were moving a beautiful, old dresser. She was wordlessly slugging away while he complained and huffed and puffed each step of the way. Clearly, he felt put upon. Flinching, he suddenly jerked his hand away from the piece; bringing the hand close to his face, he scrutinized it, then stuck a finger in his mouth, then scrutinized it again. All the while, he was producing sighs and moans and squinty faces intended to express great pain. I thought he might start to cry.
I’ll admit that my friend and I watched this scene with some amusement. When we left the shop, I tried to explain why it had struck my funny bone. He was not seriously hurt, but how can we judge the pain of another? I finally put my finger on it when I told my friend that maybe I was being sexist because I had lived with Herm so long. I think he could practically lose an arm without complaining. He never complains about physical pain. Sure, he dropped the F-bomb when he nearly severed the end of his finger, but no moans or groans, and certainly no tears. You gotta love a man who can nearly lose a digit and not make too much of a fuss about it.
I’m not suggesting this “way of being” is a good thing; it just is. And it’s not about being macho; it’s about getting on with the show sans drama. He believes you show up for work unless someone has shoveled dirt over your grave. I used to tell him that the company wouldn’t care about us if he had a heart attack from pushing himself too much. It’s a hard way to live, and not one that I necessarily endorse, but I have to say I respect it.
So you’ll understand why it surprised me when yesterday’s surgery knocked the wind out of his sails. He didn’t complain, but in way of concession, he did come home and take a two-hour nap. The doctor and nurse made it clear that this surgery would be more “involved” than the last two, and that he must “take it easy” for a few days.
To be truthful, I didn’t think it would be that bad. He sailed right through the last two. The doctor assured us that this one would be different and it has been. He still isn’t feeling well. Hopefully he’ll feel much better soon.
So what does all this mean?
I’m going to force him to lay around and read or watch movies all day… after he washes the car, installs a light fixture and spreads a yard of mulch. 😉
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; stay out of the sun. Besides daily flossing, it’s my best tip.