My poor husband.
He will never ask to play poker again.
I took A to the Orthopedic Doctor yesterday to have her knee looked at (it’s been bugging her for a few weeks and recently became intolerant to weight bearing) and we ended up leaving with her on crutches.
I sat in a chair in a clinic for two hours, plus 45 minute drive time each way which combined equals one hurting mama. Once we got home I had to make dinner and assist my newly disabled daughter with things around the house as well as pick up her kitchen chores. To make this more fun my son Rhino and I got into it because of a misunderstanding about his phone privileges.
This is what The Hubs walked into last night with the innocent idea of playing poker in his head.
I should preface this with the fact that this has happened more than 5 times since the pain set in, and it has become a bit of a dance.
It starts out with a phone call from work to see how my day is going (read; how much pain am I in.) Then he will mention it casually like “I was thinking I would maybe go play poker tonight.” And I’ll say something like “Oh, fun.” Which either means “oh, fun!” or “How dare you think you can go have fun when I am miserable like this.” But he can’t tell because he isn’t a mind reader. Obviously.
Then when he gets home he will sort of hang around me, waiting for me to say its fine if he goes. But he won’t come out and say it. Instead he plays on his phone, does some stuff on his tablet or kind of snuggles up on me, all his way of poking at the bear to see if it will roar.
Poor guy. The bear nearly always roars.
Side note: I would love to take his blood pressure just once while he is doing this little dance. I bet it’s amazing.
I know this sounds like he is being odd, but it’s not his fault; it’s mine. My inability to just say when I need him to stay around has created this energy around him going to play poker that just wears on both of us.
So he did his little thing where he asks how my day was and I tell him that I went for a walk that morning and it threw off my spoon count for the whole day. (Plus the two hour chair-a-thon didn’t help) To me, this was more than enough information to know that I was hurting and maybe leaving wasn’t the best plan.
How could he not get that, right?
But after about 10 minutes he asked if I would be good with the kids if he went so of course I said “If you want to go, go.” Which obviously means “You’re a heartless man if you leave me here with all this to do while I am in this much pain.” But he got ready to go anyway. (The nerve!)
Then while I was arranging fries on a pan he came to say goodbye and his man-tuition must have kicked in because he said “This doesn’t feel right.” (Which, in man speak means “You’re going to hate me if I leave right?”) To which I replied “Then don’t go.” (Which if course means “Duh.”)
And then the world exploded. He got upset because I wouldn’t just say I wanted him to stay home and help and I was upset because, well, because everything.
*I must say this; I used to get angry at him for not being empathetic to my needs as a Spoonie mom and for trying to go when he should have known to stay home. I do realize that is bullshit and no man should be expected to read his wife’s mind. I am fully aware that I am stunted in my ability to say “I am having a crap day, and I want you to stay.” I know that he would stay, and I know that he would not ever make me feel bad for asking. This story is not about my husband wanting a hobby. This is about the lunacy of my anxiety and the way it makes me feel like a failure for not being supermom.*
I am straight terrified that the next time I say I would like him to stick around will be the time that he can’t take it anymore. Every single time I ask him to limit his life due to my pain I am bracing myself to hear “You know? I’m done doing this.” And I will be left with nothing.
But here’s the thing. It’s not unheard of for couples to split when one partner falls ill or develops a pain condition. I see it over and over again. Women whose husbands don’t understand, or won’t try to understand or who simply can’t handle it. If I feel suffocated by my pain and all of it’s restrictions on my life, why would I think my spouse doesn’t feel that too? Anxiety just wants to be sure that we don’t forget that possibility.
Anxiety is so helpful.
My long lost pal Reality reminds me that there are a hundred other reasons why maybe a game of poker wouldn’t work for a busy family of five on a weeknight even without the chronic pain factor. But it is the factor in this scenario. So all of the reasoning in the world will not save me here. Anxiety says that my husband will leave me if he can’t go play poker because our daughter is on crutches and I am having a bad pain day.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but some day he will realize how much I suck and then he will be out of here. Anxiety promises me that this will happen if he doesn’t leave this instant to play poker.
Luckily, we are getting better at this and the world pieced itself back together pretty quickly last night. I swallowed my Spoonie pride and ugly face cried (hyperventilating and all) while explaining my fear of him leaving me if I ask him to skip poker. Then I refused to let him comfort me and instead went back to the damn French fries. Like a champ, he came back downstairs in sweatpants and hung out on the couch next to me all night and never said another word about it.
All the while Anxiety and I had a dialog in my head about how he was secretly still mad at me, and was only sitting next to me because the kids were taking up the other end of the couch. When we went to bed last night, I was well aware that he put his arm over his head in his sleep deliberately to keep me from snuggling up on him. (Of course he wasn’t just shifting in his sleep. Come on people, this is war here.)
Anxiety knows all the tricks and he made sure I was aware of just how much I screwed this up.
Reality came back over again today and reminded me that The Hubs loves me, and he understands that asking for help is so, so hard for me especially when it means he has to miss out on something.
But I can almost guarantee that my husband will never try to play poker again and Anxiety tells me that he will resent me forever because of it.