The best form of birth control I can imagine would be to make the men have ‘em – babies that is.
I can attest to male’s innate wimpiness about abdominal pain based on my recent experience as the wife of a survivor—a man who recently gave birth to a bouncing, unhealthy three-inch appendix, not ruptured, but angry.
We ladies are all familiar with the new mother’s “mincing steps” one takes after giving birth—based on the fear that one’s innards will crash to the floor unless she walks very slowly and carefully. Pete put this defensive mode of ambulation to shame as he came up with his own variation of the “protecting one’s guts” walk. He developed a foot-dragging gait coupled with a hand lightly clutching the right lower quadrant that reminded me of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” I kept expecting to see a skull in his other hand, or at least see him lighting his way with a candle.
It is very hard for me to be sympathetic, having had my share of abdominal surgeries. Women are sent home twenty-four hours after giving birth, two days after a hysterectomy, and Pete lolled in the hospital for almost four days (the doctor is male, what can I say?) He took pain shots up until the morning of discharge, (what happened to Tylenol?), and still put on a wan, pinched little pale face look when I pulled into the patient pick-up circle to collect him. The grunts and groans that accompanied his loading himself into the car made the security guard rush over, thinking we were dealing with a man who had just had open heart surgery!
Another thing: why is it that men forget to take off the hospital I.D. bracelet? Is there something macho about that, or do they think it attracts sympathy?
Untaping the dressing was another fascinating chapter in seeing my husband’s true colors. No quick rip for him, nosiree! Inching and prying, tugging and grimacing, taking almost a half hour to slowly remove the dressing made me wish I had had the forethought to get out the webcam and focus exclusively on his face; You Tube missed a viral hit. I think I could have won the grand prize on that home video TV show.
Watching him sit down was a show in itself. He would drag up to the sofa, turn himself around to the left (like a dog circling its bed), then slide his left arm down, left leg out and “fall” onto the couch. He would then bravely prop himself up on elbows, and inch backwards until he reached the safe haven provided by the warm embrace of the sofa arm. A deep sigh of relief and a request for ice tea normally accompanied this performance.
His belly swelled up so much that he was forced to live in sweat pants and jogging shorts for almost two weeks. The doctor said it was because his abdomen was so toned (please). I offered to buy him some belted slacks a couple of inches larger, but fierce pride prevented him from admitting he looked postpartum; however, by week three, he had his figure back (I hate him).
We’ve survived, thank God, although we have no little bundle of joy to show off as a reward for Pete’s bravery; I think I’ll surprise him and have the appendix stuffed and mounted over the mantle for Christmas.