Looking for sympathy when poorly? Never marry a medic J’s usual input is:“you’re not systemically unwell”
When I started dating J, all those years ago, I was amazed at my mother's reaction. She suddenly became this stereotype of a Jewish mother. This despite the fact that she was staunchly Church of England.
"My son's dating a DOCTOR," she would tell her friends at WI. The fact he was a boy doctor was of course inconsequential and didn't matter as part of that conversation.
As our relationship developed my parents devotion to J grew. To the point where they would behave very strangely if they knew he was coming with me to visit. My mother would clean, she would make sandwiches, she'd bake. Cushions would be plumped on the chair nearest the fire and I would be relegated to the sofa at the back of the sitting room during our visit as Saint J basked in adoration.
It got to the point where I would refer to J as 'Saint J', and tell him about the alter my mother had built to him in the corner of the sitting room when I returned from visits to them.
Of course J is one of the loveliest people on the planet, otherwise I wouldn't have married him. He's also, as one of the calmest and kindest people I've ever met, very well suited to the job he does.
I never really thought of his profession when I met him, it was just a job he did. When I told friends what he did though many would make mention of how nice it would be to have a doctor around when you're poorly. Indeed, people learning the profession of my husband have said that ever since.
Let me give you an anecdote that perhaps explains why that assumption is incorrect.
I have man flu:
"Please help me, I am dying."
J has little sympathy: "You're alright, you're not systemically unwell"
He's not taking this seriously, I need to get across really how poorly I am: "No, really, I am dying, look, I can't see... where are you? I'm blind! Agh!"
"You're being melodramatic! As usual! Take a paracetemol." J even says that with much eye rolling.
I'm not letting him get away this, he's a doctor he's supposed to be looking after me: "How do I know how many to take? Help me! I don't think I can lift the water to be able to take them."
J takes on the same tone he has for three year old: "I've explained before. Paracetemol is dose responsive, it's a drug in common with...." To be honest I've drifted off by this part of the conversation, all you need to know is it's a long monologue about different types of drugs and how you are supposed to know if you've overdosed on them or not.
So, you see, comfort and sympathy are in pretty short supply from my doctor husband. The really annoying bit of that story is the 'you're not systemically unwell' bit. It's really very irritating!
Being a hospital doctor, J is in an environment of beeping machinery much of the time.
You'd think that wouldn't have an impact on home life, would you? Wrong.
He's completely oblivious to any kind of alarm going off in the kitchen.
BEEP BEEP BEEP. "Fridge door left open?" I shout.
"Really, how did you know that?" he replies.
My turn to eye roll.
Or try asking him to keep an eye on the oven timer.
BOOP BOOP BOOP. "Agh! the oven!" I scream as I run into our kitchen which is quickly filling with smoke.
"Did the timer go?" Asks J as he looks up from the iPad.
J is of course tremendously proud of what he does. Rightly so.
A couple of weeks ago our three year old daughter chose a Doc McStuffins comic whilst at the supermarket. Complete with toy medical kit within its plastic wrapper, she brought it home and proudly showed it to J.
His dewey eyed response told me all I needed to know about his preferred profession for our daughter (seven year old has already decided he wants to be a vet).
I'm not sure I can stand it. Can you imagine the extra vigilance level I will need in the kitchen if they're all medics of some kind. Let alone the additional acting lessons needed to make them take the slightest notice when I'm poorly!