Love in the Time of Gastroenteritis

Today we bring you a short marriage situation post. The likelihood that your family has faced illness this winter is high, especially if you have any exposure to little children. So this might be an appropriate post for many readers :-) As always my comments will be bolded, and Liz’s will be normal. Enjoy!


I mentioned our recent skirmish with the dreadful stomach virus in this blog post. What is humorous is that during those terrible 48 hours while alternating between my bed and my bathroom, I actually thought of a marriage topic we could address. Maybe not the context for an epiphany that I’d prefer (I’ll stop writing before I need physical agony to give me flashes of insight!), but it certainly had promise.

“I’ll title it,” I thought while curled up in the fetal position under a mountain of blankets, “‘Love in the Time of Gastroenteritis.’ It probably won’t rival the original story in romantic scope and shrewd description of the human condition; still, I bet that it would make a darn good story.” And then I jumped up and ran for the bathroom.

Maybe this doesn’t happen at your house, but it seems to me that Paul and I almost always get sick at the same time. In one way, I find this incredibly frustrating. I just want to lie in bed and see my wonderful husband selflessly meet my every need. Is that too much to ask for? I feel jilted if he happens to get sick with me and can’t fulfill this fantasy.

“Really? You can’t be ill later? When I’m fully healed and have energy to spare? But nooo, you just have to be sick right now!?”

Then I grump and complain and drag myself around the house with maybe just a tad more drama than is necessary, all the while throwing not-so-subtle glares at my greenish looking husband. I give myself leave to feel (like Prince John) that “it’s so miserably unfair!” A teeny tiny part of me even thinks that maybe he got sick just so he wouldn’t have to take care of me. It is all just so suspiciously coincidental.


“Oh no! It’s so miserably unfair!” (From possibly the best movie ever made : )

The first thing to do after getting sick is to figure out whose fault it is that you are throwing up. If the culprit is a child, well, there’s nothing you can do. But if my spouse passed along the illness, then honestly, aren’t I absolved of all caretaking responsibilities?

Now, I know about that weird fantasy of Liz’s; the one where I am at her beck and call, tenderly tending to her every need while she does nothing more than sleep.  So underneath the agony the GI bug subjected me to, was an annoying sense of guilt. Annoying, because I felt that I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for getting sick…..especially if Liz gave it too me. (Given with a fateful kiss…which I later dubbed, “the kiss of death.”)

Beyond these feelings, I feel little else. When sick, I don’t want to move. Don’t want to even think about moving. If the house were on fire, well, I’d lay there and wait for the firemen. Quite frankly, I admire Liz for all the things she does while ill. Admire her from safe confines of the couch.

So, here is the question, “how do you show love when both you and your spouse are at a physical disadvantage? Or, at the very least, how to you keep from adding insult to injury when you’re unable to help each other out?”

Barring any rampaging illness that may silently (or, not so silently if the bathroom is involved) strike our family, we will write our response in the next day or two : )


  • Maria says:

    Thankfully, this situation has only happened one time in our marriage. A month or two into our marriage, Alex contracted some kind of flu(a real, 7-10 days, can’t eat normally for a month after, flu) from school and a week later, Andy & I both came down with it within 24 hours of each other. Thankfully, I had sick days but his boss gave him junk about not coming in so he went to work. His boss quickly decided it wasn’t in the company’s best interest to have Andy utilizing the customer’s bathroom so he sent him home after a few hours and we both just laid in bed for the next 3-4 days taking care of ourselves & having company in our misery. Thankfully, Alex was self-sufficient and could somewhat care for himself. I have no idea how he got to school those days though.

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