Marriage requires gut check

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 8, 2012

There are times that test a marriage.

Like the time Honey, then a restaurant owner, threw a tomato at me because I was trying clumsily to help in the kitchen.

Or the time he quit smoking on vacation and irritably scorched the earth around him. Since I was the only person he knew, mainly he scorched me.

There was a vacation when we drove an hour to have lunch at a restaurant he’d heard about without calling ahead, despite my insistence that we really should check their hours before we went. Of course, we arrived as they locked the door. The cheese crackers I had for lunch is one meal I’ll never let him forget.

And then, there was this week, which can be summed up this way: The man doesn’t handle pain well, and will dose himself with almost anything in his path to avoid it.

Hint of a cold? Thera-Flu will do nicely. And even if you feel better the next day, keep taking it because you’ll sleep better.

Stomach pain? Take a laxative and Pepto-Bismal. Both help stomachs, right? They also do opposite things, in case you’ve never read the labels.

Add a couple of bags of popcorn during a very close SEC championship game. Have most of a jar of peanuts for an afternoon snack. Call your wife and tell her you hurt. Bad. And that your friends think you’ve having a gall bladder attack.

“Do we need to go to the ER?” I asked at a reasonable hour of the night. The answer was no, but his voice told me I was in for trouble. There were prescription painkillers left from an old injury. He took one.

At a less reasonable hour of the night, he was up in search of a second pill. “Do we need to go to the ER?” I asked again. The answer was again no.

But about the time I got into a sound sleep – 2 a.m., to be exact – a trip to the ER was in order. Thanks to a wonderful nurse named Kenneth, Honey got happy juice in his IV. I, on the other hand, got maybe five minutes of sleep in a straight-backed chair. We passed friends on the way to work on our way home.

Suffice it to say that Honey had confused the heck out of his body. Thirty-six hours, numerous interventions, and one assertion that he’d be dead by morning later, he was better. One more test to go and we will, hopefully, be done with what we hope was just an exercise in what not to do.

The specialist we saw on Friday, Dr. Roger Orth, has a great sense of humor, but he put it bluntly: Next time you want to explode something, why don’t you just go to the test field at Eglin?

Yes, there are tests in relationships. No doubt, living with me has produced a list of them for Honey, too, like having his secrets told in print.

But I passed this test with flying colors. This is a course we don’t need to repeat.