Muscle Strain

Last Thursday my husband, Barry, came home and announced, with great fanfare, that he thought he pulled a muscle in his ribcage. And that it hurt. And that at first he thought he had cancer, but there isn’t a tumor or anything. And that it hurt.

Did I mention that he’s hurting? I don’t mean to be unsympathetic, which I wasn’t, for the first 24-48 hours when he iced on and off, and started taking Ibuprofen and Naproxen, because it hurt, but as the days have worn on, I can’t help but notice that the issue (that it hurts) seems to flare up with its greatest intensity when the kids are misbehaving.

Tonight has been a veritable roller coaster ride of symptoms. He managed to make it through the entire day at work without once calling to tell me about the pain. I sent him a text late in the day to ask if he minded if I went out to dinner with a friend tomorrow night. He responded with an enthusiastic, “Enjoy!”

He was in a good mood when he came home. I was making dinner and trying, without much success, to get David and Cameron to help me out. Funny how homework and going to the bathroom suddenly become top priorities when Mom asks for help setting the table. Soon Justin, Alex and Cameron started chasing the dog around and acting rowdy and obnoxious and would not listen. That was when the pain began, as well as the lamentations about how this stuff always happens to him.

When Cameron started bugging me about wanting to crack eggs and Alex was pulling up a chair to “help” me cook, and I started to show some frustration with them, that’s when I heard, “I don’t mean to be mean, but are you going to be out very late tomorrow night? I’m really hurting.” Alex and Justin then wanted to take a bath before dinner, and were becoming quite vocal about it. I was in the middle of about three different tasks when Alex insisted that it was not good enough for Barry to help him in the bathroom, that it had to be me, and he threw a fit when Barry tried to help him. That really made the pain escalate. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to eat dinner because he needed to sit down and ice.

Eventually he was in good enough shape to sit down and eat. David was doing homework, Cameron was reading, the dog was on high alert the kitchen, hoping in quiet desperation that someone would drop a morsel of food, Justin and Alex were watching TV. For that period of time Barry was all smiles and we were joking and laughing. He insisted that he would clean up the dishes, even though I was doing it already.

But as soon as Alex spilled a glass of orange juice on the kitchen floor, Barry was not at all sure that he would be up to being left alone with the kids tomorrow night. When Justin got mad that I wouldn’t let him watch Iron Man, a searing pain took my valiant husband by surprise, and he had to go sit in the recliner for awhile to ice.

Soon he was back, once all was calm again, playing with the dog, chatting with me about the weird guy who was on Baking With Julia, and helping David get set up to practice his trumpet. He was even joking about how I must think he’s a terrible wimp since childbirth is supposedly the worst pain anyone could go through. I assured him that’s not what I had been thinking. Then as soon as Justin and Alex started to get nuts, as they are wont to do immediately before bedtime, the pain inexplicably set in once more. When I went downstairs to retrieve those two goofballs from their hiding places, Barry was on the recliner again, and asked, “Should I be using ice or heat?”

“Ice,” I replied tersely, as I herded the two little ones back upstairs.

As I continued my profanity-laced admonitions begging them to stay in bed, I heard Barry say to David and Cameron, “I may need to go the emergency room.”

However, all is relatively quiet now, and it seems he has found the fortitude to weather through the pain.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011


7 thoughts on “Muscle Strain

  1. Go out and enjoy. Turn off the cell phone and don’t turn it on until you are on the way home. Don’t even sneak a peek. You’ve spent many a day with your kids and I’m guessing you felt like shit and had to weather the storm anyway. He will get through the evening just like you have to every day.

  2. ROFL!!! How funny! Men are such wimps. Unbelievable… Hey – maybe he has an ulcer that just flares up in tense situations?!? Make sure you get out tomorrow night!!!

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