One of the things that continues to ring true and clear for me is that not a single cell of my being bears any remote resemblance to a nurse.

As a mother, I am a professional who can handle the messiest of diaper challenges. But give me a kid who’s throwing up, and I’ll put his sheets in the trash and dunk him in the bathtub before touching him again to avoid dealing with the sick mess. (The exception to the sick rule is children with fever – that I can handle – cuddling them and comforting them, as long as there is no vomiting involved.)

When adults get sick, I really have no empathy whatsoever, and that disturbs me.

I have a belief (maybe an incorrect one) that people allow themselves to be ill, and if it becomes an inconvenience to me, then I am pissed at the patient, rather than sympathetic towards them.

What kind of human being am I?

I’m practicing kindness toward the Belgian, who has been sick with a cold nearly since the day he arrived, but it’s an effort. I’ve asked him what he needs, and I will provide anything he asks if I’m able to do so… special groceries or medicines… time to rest… but I am not nursing him. I couldn’t, even if I wanted to. It’s just not a part of my makeup.

There’s something particularly disturbing to me to watch a man become sick… to see his strength stripped away and watch him succumb to germs… I hate to see him lose the fight. He becomes weak and vulnerable and then usually makes poor decisions about his own self-care, which infuriates me.

Is it because I’ve spent my whole life tip-toeing around the disease of addiction that I’ve become so cold and hard?

3 Comments on “No Nurse Lisa

  1. My ex’s mother is a hypochondriac. If someone in her family got sick, she’d get sicker. When the ex’s dad needed triple bypass I remarked that, ‘this’ll kill your mother.’ My ex said, ‘I know. I can’t imagine what she’ll have to get.’Anyway, my ex has no sympathy at all for sick folks — and she forces herself to work through illnesses — and we’re both certain it’s tied to her mother’s behavior.

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  2. Delmer,I wrote a nice reply to your comments that ended up in blogger la-la land.Thanks for your interesting story. Your ex must have had a rough childhood with that.I tried to see myself in it, but I am really not a martyr about illness. When I am sick, which is rare, I make sure I get plenty of rest and take good care of myself. I believe it’s usually a symptom of something else that’s going on with me that I need to examine.Neither of my parents were/are sickly people.I just had an idea; I feel a new blog entry coming on… 🙂 Thanks for jogging something in my head.Lisa

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