By Anita Doberman
Men, and military men in particular, can take a lot. They are tough, hard working and have high tolerance for pain.
Take my beloved hubby. He almost died of a burst appendix because he didn’t go to the hospital right away — he preferred to take the pain than go to the doctor — but take him to an OB office and he cannot stand the pain of sitting in the waiting room for more than two minutes.
This past week he was forced to come with me to the OB when I went for an amniocentesis. I was calm, until we got the hospital, then my nerves got the better of me, and I desperately turned to my husband for assurance that I wasn’t about to die. But guess what? Hubby is completely exhausted and not willing to “humor,” as he says, (“comfort” as I say) my fears.
Then he made the mistake of complaining to a pregnant lady. His back hurt, apparently, and the magazines in the waiting room were awful — mostly because they were about babies, pregnancy and parenting. How inconsiderate of the OB practice not to fill the place with Sports Illustrated.
Apparently not bothering him was the thought that my doctor was about to stick a long needle in my stomach. I, on the other hand, was bouncing around the waiting room like a kid on a sugar high.
When I went in to the exam room, I was even more scared and had hubby stay outside because his mellowness was making me more nervous. I paced and asked to use the bathroom twice in about a minute. Finally, I laid down on the little uncomfortable bed, and the technician started doing the ultrasound. We saw the baby’s hairy head (the highlight of my day), and while chatting, I almost forgot that I was scared when my doctor walks in with THE AMNIO KIT. I immediately requested a cloth to hang over my eyes.
The doctor didn’t seem nervous either, mumbling something about this being a routine procedure, but I didn’t buy it — all I could see was that needle. First, though, he used little ones to anesthetize my belly. Then he stuck the actual amnio needle in my belly and after a minute or two it was done.
I was sweating through the towel, but I hung in there, practicing my deep breathing, and they finally moved me to a monitoring room while the nurse went to get hubby. She found him in deep sleep. I wasn’t too happy with him, and when he came in, I crumbled one of the saltines they’d given me and threw it at him, which made me feel better.
I told him he needed to focus on me, the one having the baby. He replied that he was focusing on me, but that it was a 24/7 job, and labor laws mandated an occasional break. Besides, he said, the nap was the first quiet time he’d had since he got back from Iraq a month before.
I had to give him that. It’s not easy for a military man to wear the two hats of his profession and his family, especially in war time. It’s easy to forget how much our loved ones do even if they sometimes have to be reminded to focus on the mundane events of home life.
Anita Doberman is a freelance writer, mother of five and wife of an Air Force pilot stationed at Hurlburt AFB in Florida.