I’m sitting upstairs right now and both toddlers are downstairs with my husband and nasty colds. You know what that means? The man flu season is coming. It might not even be the flu, it could just be a cold, but he’ll treat it like the plague because it happens every year like clockwork. Just as sure as the sun rises and sets, I can count on him to be completely useless for a solid week if he so much as sneezes.
Throw it back to 2014. I was about nine weeks pregnant with Cora and Sadie was 6 months old. From the moment I woke up, I was violently puking all day. In the car. Out of the window. During our errands. I was miserable and nauseous but worked through it because #MOMLIFE. I honestly thought I had killer morning sickness or possibly a stomach bug so I went with it. Then 6 p.m. rolls around… it was definitely not morning sickness because I watched my husband transform right before my eyes, stumbling around saying he’s going to puke. Grreeeeeat. The moment he says he’s feeling sick, my eyes automatically roll into the back of my head and touch my spine. Instant dread.
Stage 1: Give this man a chance. Try the sweet approach.
‘Ok babe. You’re going to be fine. Just go to the bathroom and try to relax.’
Did he take my advice? Nope. First stop is our kitchen sink. He pukes all over a week’s worth of dirty dishes. He’s obnoxiously loud when he’s barfing to make sure I know this is the real deal. The neighbors know it’s the real deal. The next town over knows too. Cue me hating my life.
Stage 2: This is the actual worst and I’m going to kill him.
‘Seriously Ty?! Go into the bathroom!! Why would you do that?! It’s like 5 feet away and the garbage can is RIGHT HERE.’
He starts waddling to the bathroom and I breathe a sigh of relief. Thank God he’s in there, maybe he’ll pull it together. PSYCH. He’s being so noisy and dramatic with his heaving that I have no choice but to check on him and pretend I don’t want to murder him. I walk in and encounter vomit. Everywhere. But not in the toilet folks, nawwwww. In the bathtub. The freaking bathtub. BUT. WHY.
Stage 3: There’s no turning back, he’s committed.
He lays on the floor with his eyes closed and starts moaning ‘Syd. Syyydd. I can’t. I can’t see…’
Brain: Oh, so now he can’t see? Is this a joke. He has a flu symptom that doesn’t even exist. Actually, I can’t. I should probably leave. Where is this dude’s mom.
‘What are you even talking about?! That’s not real life!! Open your freaking eyes. We don’t have time for this. GET UP. NOW. RIGHT NOW.’
My voice was really serious at this point. He knew he poked the bear way too hard, or so I thought. He took the alternative route and decided to become unresponsive. Yes. Literally. He played dead like a possum. I’m standing over him about to puke myself and he starts whispering:
‘Syd…Call 911. Syd. I’m dying… call 911. Call 9….1…..1……’
Stage 4: This dude just told me to call 911.
Hold the phone: You want me to dial 9-1-1 and say what? My grown husband has an upset stomach? He stops responding to me AGAIN and mumbles incoherently. He’s rolling around like a pig in his own poop but in his own barf that’s everywhere but the toilet. I [decided] to try and call his bluff.
‘Do you need me to call 911??? We just have the stomach flu and I’M PREGNANT. I’m tired. You’re telling me I am going to pick up the phone and say this is an emergency. You know they’re going to actually come here RIGHT? Right? I’m gonna do it. I’m dead serious.’
He was sick for maybe an hour tops at this point. He’s a first responder. He’s the father of my children. He’s my best friend. He’s a combat vet. He’s a devil dog. He’s a biiiiigg baby. And then I made the dreaded call.
Dispatch: 911 what’s your emergency?
Me: Ugh. Hi. How are you? Ughhhh. It’s my husband. He’s… I don’t know, he’s umm. He’s throwing up.
Dispatch: …Ok? Are there any other symptoms?
Me: He can’t see. Or talk. Or move. He’s basically unresponsive.
Dispatch: Any chest pain or shortness of breath, ma’am?
Me: (whispering into the phone) Oh gosh no… he has *the flu*
Now I’m mortified because I just called 911 for the man flu. I tell him help is on the way. He fully grasps what I’ve done and says, ‘No Syd, wait… seriously wait. I think I pooped my pants.’
Stage 5: I just called 911, someone pooped themselves, the countdown begins.
I morph into Bambi’s father.
‘Get up Ty. GET UP! You MUST GET UP! Dude the paramedics are on their way and you pooped your pants?! You’re NEXT TO THE TOILET?! Why wouldn’t you poop on the toilet?! Why are you doing this to me?!’
I’m panicking because I know I’m about to be embarrassed. I start trying to pull down his pants while he lays like a corpse. No luck. Then a lightbulb clicks in his head… He realizes there’s a really good chance he’ll know one of these paramedics and he miraculously found the strength to haul his butt to our room to change. The paramedics get to our house and I’m standing there with the worst case of resting [w]itch face. EVER. They ask him what his symptoms are and I’m dying to call him out.
Guys, it’s like an angel came down from heaven and cured him right there on the spot. All of a sudden he could talk again. He could walk again. He could even see again like a Christmas miracle. They proceed to tell me I need to follow behind them to the hospital because he was going via ambulance. For the flu. That I gave him. I drive my pregnant butt alone to the hospital while puking in a plastic bag with my husband in front of me on a stretcher being doted on. It’s the first and last time I’ve ever considered divorce.
Stage 6: Nurses are the bomb
I finally find his room and I’m throwing up while answering questions for him because he’s back at it again playing possum. He isn’t answering anyone and the nurse spotted that man flu crap from a mile away. We made eye contact and nodded. Solidarity. She’s all, ‘SIR. GET IT TOGETHER. YOU NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?’ And I’m all, ‘THANK YOU JESUS, SING IT SISTER.’ They find out I’m with child and decide to admit me as well because apparently, the flu is usually only dangerous for pregnant women, elderly and newborns. Now I’m livid. We get our IVs. The nurses keep coming in to give me the ‘I’m so sorry’ look. The nod all women know. When someone says their man is sick we take a moment of silence for each other. United we stand.
We were finally sent home and he’s trying to chat it up in the car like nothing happened. Nothing to see here folks. That heinous act of horror wasn’t real. But it was. I have to go get the baby from my parents’ the next morning because he’s too sick (I’m still sick with what I gave him). I was up all night and I come home to what?
Stage 7: A whole lotta HECKKK NO.
A fresh batch of puke that ain’t in the toilet. I was positive the dog also pooped in the house. Sure didn’t. That would be my husband. Again. Just to remind me how sick he was, he re-offended the house while I was gone. I made him wear one of those bird flu masks and didn’t talk to him for a solid three days. I locked myself in our bedroom until he was ready to come back to earth. To this day it’s still a touchy subject in our house. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we cringe. But I told him one day I would share this story, maybe to help another family in need. So women won’t feel alone. If you think your hubs is the worst when they get sick, come and read this again for a reminder. Beware… the man cold and flu season is near. This could be you.
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