Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love and Vomit

It was inevitable. The boys had been sick earlier in the week. I spent a day with stomach pains and a buzzing headache. A stomach bug had crept into our Northern Virginia townhouse and that meant two things: Easy Ed was next and it would be bad.

Sure enough, late late the other night I awoke to the sound of retching vomit. Oh, it is a dreadful noise. When Ed throws up, it sounds like animals are dying.

And Ed vomits a lot.

A couple months back, he informed me that he had gotten sick on the way home from work. Oh no, I replied, Did you throw up in the car? No, he replied. I pulled into an abandoned parking lot and opened the door.

At 2am. In the District of Columbia. Did I mention my husband is Hispanic?

Since then I keep my cell phone by my bed, just in case I have to take a late night call from the county jail after Ed's been booked on suspicion of DUI.

For Ed, the formula is pretty simple:

Weak stomach + Stressful job x Late nights = Prodigious Vomiter

When we were first married, I admit it was a bit disconcerting to have a husband who threw up much more often than I did. Did he have an ulcer? I wondered, Could be possibly be bulimic? (No and definitely no). But soon enough the tables turned and I found myself pregnant and sick. And also very alone and stressed out as I finished up grad school in Portland while Ed chased his dreams in the big city. I couldn't wait to join him in New York. I had this fantasy of Ed lovingly holding back my hair while I threw up, and then cleaning up the mess and bringing me a ginger ale while I rested in bed.

The reality was that I threw up alone when I got to New York as well. The only difference was that now I was in our prewar apartment bathroom with sounds of the city outside the window ..... and, of course, sounds of Ed snoring from the other room.

When I heard Ed sick the other night, I rolled over and stuck an extra pillow over my head to drown out the wailing struggle from the bathroom beyond. I tried to make myself feel guilty for not getting up with him, but I couldn't even manage that much.

Eleven Valentine's Days, ten years of marriage and two children later, I am beginning to understand the multiplying effect of love in a happy and deeply committed relationship. I am also learning that you don't need to share everything with your partner during your years together to experience the intensity of that kind of love.

1 comment:

Outside the Pumpkin Shell said...


I was actually just contemplating Scott vomiting, earlier today at church. I wondered, not pleasantly, what it looks like to have someone as massive as my husband, hunched over a teeny weeny toilet.

I'm thankful that I came to the conclusion that I don't ever want to know.

Love means knowing what someone would order at any restaurant. And I guess it also means, putting the pillow over your head, so that you can be much more sympathetic!

Hope you're all better soon!