Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wake Him Up First or a Spoon Full of Sugar.

So once again I tried to do something right and failed. Even now as I type, Ty is engaged in a seemingly endless diatribe about how I tried to kill him, but succeeded in only subjecting him to one of the most horrible tortures known to man. He is crying out to God for mercy, both from the effects of what I did and in having me for a wife.

How was I to know that in an effort to save my husband for pain and suffering I would inflict more?

He hasn’t been feeling well today, and the doctor said that he should rotate acetaminophen and ibuprofen and stay relatively inactive until he felt better. In an effort to entertain him during his down time, I put in a movie and snuggled up on the couch with him. It wasn’t long until he fell asleep, but being a good wife I stayed awake and watched the clock until it was time for the next round of meds.

When the time came, I woke him up, gave him two ibuprofen, a drink, and he promptly fell back to sleep. Unless you misconstrue any of that, allow me to clarify a couple of things – He took the pills from my hand and placed them in his mouth. He then took his glass from the coffee table and washed them down. He spoke to me, granted it was in monosyllabic grunts, but all the signs were there that he was awake and a willing participant in my care.

The movie ended, and I decided that sleeping beauty needed to go to bed. So I woke him up once again. His face crumpled in agony and he began smacking his lips in a disgusted manner. “What is that awful taste in my mouth?” He cried in horror, and then began digging at his mouth as if he were going to strike oil. Suddenly, he pulled what appeared to be a piece of forgotten gum from his teeth.

“What have you done to me, woman?” he demanded of me.

It turns out that he had never really woken up. For the entire hour, from the time I gave him the pills and when I tried to put him to bed, one of those little pills, the medicine intended to make him feel better, sat slowly dissolving and seeping into his taste buds. Now an hour after his rude awakening, two more glasses of fluids, and a toothbrushing that he claims removed the top layer of his tongue, he is still groaning about the taste.

So of course, I had to find some redeeming element in the experience- and I found several.

I learned that when it is time to take your medicine, just swallow it. Too many times when taking your medicine, making an apology, owning up to your responsibilities, we have a tendency to try and avoid it. We hold it on our tongue until it turns bitter and invades every part of our being. All we can taste is bitterness and our words and actions become tinged with it. Telling ourselves the truth about who we are and what we have done is difficult enough without prolonging the experience. Sometimes it is best to swallow the truth whole.

I learned that when you are trying to give someone medicine, make sure they are awake enough to know that they need it. So many times we see that someone has an issue they need to address, so we step in, put the medicine in their hands and tell them to deal with it. Unfortunately, they may not realize they have a problem. They may even agree with us, go through the motions of treatment, but if they really aren’t awake yet. . . we could be doing more harm than good. So maybe we need to slow down, make sure they are really awake, and allow them a moment to come to terms with what needs to be done.

Ty still hasn’t recovered. He is reaffirming his faith in Jesus, since I am apparently trying to poison him in his sleep. He refuses to take the next scheduled dose of medication despite the risk of being in pain when he wakes up. He is convinced that what has leeched into his tongue is sufficient to cure all his ails forever.

And that is another thing I learned. If the medicine is too bitter the one in pain may not be willing to risk facing the bitterness again. Sometimes we need to give a little sugar with the remedy, make it easier to swallow. Truth is bitter enough without adding dread to the equation. We may be prolonging their pain if we make it too hard to swallow the next dose. I am pretty sure the Bible calls this grace.

So I promise to never give my sleeping husband medication, and if I do, I promise I will rub his throat and thump his nose – just like I do to the dog.

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