I only get sick when Air Force Guy is not home. This is not one of those statements like, “It only rains when I wash my car,” it’s the absolute truth. I only get sick when AFG is not home. And I get sick at some point EVERY time AFG is not home.
Let’s take, for instance, AFG’s most recent trip to a far-off, exotic locale (which happened over our anniversary). The second day after he left, I planned to get up early and make it to a boxing class at my gym. I told my coach I would be there, I got everything ready the night before, and then… I woke up in the morning throwing up everything I had eaten since graduating the eighth grade.
It was horrible. Truly horrible. And disgusting. In case anyone is wondering – there is something worse than the taste of Pepto Bismol going down… Pepto coming up. Urggghhh.
We did not have the ability to talk on the phone during that particular trip, but we did have email contact, so I took a few moments to email AFG that I was ill and went to bed until 7:45 that evening (luckily my children were cooperative and didn’t attempt to kill each other until after I was able to stand upright for longer than fifteen seconds at a stretch).
When I checked my email again that evening, I noticed a note from AFG:
Well, I didn’t get an email from you today and it’s late, so I’m going to go to bed now. I really wish I had heard from you.
This did not go over well with airforcewife. I’m pretty sure that I had the same reaction that many others will upon reading that line, “Excuse me?”
I stifled the urge to write something truly snarky in return, and gently reminded AFG that I had emailed to tell him I was sick. The next morning, I had this reply in my in-box, “I’m sorry! I didn’t think you were really sick.”
Of course he didn’t! He doesn’t see me sick! The only time I ever get sick is when he is gone. Apparently, I have super-special never-get-sick genetics. Also, I can translate pursed lips and tapping feet into email format, because AFG figured out really quickly that he had said something very, very wrong.
This led to a rather long discussion when AFG came home. For one thing, I had realized that while I never get sick when AFG is home – AFG has the opposite problem going on. In all his deployments and trips, he has only gotten sick away from home once. And every single time he returns home, he comes down with illnesses of various intensities. So much so, and with such predictable regularity, that Wife Unit has christened AFG’s home-sick-days as “The [fill in the exotic, usually sandy locale] Crud.” We’ve been through the Iraq Crud, the Afghan Crud, and the Korean Crud. Also, the Turkish Crud. And some first world crud as well, most notably from Las Vegas.
The second thing I realized is this: as a military wife, my husband’s mortality is always near the front of my consciousness. Anticipatory Grief has a place setting at our dinner table for goodness sake! And a stocking at Christmas! I have planned for what I think is every contingency (because when you plan for it, it doesn’t happen. Murphy’s Law).
But AFG does not think that way. And he never realized that he didn’t think that way, even though we’ve had the anticipatory grief discussion several times. Even though I’ve tried to bring up discussions for plans should something happen to me. In fact, I’m not sure he thinks about it at all – even now.
photo credit: sleepyneko