My Nurse is From Mars

In 1992 John Gray wrote a book called, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. The book was an immediate sensation, selling bazillions of copies and putting the differences between how men and women communicate (or not) on every talk show in the universe. It should be noted this book also put the very same topic at the top of the, "Honey, I've got something I want to talk to you about," list. Men began to fear those words with an intensity they'd not known before in modern history.

It was clear that some men and women were from Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter and a cornucopia of other planets and maybe even some universes. They didn't ascribe to the Mars and Venus communication guide and soundly defeated it by continuing to use the words they learned from their parents in the same ways they'd learned them. Of course, as we all know... some of those weren't all that great. In fact, Tammy Wynette summed it up several years earlier with her catchy tune, My D I V O R C E Became Final Today.

At Shaffer house I was the one who read the book. Lots of things in it made sense to me and I even felt some guilt for expecting Mr. S to be an active verbal participant on the subject of marital bliss or blight. I was so excited to tell him about what I'd learned that I did... a lot. This must be about the same time that the silent chant, "blah, blah, blah" was born at our house. I was absolutely convinced he was a Martian and have been reminding him (with lots of other words) ever since. He was convinced I was from another planet but I'll leave you to figure out which one. It wasn't Venus.

The man from Mars has his masters degree in the art of passive resistance. I won't tell you how many years it took me to figure that out but let's just say that aging has helped illuminate his skill and my slow wit. In other words, don't rush out and buy that Mars/Venus book. It's not for us old folk.

Since early July, Mr. S from Mars has been my nurse. This has happened before but I always had the use of my hands so I could be of help in cooking, cleaning and doing things around the house that he didn't like doing. Helping out around the house is key to the success of our nurse-patient relationship. This time he can and does help with showers, changes of bedding and other laundry and cooking. Who could ask for more? Me.

He also has to help me do my infusion on a weekly basis. After watching me do it every week for almost three years, Mr. S didn't hesitate approaching this task. He happily fills the syringe and does other things I can't do and between the two of us we get this necessary job done. He pokes the needles in and waits patiently while the process completes itself so that he can help me take needles out and finish up. Because I am wearing a stationary neck brace I can't see where the needles are going but trust his judgment. See? This nurse has super powers when it comes to things you'd think he'd run a mile from.

While I waited for surgery a couple of weeks ago he waited too. I asked a nurse to tell him he could go home but he waited. By the time he agreed to come and see me, he'd been there more than three hours. The nurses told me how kind and patient he had been all day. I advised them that he'd been saving a few choice words which he would cut loose when he sat next to me. Ah... the joy of bonding through years of marriage. My prediction paid off in spades. I wish I could have placed bets but that wouldn't have been a good idea. Eventually he went home. Eventually I had surgery and he came back to get me. Yes, he had to wait AGAIN but at least this time I must of looked pathetic so he was calmer for awhile. Or, maybe I had enough pain meds floating around that I thought he looked like the real Prince Charming of the Mars Husband Nursing staff.

With about 6 weeks under our belts, we've become a team. On the day Nurse Mr. S said, "You are really needy." I put some thought into my answer. "I have a neck with two fractures, a broken arm and a jammed hand and yes, I've been needy." I swore to turn over a new progressive patient leaf. I did. Things have gone better since then. The other reason things got better was that he started charging fifty bucks for all needed services. A glass of water? Fifty bucks. Changing laundry from wash to dry? Fifty bucks. The only thing he did for free was to keep all those beautiful plants we put in alive by keeping them watered and cared for. Other than that, I owe this man thousands of dollars. Not to worry. Next time he has a medical problem my nursing rates are going to be adjusted to his billing schedule.

Yup, it's that time in life. If one of us doesn't need a nurse, we're damned fortunate. In the meantime I've decided my male nurse is not from Mars. He's from the moon. He makes me happy in the day and smiles down at night. However, from now on all arguments will cost him fifty bucks.

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