Friday, 16 July 2021 16:26

COLUMN: The wife's fibro-brain fog funnies

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Before I get into this week's column, allow me to warn some of you that you might find it offensive. A few of you might think I am an awful man and an even awful-er husband. I know there is no such word as “awful-er,” but since I am starting off letting you know I might upset some of you, I might as well upset any English teachers who may be reading.

This week's column might be considered insensitive and crass. I assure you, it is not the first — nor the last — time someone called me crass. If couth was an actual thing and not just part of the word “uncouth” (and not really a word anymore, but cribbed from Old English) I would have very little or none of it. 

One or two of you might argue that point, but I assure you once you get to know me, you will discover I am actually a very unpleasant man. In this week's column, I poke fun at the handicapped. Don't get upset just yet, it's not like I looked at a paraplegic and said “neener, neener, neener” as I walked by. That's just rude. It's also mean. I'm unpleasant, not an ogre. Besides, the handicapped person I am making fun of is my wife. 

My wife suffers from a number of maladies — besides marriage to me — and, in the words of her doctors, is “officially handicapped.” I don't know what unofficially handicapped is, but I am pretty certain someone who has been to a reasonably reputable medical school can determine the officialness of said handicap. (English teachers take note, I also know that “officialness” is not a word either). 

My wife does not get around as easily as she used to. Not that she “got around” like you are thinking, but in the mobility sense not the, um, “social” sense. She will freely admit that she wasn't particularly graceful to begin with but now it's a little bit unpredictable. 

In addition to her physical limitations, my wife has an occasional brain fog that accompanies her fibromyalgia and other assorted issues. While sometimes it can be challenging, it can also be amusing and we do our best to work around it. Most of the time, a conversation with my wife is pretty routine. Other times it is akin to playing the lightning round of the $64,000 Pyramid with someone who doesn't speak the language. She will try to explain things to me as simply as possible and I try to figure it out like there is a prize at the end. 

An example is when I told her a sports figure was involved in a fatal accident.

“So and so died in a motorcycle accident,” I said.

“Oh my God, I hope he's okay!”

“Just go to bed, Sweetie. He's dead. I don't think he's going to recover from that.”

A few years ago I asked her if she wanted to go out after dinner and see the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

“Tonight?” She asked.

“No,” I replied. “We can go tomorrow morning when it's sunny and we can see more.”

Most often, she forgets the words for things and comes up with her own. Upon seeing an ornate chandelier, my wife referred to it as “light danglies.” A fire sprinkler was a “fire ceiling water thing.” A funnel is a “big hole-little hole thingy.”

She has scrambled milk instead of eggs. She has swiped a 10 dollar bill in the credit card swipe at the gas pump. She was in a restaurant and asked for “white shaky stuff” when she wanted the salt. 

You undoubtedly have remembered the first paragraph and are feeling guilty for laughing or even smiling. Don't. We have embraced this part of our lives and are looking at it with humor and grace. 

As I have mentioned before in this column, the world doesn't give us much to laugh at these days, so we have to find the humor in something. For every day when she can't move her hands or when she can barely stand, she finds something to laugh at. Some days, it's frustrating and other days it's funny. When it's difficult, we remind each other that it's not the end of the world. When it's ridiculous, we take it and run with it. She contributed to the column this week, offering up anecdotes and such.

I asked for her permission when I thought of the idea for this week's column and she cheerfully agreed. Even if she didn't, I could tell her she did. She wouldn't remember anyway.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.