When Sam fell ill he was like a child.
If he had a temperature he would sit with the thermometer sticking out of his mouth permanently, if I did not hide it from him. This was a big joke with the kids.
Daddy has found the thermometer, Mummy.
It’s stuck in his mouth!
Like an extra tooth, they would laugh.
He was always rushing around working and he hated being ill and confined to bed. Every small illness that he had would have a long list of ominous differential diagnosis with all sorts of pessimistic prognosis. The usually cheerful Sam would lie in bed moaning, Susie Susie, never letting me out of sight. He thought I was totally unsympathetic when I used to laugh in his face and tell him to snap out of it.
When the kids fell ill, Sam would fall completely to pieces. He would sit with the kids and hold their hand wincing with them with every injection they received. If they had blood tests done, the procedures hurt him more. He would not go the dentist with them even if it was only for a routine cleaning and scaling. If the kids needed mollycoddling they would go to him. If they came to me they knew that I would say “Get up and have a bath, you’ll feel better. Go on get up ”
When we find out we were going to have a baby, we bought ourselves the Baby Bible ” Dr. Spock” and I used to read bits from it to him lying on our narrow bed in the MIQ, the Mens Internes Quarters. One night I was reading aloud the chapter on feeding the baby. He was awake when I was reading about breast feeding and nipple care. Somewhere during my monotone he fell asleep. Make a cruciate incision on the nipple , I continued to read, not taking my eyes off the page. Suddenly I heard a gasp beside me and I turned around to see Sam sitting up in bed , in stark horror. ” OMG, it will be so painful, Susie” he said, his face contorted in pain . He did not realise that I had left the section on breast feeding and had moved on to rubber nipples on glass feeding bottles. He always winced when he thought the kids or I were in pain.
Our pain was always his.