The "Boring" Couple
Sometimes the relationship is long standing, the kind that was there long before anybody remembered, the couple that is not known by the individuals, but by the “double names.” Instead of Dave. It is Dave and Suzy. It isn’t Anna, but Anna and Mike. When two people are paired together by both of their names, that couple has been together for a very long time.
These homes would give the illusion of steadiness, maybe even a little bit on the boring side. I would suggest it isn’t a stifled life, but rather it is one of security. The hearth that has a distinctive smell, the same pictures of the kids from toddlers through marriage. The newer frames are gathering the next generation. There isn’t one black and white, with a twinge of yellow. These are mostly done by a digital camera, and often with a pricey theme park, or mascot from the expensive pizza place that lurks like a thief around the parents who are willing to buy terrible pizzas for way too much money. Times change.
All the years I was in nursing, I saw many of these couples that had been together for longer than they were ever young, and independent. They have seen the gamut of family living. The turkey that just flew out of the oven, taking flight on Thanksgiving day, landing on the floor at the feet of guests, a little too conspicuously to use the “five second rule.” They buried parents together, bailed kids out of the drunk tank when they were supposed to be at a school event. They had to pay for the principal’s car that had sugar poured in the gas tank by the angry son who got suspended for cheating. Then expelled.
They have seen about everything life can dish out. Somehow they have stayed the course into becoming senior citizens. The couple still remains two people who have developed, osmosed into one. These were my favorite. Yet, it took me several years before I understood the dynamics, and would know how to obtain the information I needed. It was always the wife. She was the key, almost always.
Everybody who visits the emergency room, no matter the reason have to answer the same questions. Who is the primary doctor? What medicines, allergies? Any surgeries, and on it goes. I used to ask the patient. If it was the husband, I would say his name, and proceed with the information gathering process that could be very quick, or it was like pulling teeth.
It would go like this. “Mr. Smith, have you ever had surgery?”
“No,” he would say with confidence. I would start to type in his answer.
“Yes, you have.” Mrs. Smith would barely look up from her crossword. “He has had his appendix out, his gallbladder out, and a kidney stone last year.”
I would look at Mr. Smith with a question mark on my face. He really didn’t remember having so many body parts removed? Okay, everybody gets a mulligan. “Mr. Smith, any medicines?”
“Nope.” Sounded sure. I would get my mouse to the box to click, when it would happen again.
“Oh David, you are on that heart medicine after your heart attack. He is on medicine for his blood pressure, his cholesterol, and a baby aspirin.” Back to 4 down.
Right then I stopped asking Mr. Smith. Did he think she was handing him candy in those pill bottles with his name on it?
“Mrs. Smith, has he any other health problems?”
She started to rattle off so many conditions I couldn’t keep up. He just sat there with a surprised look on his face. He had forgotten. He didn’t need to remember because he had the best wife in the world. Men tend to wind down, take life one day at a time, catered to by the loving spouse who knows so much more about his body that the man himself.
Yes, I would see the opposite occur. But it would usually be a wife with a lengthy illness, and the husband has been her nurse. Then, he would get the questions.
When these couples finished with my station, I was always amazed and a little envious. To have a person who loves so much, they take the responsibility of the other’s health as their mission in life. Even when they don’t have perfect health, they put the other first.
These couples may seem boring. Their lives routine, not the fun of the parties any longer. Tired, and in bed by 9pm, after their favorite shows. Both in their own chairs, maybe a glass of sweet iced tea that only she can make the southern way. The house that few look at twice.
Yet, it is the best kept secret on the block. The couple with one name that had been two separate names now just blended into one. These people have the best of all worlds. They have learned that the day, and the newest problem will be over when the sun comes up early the next day. The Smith’s? They are sitting in quiet drinking a strong cup of coffee watching the seasons slowly change into the next. Very few words expressed, yet if he needed anything she would know it before he does. That is marriage in true success. The little piece of heaven we all strive for. A piece we should all be so lucky to have in our basket of jewels. True happiness.
I was in Mexico last week. I am a little behind in writing back, but I will be catching up. Have the best day. Let’s talk tomorrow. I will bring the coffee. Ruth