The Other Patient.

I awoke to the sound of my name. I took a deep breath and turned over. Something was very wrong. I took in the features of his face. His eyes were squinted, his head slowly moving side to side, his hands pulled to his face. He was in agony. I bolted upright in the bed. “Babes help me, my back!” I ran to the kitchen and made a quick ice pack and brought it back to him. He managed to roll over on his side so that I could numb the pain with the ice. Some time ago while we were dating he had injured his back whilst trying to lift a bag of cement. I figured his back was acting up. It had left him flat on his back for two days. The coldness gave him some relief and he drifted off to sleep. I headed to the kitchen to cook our lunch, after which I got ready for work. I gently woke him so that I could ask if there was anything he wanted me to do before I left for work. He didn’t believe in manmade medicines and wouldn’t hear of me staying home with him.

When I returned home he was walking. He was very crooked but he was managing to move around. We exchanged customary pleasantries. Periodically throughout the evening I continued to apply ice to his back. He was in no fit state to resume work so I stopped by the pharmacy on the way home the next day to see if I could find a natural pain remedy. Sure enough I found one on the shelf, it was even locally made. However, the question was would it work? When I handed it to him he inspected the product and seemed satisfied with the choice.

Over the following two weeks there was total peace. I supported him in every way possible although he was insistent in doing most things for himself. I applied the herbal lotion every morning and evening and the occasional ice pack. He was so serene and calm. I wasn’t criticised about anything. There were no sarcastic comments. He never even picked a fight. Our evenings took on a new persona. We read together, had meaningful conversations. I felt reconnected to this man who had become so alien. I was falling in love all over again. This was the man I had said “I do” to.

I wasn’t sure if it was a sin so I started my prayer with a caveat. If I had to choose between the man who was physically healthy and emotionally deplete and the man who was physically inter-dependant and emotionally astute, I would choose the latter any day! In sickness and in health right? Till death do us part right? Yeah, I could definitely do that. My charmer had reappeared. I was elated.

He abandoned me quicker than he had resurfaced. I still hadn’t realised yet that the charmer simply didn’t exist. It was just a ploy to ensnare me, but I’m free from the trickster now. Lord, I trust you, “You are my God”. My life is in your hands, Psalm 31: 14 & 15.

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