How To Nurse A Sick Man Back To Health

My honey bunny threw out his back this weekend moving heavy boxes into our new apartment and literally couldn’t move unassisted for 48 hours. Despite my lack of qualifications for the job, I became the de facto meal-maker, bath-giver, walker-to-the-bathroom, and all around nursemaid.

Luckily for us both, I passed the Not Nurse Ratched test with flying colors. He’s back on his feet, albeit in a shuffle-y, wobble-y kind of way.

I’ve heard that saying that if a couple really wants test its compatibility, they should go on a week long vacation to a foreign country together. But actually, I think one partner nursing the other back to health is a better indication! Surprise, surprise, you don’t need a nurse’s uniform (though he’d probably like that) to take care of a sick dude. But you do need love, patience…and a bulls**t detector.

  1. In the Absence Of Actual Medical Knowledge, Sympathetic Cooing Goes A Long Way: Damned if I know the relative merits of Motrin vs. Advil, or the safety concerns of ingesting several-years-old codeine pills. But furrowing my brow worriedly and exclaiming, “Poor baby!” seemed to alleviate some pain. Back rubbing also helped.
  2. Prepare For Things To Get Really Intimate: My guy crawled to the loo while I was preoccupied on a phone call for work and, of course, pulled his already-hurt back muscles the wrong way. I found him writhing on the hallway floor in pain and asked why he didn’t just wait for me to get off the phone. He said he didn’t want to gross me out by asking for my help with the potty. I said I could handle it and that if we ever have kids some day, he’s going to have to handle some “gross” bodily functions, too. Ultimately, I think he’s just too shy, but I made it clear that I find nothing about him or his body “gross.” Because, really, I don’t.
  3. It’s OK To Be Just A Smidge Bitchy If It’s For A Good Cause: The most frustrating part of the whole experience for me was how antsy he got about healing now now now. If I were forced onto my back for several days, I think I’d enjoy kicking back and watching daytime trash TV! But he kept trying to test the boundaries of his pain by crawling around, climbing up on the toilet by himself, etc. Just go slowly so you don’t hurt yourself again, I wanted to scream. Finally I straight out requested he “not do anything stupid, please.” I think fear of pissing me off kept him from potential further injury.
  4. A Healthy Libido Is A Positive Sign (I Think): If he makes a sad puppy face and asks you to give him a beej while he’s laid out in pain, good news! He is probably on the mend. (Or he could just be being a guy.)
  5. Know You Are Being Appreciated: As sweet as he thinks you are for taking such good care of him while he’s sick, you’ll realize that deep inside every guy is an adorable little boy who you don’t always get to see. One time while I was being a “nurse,” I was blogging in an armchair and my big toe started to tickle. I looked down and saw my guy had rolled onto his side, lifted himself up, and slowly, painfully crawled over to where I was sitting to give me a kiss on my foot. My heart melted into a puddle right then and there. He told me “thank you” a dozen times, but that one little kiss was the best.
  6. I hope I’m never so sick that my boyfriend needs to miss work, or work from home, to take care of me. But if that day ever comes, good thing I set the standard of taking-care-of-the-sicky so high.

    Do you have another other tips to add on how to nurse a sick man back to health?

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