2012.02.15 She may be nuts, but doesn't faze her husband

Written by David Green.

This was a week when grant writing for the library won out over column writing for the Observer. Here’s a repeat from March 30, 2005. It’s a little hard to believe that just seven years ago I was worrying about Maddie driving to Adrian and back. Now I get to worry about her hitch-hiking in New Zealand.

By Colleen Leddy

I’m surprised that nobody has said out loud, at least not to me anyway, how horrible I must be to live with. OK, 16-year-old Maddie hints at it on a regular basis. It’s true; recently, I’ve been in a heightened state of obnoxiousness. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I am aware of my shortcomings—so aware, in fact, that I can even give warning, “Look out!” I say. “I’m a witch with a capital B!”

Other times, I’m just plain disconnected with reality, and I put my poor youngest through the mill.

Maddie went to Adrian Saturday night, driving there without a grown-up in the vehicle for the first time, and I made her call me when she got there, when she left the first store, when she got to the mall, when she left the mall, when she got to the next store, when she left that store and then when she arrived back in the Morenci area at her boyfriend’s house.

She had insisted before leaving town that I was nuts for wanting her to call so much, but she did as she was told—over and over, all seven times. I think she was trying to teach me a lesson—after about the fourth call, I realized I was indeed nuts and jokingly said, “Quit calling so much!”

But that doesn’t concern me as much as this really weird psychosomatic thing I’ve got going on. Now in the past, (OK, I still do it.) I’ve read articles of a medical nature and when I read all the symptoms, I’m usually ticking them off in my head: yup, got that, got that too, uh huh, that sounds like me, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. David has seen me through heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lupus, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, fibroid tumors and a host of other ailments that I think, for a moment, have stricken me.

“It’s a wonder you’re not dead,” he said the other day when I read aloud the symptoms of yet another condition.

That’s nothing compared to what’s been happening lately. Maddie mentioned that her knee hurt after running at track practice. Later, she was chatting online with Rozee who was talking about the pain from her floating knee cap and whether she would be able to run track for Berea College this season. Not two minutes later, my knee started hurting.

And then, after David had been X-rayed for a frozen shoulder, my shoulder started to hurt.

Maybe it’s the full moons, maybe it’s pre-menopause, maybe it’s mid-life crisis, but I know that I’m going through a...well, let’s hope that’s all it is...a phase. It’s not just being way over-protective with the baby of the family or mirroring the pain of my family members—there’s my diminished mental capacity all around. But at least I’m going down in good company.

A couple of weeks ago, David was looking for a needle to sew a button on a favorite shirt. It’s a ratty looking shirt, not worth repairing in my estimation, but I guess he likes it enough to go to the trouble of fixing it. I think it’s just a reflection of my stressed out state that plants me firmly as a member of the throwaway society. I don’t really want to be associated with that contingent of Americans, but I find that I am making some really poor choices lately.

OK, I confess. It’s not just lately. For example, I’ve been secretly throwing away tomato sauce jars for some time now rather than washing them out and placing them in the recycle bin. But in our house, a jar of sauce sits awhile in the fridge before it’s totally consumed—long enough that it accumulates dried tomato matter around the rim, like stuff on a ketchup bottle. I just can’t get up the gumption to swipe the sponge around that goop. So when David isn’t looking, I toss the offenders in the garbage.

This is a major digression here, because I really was just going to mention how, when David was looking for the needles, I was only vaguely aware that he was going from room to room downstairs, looking in the likeliest needle havens and coming up empty.

“I think there are some noodles upstairs,” I said, completely unaware that I had substituted the word noodle for needle.

“I don’t need any noodles now,” David said without skipping a beat and headed upstairs.

He responded in a matter-of-fact way, as if perhaps, at some point in time he might be combing the house for noodles, but just not now.

It’s quite heartening, because when  my dementia really sets in, David won’t be fazed at all.

I just hope that’s a phase he never outgrows.

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