My husband and I have had a friendly rivalry when it comes to illness. If I got the sniffles, Prince Jared would have a major allergy attack. If I had a headache, Prince Jared would have "neanderthal forehead" from swollen sinuses. If I had a cold, Prince Jared would get the flu, and so on. We would joke about the age-old stereotype described in Gone With the Wind about how a man "roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger," and a woman "muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him." (Although, since both of our children are adopted, I didn't have to worry about noisy childbirth.) As tough as Prince Jared is, I still give him a hard time about the day he walked past a mounted policeman and his allergies to the horse drove him to bed for the entire evening. He pampers me enough most of the time, though, that I guess he's entitled to the rare wimpy sick husband moment.
We are also very much in sync with each other, such that if I get sick, he is not far behind, and we make it a competition to see who is the most pitiful.
Last year, when we were at Disneyworld, my brother (Dr.) Jim showed off his biopsy vision skills at the resort pool. One brief glance (without glasses on) at Jared's back was enough for Jim to recommend that Jared get one of his moles checked out. Jared speedily complied with this recommendation ten months later. Our primary care doctor did a punch biopsy, and after a long wait the pathology report noted irregularities and recommended further excision.
My heart jumped in my throat at the news. My grandfather died from melanoma cancer, which spread to his brain. And of course, I figured this must be Prince Jared trying to one-up me in the sicko contest. Part of me immediately scanned for something to hang onto. I felt a little grateful that I could at least empathize with him if he had to endure cancer treatment, because it was painful to picture him going through that scary process. Part of me selfishly acknowledged that this might make the whole "will he remarry" question a moot one. (It's not like my original fantasy of dying together in our sleep, holding hands, while our octogenarian children and their great-grandchildren wave goodbye, but at least it's not like the prospective second wife buzzards could be circling, either.) My main concerns were for his comfort and for our children. Luckily my brother Mike and his wife Melanie are already set up as the perfect guardians if we both bite the big one, but still -- we didn't make these children; we are here to raise them. We need to hang around here for another nineteen years or so.
It was a tough weekend, waiting for Jared to see a specialist this afternoon. But fortunately the specialist reviewed the pathology report and put it in proper context. Not cancerous; just pre-cancerous. Next week they will remove the whole lesion and biopsy it again just to make sure. But everything looks okay. Jim reviewed the report, too, and said the same thing. He also added that this was the kind of pathology report he expected when he glanced (without glasses) at Jared's back at the pool last year. He really should put "biopsy vision" on his resume. ( or go by Dr. Jim, M.D., B.V.)
I win! Not only do I get to keep my title as "Most Pitiful", I also get to keep my prince around!