HOB often threatens a rebuttal to my posts in which I describe some of his less-than-admirable (nutty) behavior. Normally I can distract him with a burrito or a full complement of compliments about his big, strong, manly arm muscles.
However, this time the man actually sat down and wrote his response to my last post about his behavior during medical mishaps. I publish it here for your perusal and include this photo showing how strong the man truly is. Each of those pigeons weighed fifty pounds.
Hello Betty fans! This is HOB (Husband Of Betty).
What a life I have living with The Muse! She weaves a tale of intrigue, captivating her audience while offering the impression of a woman harboring great conviction and emotional balance during these tough medical times.
While I can say that the facts are correct and she is all of what you read, there are some elements that are left out, perhaps due to perception, that will likely change your understanding of the story of my response to medical issues.
Let me explain my background – and Betty’s, to show how different our young lives were with regard to the reaction to illness. First of all let me mention that my father was the one who set the tone in my own family regarding medical matters. He was an only child, and his mother was very protective. Some would say over-protective. Betty would label those kinds of families hypochondriacs. His parents cherished every part of his anatomy and adorned the halls of their home with his pictures.
My father's mother was suspicious of every pimple and every rash that expressed the portent of something tragic. Each of these blemishes could potentially steal little Richard (father of HOB) from that protected world. Also my father’s family always had good health insurance, and surprisingly an abundance of life insurance, perhaps because death had been a common companion at some point in their history. All of this excessive concern with health was transmitted to HOB at a very young age, and it was reinforced at all times.
Contrast that to Betty’s life on the farm in which she was constantly attacked by germs (recall the cow incident, or the chicken attack, or even egg gathering). She lived out in the country, far away from doctors, and her family had no health insurance. Every doctor’s visit and every treated illness would extract a substantial price, literally taking food from the table.
In addition, there were five relatively healthy children to carry on the family tradition - and should one (the youngest and smallest Betty for example) unexpectedly fall into an uncovered well, or be impaled while driving the tractor at age 13, or be disabled from a horse kick when cleaning a stall, or even having some lingering malaise from drinking water from the well that the county inspector had condemned due to high levels of toxins in 1963, it really was a small matter compared to the larger scope of life. They had an abundance of children. Some level of suffering and disability was to be accepted. In fact, not much attention was given to tragedies. They occurred, were acknowledged and then the family moved on. Why linger in despair when there was so much to do?
Given our divergent backgrounds and radically different approaches to illness, the appearance of our first child – and at that time the ONE child –Sonny Boy, it took great effort for HOB to think like Betty , and what he called her laissez-faire attitude. During the early stages of parenting when HOB discovered there was no urine in the diaper, which for caring parents should have alerted them to imminent danger that was so efficiently expressed in The Medical Encyclopedia of Child Health, HOB had to affirm the only possible diagnosis listed – that of ACUTE KIDNEY FAILURE. This was medical evidence of the highest order.
Also, let me point out that Betty took some glee in her calmness during these incidents. You might remember how HOB began to turn white when he saw the skin being pierced by the curved needle? Betty may have forgotten to mention to her readers that moments before she had pointed to a significant volume of fresh blood pooling on the emergency room floor from a nearby trauma patient who was screaming in agony behind a translucent curtain divider. HOB was mixing the images in his mind of Sonny Boy, the trauma patient nearby, and also he was remembering his own not-so-insignificant blood-filled traumas from childhood.
Before you pass judgment on HOB, you need key background information that will allow a glimpse into HOB’s mind and the mind of Betty.
HOB’s mind was seasoned by years of training with an ultra vigilant parent. In contrast, Betty’s learned approach to the inevitable cycles of life was honed in the stark crucible of limited resources and her parent’s practical nature.
Between the two extremes you will find a middle road and a measure of balance.