Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"...in sickness and in health"

Well we are winding down the old year. Tetsu has the day off and we will do things like address cards, clean up a bit more, do some serious grocery shopping and go pick up some pounded rice from my pear orchard friends.

This morning Tetsu and I were talking about how these past few years he has been in pretty good health. That sounds like he's been in poor health which is and is not true. Tetsu is plagued with gout. There were some end-of-the-year/New Years when I wondered if we'd make it through another year of marriage just because he was miserable and I was such a terrible nurse.

Tetsu developed gout when he was in his early 20s, not long after he met me. I sometimes wondered if I was the cause! For any of you who don't know, gout usually only strikes males, is worsened by a high caloric diet, flairs up on occasions of stress, is often associated with heavy drinking, and runs in the family. Well, Tetsu is a non-drinker so that leaves diet and stress and family. I hope I'm not the cause of stress though one could accuse me of cooking less than healthy food (hey, I cook ANY food and people are happy!) but Tetsu's brother also has gout and his father had rheumatism (a similar ailment to gout) so we mark Tetsu's gout up to heredity.

ANYWAY, miserable is a mild world for describing Tetsu when he has gout. In Japanese it is called tsu-fu- which means "wind pain" and just people walking by him would cause bursts of irritation from Tetsu. (He was miserable but he was also miserable to live with!) For some reason he would usually be afflicted in the winter and before the kids were born I would have to enlist a neighbor to help me get him to a hospital. (He's a big guy.) Almost every New Year saw Tetsu laid up on the sofa with pain killers and an angry look on his face that said "BEWARE OF ME!" We permanently borrowed a pair of crutches from Mrs. Furui's family just so Tetsu could get around in the house and at work and one year he was hospitalized for two weeks during the holidays. I do recall that Takumi grudgingly took over many winter jobs such as shoveling snow, cleaning out neighborhood gutters and climbing up on the roof to relieve me of some of Tetsu's chores which was a blessing in disguise.

But for some years now Tetsu takes medication that seems to just right for him and he hasn't had a gout attack in at least 5 years. He is SO happy he hasn't had to suffer through that. I am SO happy that my mettle as a nurse isn't being tested. Makes me wonder about those marriage vows of "...in sickness and in health."

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