Thursday, August 03, 2006

So, How's Your Wife?

“How’s your wife?” A question that I always dread to hear and be asked with. Why? You would definitely ask. Why would I shy away from answering such question? Is it that difficult to answer? Do I have a problem in my married life? How can such an innocent and well-meaning inquiry cause me lots of fear and unspoken anxiety? But there’s really more to it than just that simple question. I cannot answer that question without lying or being sarcastic… or worst – I’ll just breakdown.

When asked such question, whether it’ll be about a wife, husband, brother, sister or parents – one would simply answer “They’re doing great!” “He’s got thinner/bigger now than before.” Or just simply “she’s fine.” I can’t answer as simple as that! I cannot say she’s fine, just for the sake of answering the question, when in fact she’s not! And more often than not, the person who asked that question knows it! Are you getting me? Am I even making sense to you? Why should you ask someone how they are doing? When you know for a fact how they are doing! Yes, I know they meant well, they meant no harm. Maybe it’s just me. But that’s it! It’s me they’re asking!

I could say, “Oh, she’s still breathing, thank heavens!” or “What a stupid question! You know how she is!” or “I really can’t tell, but when I left her today she’s still alive” or maybe “Well let’s see…, she’s been having dialysis for more than two years now due to her stubborn kidney, missing some sessions sometimes. She’s got ascites, her tummy is bulging due to excess fluid in her body that keeps on accumulating. She can’t eat too much, nay – she can’t even drink too much lest her tummy will become bigger. She feels pain all over her body every now and then, sometimes she can’t move. Her blood pressure is 160/90, or 170/90, one time it even reached 200/100! She really can’t move around that much because of the heavy luggage she carries in her stomach, and other things that comes along with her kidney problem. Sometimes she has trouble breathing. Other than those, she’s perfectly fine!”

Do you see what I mean? Does it make sense to you now? How such a simple, innocent question could bring me so much anxiety, just because I wouldn’t know how to answer it. Do I take it against the person who asked the question? Certainly not! Why should I? Like I said, I know they meant well. I just wish I wouldn’t be asked that question. What should they say instead? I don’t know! I really can’t tell them what to say, could I? Would I rather that they wouldn’t talk to me? Sometimes I feel that way, but then again it’s not really about me. They are just concern about my wife’s condition, and of course, the icebreaker sentence would always be “How’s your wife?”

No matter how hard I really try to be polite or restrain myself from reacting, sometimes I feel it still shows on my face. Can’t blame me, I am entitled to my own feelings in as much as they are entitled to say or ask anything they want. So, is there really a problem then? Most definitely! I think the question really is, “Do you really want to know how she is doing?”

So the next time I am asked, “How’s your wife?” and I did not respond, please – don’t repeat the question.

August 2, 2006
9:18 AM

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