No, I am not referring to the snazzy ’31 melodrama starring Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable nor the Marvel comic book of the same name. I am confessing my paltry efforts to serve Annette as she seeks recovery after surgery (and now healing from my hapless ‘night nursing’.)

I may be many things but ‘helpful’ fails to make the top 25. I’m not practical in the least; the Comiskey credo for fixing things is to push and press until the gadget either gives or shatters. Lucky Annette!

When she calendared her procedure, we both wondered how she might fare under my care. Would this bind or break us? Scorecard thus far: C+

Day #1: Annette goes under the knife for the first time since Sam’s birth–the last of four C-sections in ’87. I manage to be in the right places, cheering her on as she is whisked into oblivion and present in the room when she arrives groggy, nearly incoherent. When she comes to, the nurse asked her (as they now must by law) if she has been abused to which Annette answered: ‘only by my husband’s humor.’ Ouch. I recovered in time to fetch her pudding and ginger ale.

Day #3: Annette gets home fine but tires of pudding and ginger ale. I whip up a strange combination of greens culled from several bags in the bottom bin of the frig then add a Trader Jo’s grain blend. When some slopped to the floor, even the dogs refused to eat it. Isn’t that biblical? Annette settled for my fantastic yogurt bowl with blackberries.

Day #4: The flowers keep coming. As it is 25 degrees out, tulips and lilies and roses are a welcomed break in the gray but honestly, when the altar flowers from Christ Church arrived and more than filled the room’s only available corner, it looked like Annette was being memorialized. As she lay there sleeping, dignified by silence, I thought of why I love her more now than ever.

She suffers well and recovers better by doing everything the doc asks. She follows every label and takes every walk required. She does not complain and seems genuinely concerned when yours truly gets struck down by the flu. No matter. Over these days, I am motivated by Annette’s gorgeous resilience—how for the last 36 years she got up and served this family when she felt like slime. Bravo.

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