I know there’s lots of drama and plenty of outraged moral judgment when it comes to marrying a younger Filipina, but here’s a problem I never anticipated.
For the past week Janet has been complaining about her fingers. They swell and get itchy after she works. The first day I had to nearly force her to take an Advil (she hates medicines) which did the trick in relieving the swelling. I assumed she’d just been overdoing it at work.
Janet works hard and I am very proud of her. She recently was promoted to Asst. Manager in her department and I believe the recognition was directly correlated to her outworking most of her American counterparts, who are in the main, entitled and lazy. I won’t say they are also dumb, because that would be insulting 🙂
So it certainly occurred to me that she had overdone it at work and she never complains. She routinely cuts or burns herself at work. At night she shows me her wounds like a badge of honor. At first I was appalled, later I just assumed my young wife was a bit of a klutz, and finally I grew to accept the almost daily marks demonstrating her hard work and perseverance.
So, when she complained about swollen hands I didn’t much worry. Janet was mostly upset about the fact that the swollen fingers would not allow her to wear her wedding ring and joked that someone might assume she was “available.”
But on Friday she called me at work. The fingers were much worse. I decided to come home then and told her I would pick up some Benadryl on my way. The itchy finger symptom made me think of allergies.
Sure enough her fingers were more swollen, there were some lesions on them and they were itchy as hell. Topical Benadryl cream relieved some of the itch but by Saturday morning she asked to go to the doctor. We had tried to determine whether she was using latex gloves at work, since Dr. Dave was still diagnosing an allergic reaction, but were unable to get a confirmation one way or the other. So off to the clinic we went with me still thinking that some kind of allergy would be discovered.
No docs were working at the clinic on Saturday and we got a young, but competent sounding Physician’s Assistant. “I don’t think it’s an allergy,” she said. “The blisters are a dead giveaway. It’s a virus.”
Janet got scared but the PA reassured her. “Every American child gets this virus and once you get it you are immune.”
I reminded the PA that Janet had never been an American child.
She continued, “Sometimes it’s on the hands, feet or inside the mouth. Since it’s a virus not bacteria there’s nothing to do but get through it. If the Benadryl or Advil help great. Otherwise it should go away in a few days.”
We were relieved it wasn’t an allergy to latex and Janet was glad she could return to work but a bit embarrassed that she had a child’s disease. The literature the PA gave us about it constantly referred to what the parent could do to relieve the child’s symptoms. My child bride kept slathering on the Benadryl cream for a day or two before declaring success.
On Monday I returned to work. The friendly, young barista (maybe 21) at the cafe always asks me about how my weekend was while she makes my mocha. I told her the story about my wife with the childhood virus.
“How old’s your wife? ” she asked.
I didn’t hesitate, “Twenty six.”
We both showed remarkable control: she didn’t blink and I didn’t crack up.
BTW, other than this recent incident, I have yet to find any disadvantage to having a “child bride.” Hopefully Janet hasn’t found much of a disadvantage to having a childish husband.