Thursday, June 30, 2016


By: George Lee Cunningham


My wife Carmela would make a great nurse, even though she would hate it.

She hates hospitals, she hates all the messy blood and ooze, and most of all she hates sick people. Even with her own husband, after a couple of days, her patience wears thin. It’s like are you going to get better now, or are you just going to keep laying around, moaning about how bad you feel?WP_20160625_003

I will tell you this. The answer to that question is not sarcasm: Oh I think I will lay around for a few more days, coughing and throwing up and moaning about how bad I feel. The correct answer is to stop feeling sorry for yourself, start moving your butt, and start feeling better.

The truth is that the tough-love school of nursing works. Pretty soon, you are feeling better, if for no other reason than you want to get strong enough to slap her dirty rotten face before you die. Of course, I exaggerate, but only a little.

When push comes to shove, Carmela rises to the occasion. She does what is required, whatever that is, however disgusting, nasty, and scary it may be. It’s one of many reasons that I love her.

The latest such incident came right before we left for vacation. I went to my dermatologist for – among other things – a pre-cancer growth on the back of my left hand. She sprayed the growth with liquid nitrogen, which is supposed to freeze it and cause it to fall off.  Two days later, when we left for vacation, I had the mother-of-all boils on the back of my hand where she had sprayed it.

It was ugly and gross, but I figured that just meant it was getting ready to fall off and leave behind a patch of pristine skin. So off we went, cutting across the desert in weather hot enough to make a scorpion eat his own tail.

But the mother-of-all blisters didn’t go away. By Flagstaff, Arizona, that night, it was bigger than ever, and by Gallup, New Mexico, it was beginning to leak. It was time for some hotel-room surgery. Carmela got some alcohol wipes from the First Aid kit, sterilized a safety pin and a pair of scissors, and laid out a towel and began to operate. It was absolutely disgusting, but Carmela is very brave.

What Carmela has taught me in life is that you have to approach your problems straight on. You don’t whine about it or complain, you just clench your jaw and do it.

Did it hurt? A little bit, but how could I feel sorry for myself, when Carmela was being so brave? The back of my hand is still scarred and ugly, but the big boil is gone and so is the pain.

What it boils down to is this: In life, you do what you have to do, no matter how much you hate it.

Thank you for that insight, my dear.



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