Love in Sickness and in Health


 By Cindy Argiento

On my wedding day when I vowed to love my husband in sickness and health, I didn’t give it much thought. Over the span of our 31-year marriage, I’ve had time to give it some thought … and have concluded when it comes to being sick, there is a double standard.

At the onset of a cold, with a scratchy throat making its debut, my husband is most interesting. He’ll rub his throat and tie a scarf around it to ward off a sudden chill. I don’t think there’s cause for concern since it’s August and 100 degrees outside. Then he buys enough cough drops that some become Halloween treats and, come Christmas, stocking stuffers.

Next comes the headache and fever accompanied with a thermometer and a blanket (that matches the scarf) thrown over the shoulders. When the sneezing starts, his suffering becomes loud and somewhat annoying to family members trying to watch television. Lucky for us, this is when he takes to his sick bed, where he keeps the thermometer in his mouth like an all-day sucker.

In bed, my husband is surrounded by his medicine bottles (arranged alphabetically) and a magical force shield that the kids can’t penetrate. Kids do not wake him from a deep slumber to ask if he’s cooking dinner or if they should starve to death. Kids don’t wake him to sign a report card and tell him the F he thinks he sees may be from the delusions he’s suffering due to his high fever. Kids don’t spill juice behind the refrigerator and leave it for the ants to lick up because he claimed he was “too sick” to move the fridge and clean it up. Kids don’t take a picture of him in bed and use it for the Christmas family photo with the caption, “You think your holidays are ugly?”

When my husband emerges from his death cave, he’s greeted with a parade, marching band and confetti cannons. Me? I’m greeted with a list of groceries needed.

On my way out the door to the supermarket, I grab my husband’s scarf (covered in confetti) in case there’s a sudden chill in the air.

Cindy Argiento is a freelance writer. She is a public speaker for her book “Deal With Life’s Stress With ‘A Little Humor.’” To contact her or to book her for your next event, go to


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