“Shaan, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
I mashed my arm with my hand, screwed my eyes tight shut and tried not to curse out loud. “I’m fine Ruhi. It’s no big deal. Must be a pinched nerve or something like that. I’ve been banging on the keyboard way too much.” My attempted laugh came out sounding like a croak. My wife looked at me suspiciously but didn’t say anything. She examined my arm carefully and then when she didn’t see anything awry, massaged it gently. Then made me a new ice pack and forced me to swallow a couple of ibuprofens. She was taking care of me while it was supposed to be the other way around. Sorry mom-in-law!
I felt foolish and angry at myself as the pain abated again. But it left behind a strange tingling and numbness. I couldn’t feel the keyboard as well with my left hand as I could with my right. I couldn’t figure it out. I felt fine otherwise. It was more of an irritant than a concern.
I googled it. Pain in the elbow and arm. Tennis elbow. It was the first thing that showed up. Yeah that’s it!
“But you don’t play tennis.” Ruhi said, as she whisked the lemon dressing for the pasta salad I’d planned to make.
“Yeah, I don’t. I tinkered around a little in college. But this can happen to anyone. Anyone who does repetitive movements with their hands or arms, like using a computer mouse.”
“But you click the mouse with your right hand not left.” Ruhi pinned me down with her huge eyes.
I knew my wife was too smart for her own good, so I always armed myself with a few alternate arguments. This time unfortunately, I had only one. “Remember all the hammering I did hanging up all those pictures last weekend? That was a lot of work.”
Ruhi put the spatula down and shook her head, “Don’t try to fool me Shaan. You used your right hand for that”.
“I didn’t. I used my left. I’m ambidextrous. For godsake give me a break!” I was angry at all the quizzing but even more at my lies. I regretted it instantly when I saw her eyes well up. The poor girl was already going through a lot, she didn’t need any more bullshit. That too from me. But she pushed me away when I tried to hug her.
“I don’t trust you. Let’s get a doctor’s appointment. Actually, let’s go to the ER right now.”
The situation was getting out of hand. “No Ruhi please, listen to me. Let’s not get too excited here. This is a minor condition and the symptoms fit perfectly.” They didn’t. Not really. But I didn’t think that warranted a visit to the ER and the million- dollar testing that came along with it. Ruhi hesitated. “It will get better I’m sure. All I need is to take it easy for a bit and maybe get an elbow brace. I’ll drop by the pharmacy tomorrow.”
Ruhi shook her head. “No sir. We’re going right now.”
I capitulated. I was willing to give in to any of Ruhi’s demands if it meant avoiding the trip to the ER. Letting my wife get her way was according to me one of the pleasures of marriage. I watched as she picked a couple of braces–one for the elbow and another for the wrist (to cover all bases); then loaded the basket with a bottle of Aleve, pain relieving spray, local anesthetic patches, hot and cold packs, Aspercreme, and even some Epsom salt. I didn’t say a word. She looked satisfied and that’s all that mattered. And she was telling me she loved me. What else could I want. Then when she let me get a pint of Mediterranean Mint gelato it meant she wasn’t miffed with me anymore. I was grinning ear to ear by the time we left the store.
“Why don’t you put on the braces.”
“Can we wait till after dinner? It says here they’re supposed to be worn while sleeping.” Ruhi’s brow knot together. “The pain’s really not too bad right now.” That was true, it was the numbness annoying me now.
“All right.” Her mouth relaxed into a smile and she leaned over and pressed her lips onto mine. “After dinner then.”
But we’d barely got in a bite when Ruhi’s fork clattered on the table and I saw her eyes grow wide. I was halfway out of my chair and reaching for the phone when she said; “Shaan, can you call Dr. Shepherd? I think my water broke.”
Dr. Shepherd was Ruhi’s OB. She told us to head on to the hospital. She’d call ahead and get a room ready. I grabbed Ruhi’s overnight bag packed and ready for the situation while she changed. I helped her into the Jeep, and we embarked on the thirty-minute uphill drive to Estes, with me punching the horn at every blind turn. Our life wasn’t going to be the same again.
How did Shaan and Ruhi get here? Check out their back story in Inconvenient Relations and it’s sequel Now and Forever. Buy Links here.