The vampire or couvade syndrome?

CapableDad was almost ready for surgery. We had talked to nurses and the doctor’s assistant who reviewed his medical history, got his IV in place and recorded his blood pressure. All that was left was a visit from the anesthesiologist.

She was a female doctor who was probably close to 60. She explained to us that she was going to give CapableDad some pain medication in his IV and then she would insert a needle into his neck to administer a pain block to his right shoulder.

She rubbed her hand along the side of his neck to show us the area where she would insert the needle.

“Ohhhh, he has a niiiiiice neck,” she said with a big smile. She felt his neck again. “Yes. He has a very nice neck.”

She looked at me and laughed. “Oh, we’re all vampires,” she said jokingly.

After she left the room, my husband and I both cracked up. It seemed like her laugh was just a little too sinister. Could it be that she really WAS a vampire?

And if not, can you imagine a male doctor making the same remark about a female patient? I’m not sure my husband would have thought it was funny if the tables were turned.

After the surgery, CapableDad said he couldn’t remember a thing about having a needle injected in his neck. He couldn’t even remember counting to 10. He said the anesthesiologist told him to lie down on something like a bean bag chair and said, “This isn’t going to be very com…fort…a……”

And that was it.

I was in the waiting room by then, but I think I know the exact moment the needle went in. I felt a sudden pain in my back. It was the unmistakable pain right in the spot where my epidural went in for each of my four C-sections. Although I have felt that pain once in a while during the last 11 years since our first child was born, I haven’t felt it in more than a year.

I have had that pain in my back almost constantly since CapableDad’s surgery last Thursday. I’ve also been ridiculously tired. While his super-powered pain medication often gives him extra energy, it seems that with each pill he takes, my grogginess grows.

What was going on with my extreme exhaustion and this pain in the back? I looked on the Internet for answers, and that’s when I came up with one possible explanation.

It’s a scientific fact (studied by scientists and PROVEN by medical professionals) that when someone you love goes through an extremely painful situation, you can also feel their pain. It happens most often to a husband during his wife’s pregnancy. You’ve probably seen those guys who grow a gut as large as their wife’s pregnant belly? Sometimes they have fantom labor pains, too.

They even have a name for it. Couvade Syndrome. That must be it. I diagnosed myself with this medical condition. I would need to take frequent naps, eat extra chocolate and take hot baths. That would be my only hope for a cure.

But as I thought about it more, I realized there could be another possible cause.

My husband has been in so much pain that he’s only tried to take a shower one time. His shoulder is still covered in Sharpie marker where the doctor mapped out a diagram of his muscle structure on the outside of his arm. Just below that is the initial of the doctor and the anesthesiologist who both left their tattoos to make sure they operated on the correct side of his body.

Maybe she WAS a vampire after all. Or maybe it was voodoo. Was it just a coincidence that I felt that sharp pain at about the same moment she would have injected the needle in his neck? Could there be more to the fact I’ve been fighting illness and fatigue since we got home from the hospital?

I realized I needed to get rid of her markings.

I carefully took rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball and did my best to wipe away her initials still there in Sharpie marker.

My back is feeling better already.

Or maybe I just need a nap.


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