Last night I woke up to the sounds of my husband heaving.

Actually, I woke up before he started puking, because he was coughing quite noisily (likely what led to his unfortunate wee-hours-of-the-morning gagfest—sometimes he coughs so hard he accidentally pukes).

It makes sense that I woke up before he started throwing up, because I’ve never heard a person vomit as quietly as my husband.

Where I come from (a family with a history of histrionics), the only way to get any sort of sympathy (in the form of purple Gatorade and a free pass to lay in bed reading books all day) from being sick is by throwing up. And the only way to guarantee said sympathy from throwing up is to make sure everybody hears you throwing up.

So when we throw up, we do it loud. With gusto. BLEAHCH!

But I guess Poor Kyle’s family had different rules—maybe they were shamed from throwing up (heaven knows his mother is the master of inflicting shame), or maybe no amount of noisy heaving would allow them to stay home from school. I don’t know, I only pretend to be a good psychologist.

Whatever the reasons behind it, my husband throws up very quietly.

The first time I heard him throw up, I wasn’t sure if he was really throwing up or if he just had a bad case of liquidy poo from all that watermelon he’d eaten. The vagueness of the situation was kind of awkward for me (we had only been married a couple of months, you see); I didn’t know quite how to respond.

I mean, if he was throwing up, I knew exactly what to do: knock gently on the door, ask if he’s still conscious, if there’s anything I can get for him, and when he refuses, promptly prepare a warm washcloth to put on his forehead when he emerges and crawls back into bed. Later, make up a slice of toast with a little bit of butter and a cool (but not ice cold) glass of water. Later still, bring a tray to him in bed with a bowl of chicken soup (Lipton’s from a package, it’s the only kind that will do) and another glass of water plus two Vitamin C tablets and whatever other medicine he might agree to take. At some point, leave the house in sweatpants to buy a bottle of purple Gatorade.

Repeat until healed. (I should’ve been a nurse, I know.)

However. If it wasn’t vomit I’d just heard sloshing around from behind the bathroom door, but squirty poo instead, it would be really uncomfortable for me to knock on the door and ask my husband if he was okay, like, “Hi, Honey, it’s just me, and I’m just wondering if you are still conscious despite that massive load you just let loose.”

Y’know? Awkward.

Finally, though, my histrionic history got the best of me, and I had to know if he was all right. So after hovering by the bathroom door listening for signs of life (noting the occasional spit, indicating vomit aftershocks), I began my routine.

Are you okay? Did you throw up? Do you need me to get anything for you? Do you feel better? Do you think you’re sick or was it just something you ate? And so on and so forth.

Last night at 3:30 a.m. was no different. As I heard my husband’s cough grow more and more violent, my half-dazed mind was nevertheless conscious enough to think, “He’s gonna blow.”

And blow he did.

It just kept coming, and I felt so bad for him. (I feel bad for anyone who’s throwing up {never bad enough to wish it was me instead of them…just bad enough to wish it weren’t happening at all.})

When the worst of it was over, I asked in my most sympathetic voice, “Are you okay? Do you need anything?”

“No,” he said in that groany kind of voice that was actually shouting, “HELLS YES, WOMAN, I NEED A PURPLE GATORADE!”

I stumbled from bed, momentarily getting caught in the twisted sheets and tripping on the pillow I’d dropped to the floor on my side of the bed hours before. Heading to the kitchen, I opted to leave the lights off for the sanctity of my dreams, which might be preserved if I could remain half-asleep long enough to make it back to them, my dear old friends.

I felt my way around the kitchen, gathering all the necessities for a proper Heal My Husband kit: glass of water, nighttime Tylenol Cold and Flu, a couple of cough drops, and Vick’s Vapor Rub. (He refused all but the hard drugs, by the way.)

After dutifully administering to the sick and afflicted with as much sympathy as I could muster (really no small task considering I always assume he’s gotten sick by some negligence of his own, like not wearing socks when lurking around in the drafty basement, or forgoing a healthy, nutrient-packed lunch in favour of two vending machine Cokes and a chocolate bar for desert), I rolled back into bed and tried to recapture the remains of my dreams…

…something about finding a free gallon of milk in my mailbox sent by an anonymous donor (so thoughtful).

But all was lost. Not only could I not find my lost dreams, but I couldn’t even get back to sleep.

A few hours later, as I watched the red projected digital clock on our ceiling switch from 5:59 to 6:00, I thought to myself, “How on earth do women do this with two children? I can barely manage with the one.”

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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11 Responses to Gagged

  1. Alexa Mae says:

    Oh my gosh Camille! Your writing is so smooth and so intriguing. And of course I don’t have to tell you but I will, I laughed OUT LOUD once again. Only you, only you.
    It’s not fun, is it? Not at all. Even when you don’t have, you might as well because taking care of the sick drains you just as bad as the sick person themself.
    Love ya girl!

  2. Chloe says:

    Two or three or four children.
    I don’t know how they do it.
    Right now I’m the sick and afflicted, and I’ve ended sleeping on the sofa.
    Caring, huh?

  3. geevz says:

    Thank you for giving me the validation that purple gatorade, and purple only, is the most sought after beverage of cookie tossers. My husband thinks I’m crazy.

    Although I will admit to settling on blue if the situation demands. 150oz of it one day when the hubs appendix ordeal coincided with the initial baby growing process.

    You are a good wife. I’m pretty sure sleep would have helped me decide it was noisy poo.

  4. Alaina says:

    Aw, you sound like quite the Florence Nightengale…I wish you were taking care of me when I was sick b/c T isn’t as sympathetic! And I’m with you…my vomiting has to be painful and violent or else it’s not vomiting.

  5. DeAnna says:

    You kinda just learn to roll with it, at least that is how I do it. Knock on wood…I haven’t had too many pukey sickness in that last year. And when I do wake up to the unmistakable sounds, first thing I do is get the child to the bathroom, second I take some lovely non-drowsy Gravol (anti-nauseant) so that I don’t get sicker than I feel having just smelled puke & the ginger in it kinda wakes me up. Then for the sickie it’s Gravol (the drowsy kind) or Pepto in pill form, Gatorade/Ginger Ale & Soda Crackers. Hope you wake up to a better day tomorrow.

  6. chelsie says:

    I have gotten louder and louder the older i’ve gotten. I think it is because I am further away from my mom. When we were little, no matter how soft or what time in the morning my mom heard and was there holding my hair out of my face.

  7. Marilyn says:

    My husband was the same last night! Throwing up and everything. Except he throws up loud like me. I, unlike you, also slept through most of it. Bless you.

  8. HeatherPride says:

    You are an excellent wife, Camille!! I can remember once when I told my husband I was going in for surgery, and he asked me if I needed someone TO PICK ME UP FROM THE HOSPITAL. Also, there was that time I had pneumonia and begged him to stay home from work and not leave me home with a 2-year old, and then HE WENT TO WORK ANYWAY AND EVEN WORKED LATE. Yes. I know. It’s a miracle we’re still married.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear. Poor PK. I hope he feels better soon. You are a good wife. I’d probably just fall back asleep. Good on ya!

  10. Mikelle says:

    Haha. I wish my husband was quiet when he throws up. I think our neighbors (who aren’t even close to our house) can hear him!
    And, there are lots of sicknesses with 3 kids…someone almost always has a runny nose/cold, but at least the throwing up is less often.

  11. Julie P says:

    HAHA This made me crack up!!!

    But it’s true. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen my husband barf, and if he did he would want to be left alone until it was all over. He doesn’t really “need” me to be all “helpful” (though not really knowing how to cook, etc might have something to do with it…) I however, am like you. My favorite is when you start gagging to show everyone how sick you really are.

    BTW: And this is late: Thanks so much for the flower clip! It’s so pretty!!!! :)

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