Sure enough, the pain subsided and I finally fell asleep. But when I told my Chinese husband about it the next day, he looked as red as the inflammation on my body.
“Why did you do that?” he admonished me while hovering over the sink, cleaning up the leftover dishes.
“I just couldn’t get to sleep. It was past 4am,” I explained.
“You’re too impulsive!” he frowned, shaking his head in disgust as he scrubbed a plate.
“But it’s not as if I take pain killers every single day!” I asserted. “In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took them. You know I don’t believe in abusing Western medicines. Besides, not being able to sleep is probably much worse than taking the medicine, don’t you think?”
John put his scrubber down for a moment, and then turned to me with his hand on his waist. “Mmmm. Maybe it’s just that I’m not socialized to take things like this.”
It was about the closest thing to “sorry” I was going to get out of him.
But as I thought about it, I realized it wasn’t just pain killers. Hadn’t he protested when, during my flu last year, I begged him for nighttime cold medicine that helped me sleep? Didn’t he even get suspicious when I suggested he try a sports rub after pulling a muscle? Or tried disinfecting his wounds with alcohol? I think the answer would be just the same — that he just wasn’t socialized to do things like that for these problems.