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Andrea Langworthy's column: For my Prince Charming

My husband recently had back surgery. He’s doing well, taking laps around the house with his shiny blue walker and standing more straight and tall than he has in years.

He’s supposed to move around a lot. In fact, the day after his surgery, the nurses had him make three double-lap trips from his room to their station and back. “It was quite a distance,” said my spouse, a former marathon runner.

My husband was in Rochester for 72 hours. His son was with him. My younger sister gave up her weekend to stay with me. She did the dishes and ran errands. Put meals together so I would be rested to do the same when my husband returned.

She and I moved some things around in the kitchen so I could reach them more easily when I fixed dinner. Making meals is something I had stopped doing because my husband had taken over kitchen duty during the six weeks he had been unable to work because of his back.

Long before my hubby’s departure to the hospital, we followed the surgeon’s advice to “get (our) ducks in a row.” Knowing he wouldn’t be driving for a while, and because I no longer can, my husband stocked up on a month’s worth of paper products.

We filled our freezer with soup. Arranged for neighbors to set out our garbage and recycling bins. The same supportive neighbors who agreed to put the newspapers where I could get to them every morning. We had new wills written, signed and witnessed “just in case.”

My sister left a few hours before my husband and stepson returned. A few hours for me to think about what was ahead and realize a few of our ducks were missing from the line. I made a to-do list so I could ask my stepson for help.

That’s when it hit me. As my mother would have said, “hit me like a ton of bricks.” My husband had been doing everything around the house.

It started a couple of years ago when he inched closer to the seven-decade mark. He changed to a three-quarter work week so he could be home to help with dinner. He started out chopping and cutting vegetables. Advanced to making rice. Pretty soon, he was putting together entire meals. He learned to do laundry and slowly graduated to doing all of it.

Unlike me, leaving a few dishes in the sink or on the counter after dinner bugged him so he got in the habit of loading the dishwasher and running it every night so he could empty it in the morning.

Doing errands became his specialty. After some hit and miss selections, he learned the art of selecting greeting cards and gift bags. All the while, I sat on my royal throne dictating regal edicts.

It’s my turn now and all I can say is, “Heal quickly, Honey. Even with a freezer full of food, we could easily starve to death.