How Covid-19 tested our marriage 

A young pregnant woman sitting on bed holding a trash can, feeling nauseous during pregnancy as her man comforts her.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Out of all this, I have gained a unique appreciation of hubby.
  • Even the most annoying of his pet peeves, no longer get to me - for now at least.

It is not clear whether Mum was born without a sense of smell or if she lost it early in life. I remember hearing stories about how someone else would tell her to check the baby for a diaper change, or to check burning food because she could not smell the tell-tale signs.

We often made fun of her disability. By a weird coincidence, I married a man whose sense of smell is so limited that he does not quite get the scent of his aftershave. For hubby to smell something, it has to be strong and possibly pungent.

Sharp sense of smell

Unlike hubby or my late mum, I have a sharp sense of smell. I therefore immediately suspected Covid-19 when one evening, I could not smell the mosquito repellent cream as I smeared on my face and arms. 

“Can you smell this thing?” I asked hubby, extending the bottle of the cream to him. 

“I can smell it from here,” he replied.

Whole day’s sleep

I rushed to the bathroom. Nope, I could not smell my lotion either, nor his shaving cream, not even the mouthwash.

Earlier in the day, I had been exhausted, and I remember remarking to hubby that I needed a whole day’s sleep. 

“But you have spent the whole day sleeping on the seat.” 

Right, I had curled on a sofa reading a novel but feeling so tired that even turning a page was a herculean task.

The following day, I still had an ogre of fatigue and a stubborn headache. By the evening, every symptom was amplified. The headache was a nasty migraine accompanied by body chills. 

“Either I am pregnant, have malaria or Covid.” 

“We need to get you to a hospital,” hubby had said, not looking too enthusiastic about either of the options.

The doctor was forthright. 

“The symptoms are indicative of a viral infection – suggestive of Covid -19.”

We did the test two days later though I had already started self-isolating. Two days after testing, the results came back reading positive.

Hubby finally- and hastily - vacated the bedroom, all bravado and conjugal rights discussion shelved.

Thankfully, five days later, he and the rest of the household were tested, and no one else was infected. 

The vow, for better or worse, seems to lilt off our tongues without much thought to it, until the day we are faced with the part ‘for worse.’ Hubby lived this vow in those fourteen days of isolation. I took a seat by the window of our bedroom, where I worked from.

He kept his distance as he catered to my every need. The hot concoctions never ran out. He bought half a sack of lemons, which should explain, in case you were wondering why there is a shortage of lemons in the market.

At some point, my taste and appetite also took a hike. He brought my favourite pepper soup from a restaurant we used to frequent pre-Covid. Everything tasted like mashakura (bland), but he sat at his safe corner until I cleared my meals.

Cold with fear

While I had mild symptoms, the virus was nastiest between day ten to thirteen of infection. We probably have information overload by now, but once this virus is in your system, there is this little devil that makes you go cold with fear.

Friends called, and I remember one telling me, “Stay positive.” “You don’t say!” I replied. I could not speak for long because of an irritating throaty cough.

Out of all this, I have gained a unique appreciation of hubby. Even the most annoying of his pet peeves, no longer get to me - for now at least.

All I remember is him sitting at his safe corner, chatting with me about everyday mundane things to keep my mind at ease.

How can I forget that he served me breakfast in bed for two weeks? Fine, it took Covid-19, but still! I am grateful that I have now been cleared of the virus.

While they are all making fun of my lost sense of smell and diminished taste, there is a lesson for marriage from the Covid-19 experience.

Learn to appreciate more than to complain. His rough stubble because of unshaved beard is now a non-issue.

So what if he uses my towel and leaves it soaking? 

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage.


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