Are you supposed to drop everything when you hear your spouse puking?

A little while ago, I was downstairs eating my “dinner” (I’m on a very odd schedule). In fact, I was on my first bite, when I heard the bedroom door open.

Followed immediately by the sound of vomiting.

Well, I was really hungry, didn’t want to lose my appetite, and, most importantly, have always believed that puking people are best left alone for the moment. I mean, what can you really do for them until they’ve stopped? I myself despise being asked “Are you all right?” when I’m so obviously not, and can’t answer anyway.

So I continued gobbling, and, when I heard the bathroom door squeak, called out, “Sweetie, are you okay?”

In response, Mr. Rilch staggered downstairs to get water from the fridge. After ascertaining that it hadn’t been the pizza or the cookies (both of which I made, and he praised highly, so I would be crestfallen to find that they were lethal), I followed him back upstairs. I stroked his forehead, soothed him with endearments, and generally babied him until he told me he was okay to go back to sleep.

Then and only then did he start griping at me for not having come upstairs immediately. The explanation I gave above was met only with a sarcastic projection of cops not responding to our frantic call about a break-in because “well, ma’am, our blood sugar was low”.

I think he’s really upset, but I don’t know how he can claim I don’t care. I did all that stuff for him, and I was and am genuinely concerned, even if he’s not impressed with my way of showing it.

So my question is: Are you supposed to drop everything and immediately rush to the side of a puking spouse? I would assume an exception would be made for pregnant wives, but perhaps not. But in this case, was I right or wrong?

If I heard Mrs Phoenix puking, I sure as hell would drop everything I was doing.

I would and have, but mrsIteki has since made clear that if she is throwing up, leave her alone.

Violently ill people should be left alone. I want to be left alone when I am sick; why would I want the one I love to suffer as well?

I, too was lambasted for leaving the house at the last tummy flu incident. (But I brought back Ginger Ale!!!) Apparently I was needed to provide comfort and consolation to a 6’3" 210 pounder who is well known for drinking too much tequila, hurling, then downing more.

I apologized. But next virus, I am out the door again, and ready to face the consequences of my abandonment with no remorse.

(If sick person is very weak or might need medical attention, exceptions, of course)

It depends on how expected it is. If it’s in the 5th hour of the 24 hour stomach flu, and it’s not the first time your spouse has thrown up, I’d say it’s not a rush to his aid offense. At that point, I’m usually at the leave me alone and let me die phase of things. If, however, it’s not expected, then I’d say at least an immediate call of “Are you all right?” is required, although I’d bet the answer will be “No.”

As for leaving the house, doing so for an hour or two to run errands is fine, especially if the errands include picking up ginger in some form or another (it’s good for nausea). Doing so for a week-long vacation is not. Doing so for a weekend away is acceptable only if it’s planned in advance and I’m relatively certain you won’t come home to a corpse who died of an terrible disease.

I can’t picture a situation in which a light backrub after throwing up would not be acceptable, but then again I’ve never married, so what do I know?


I think that this is the best course. Drop everything, unless you and your SO have talked about it before. I know I would go to my girlfreind immediately, but if she didn’t want me there, I’m gone.

Yeah, personally I hate when others witness those moments, but how do they know until it comes up?

I also can’t stand to witness somebody else, but one or two of my girlfriends used to get very pissed if I didn’t “help out”, which I gather meant “hold her hair.” Yuck.

There is only one hard and fast rule: Apparently, you are supposed to drop everything and rush to his aid. Ain’t life grand.

Well, gosh, like so many other things, it depends.

Dropping stuff and rushing to see what’s up has some merit, and might be a good first choice if you aren’t sure of the individual’s wishes. It says “Yes, I heard you puking and I do care that you’re ill”. Doesn’t mean you have to crowd the person – maybe >knock< >knock< on the door with a “Do you need help?” would work.

Me, I like to know the husband cares enough to investigate unusual rude noises and maybe rub my shoulders, but that’s me.

If someone might be weak and unsteady on their feet, definitely go see and offer assistance in moving back to bed or wherever.

Hmm… well, even if they like to puke in private it wouldn’t hurt to take a quick peek, to make sure it’s JUST puking.

But avoid dumb questions like “Are you sick?” Yes, obviously the person heaving into the porcelin god is sick, that’s why they’re puking. DUH!


That reminds me of similar story. My father in law, who is an avid golfer, returned from a round one day after shooting his first hole-in-one (yeah, first, he has three now). He walked in the door only to find that my mother in law was having a horrible migraine. He had a choice: he could ask her how she was doing, or he culd tell her about his hole-in-one. Can you guess which he chose? :wink:

I’m definitely in the “leave me alone while I’m puking” camp. Though, I’d maybe holler “let me know if you need me”.


What noise? I don’t hear a thing.


If only to grab the camera!

Let me guess: when Mr. Rilch was a kid, his mother always came running the instant she heard him being sick.
Since you didn’t do this, you must not love him as much as mommy.

Yes. I don’t always go all the way in the bathroom and watch though. I go right then and stand near enough to make sympathetic noises and offer help. Our master bathroom is spacious, but it has tiny little closet that just has the toilet in it and a door. Two adults don’t really fit in there anyway, so I don’t really have to go in the room with him. We both gag at the site of vomit anyway, so it’s hardly a help to stand there gagging while they retch.

Children are a different matter,
Ellis Dee mentioned “holding hair back”. I have to say that, when I am truly deeply ill and my mom is around, this is a great deal of comfort. I’ve always had very long hair and when I was very little (and also a year ago last spring when I was so ill) she would hold my hair and offer a cool damp cloth while I heaved. Having had boys not girls, I’ve never really held their hair, but when they were little I, if I heard them retch I would always try to be right there with a damp cloth and a gentle sympathetic hand on the back.

I’d suggest at least finding a stopping point real soon and going to check things out, preferably with a damp cloth and a glass of water so they can rinse out their mouth. I mean, there’s puking and there’s puking. When I’ve been puking, I’m too wobbly to trust myself to walk back to bed, and the last thing I want to have to do is find the energy to yell for Dr.J to come help me.

He doesn’t ask if I’m okay, as I’m clearly not at the moment, but he asks if I think I’m going to be all right (basically, if I’m just sick, or if I think there’s something truly bad going on). And he usually offers to fetch me prescription antiemetics as well as any soup/cracker/drink items I might want.

If my fiance were puking, I’d probably go over, stand a respectable distance outside the door, knock, and say, “Sweetie, are you okay?” I mean, obviously I know he isn’t okay if he’s puking, but that’s not the point. Saying that is basically an announcement of “okay, I’m here to take care of you now.” Watching vomiting doesn’t squick me out all that badly, so it’d be no biggie.

If I were the one worshipping the technicolor yawn gods, though, I’d only want someone there to maybe hold my hair (though I usually can get that myself). I would want my SO to be there afterwards, sure, but having him there while I’m actively puking would be unnecessary. However, when I’m sick, I get way cranky, so I might react the way your husband did out of sheer crankiness, but I’d apologize later.

I don’t like being on my own when Im ill. Last time I was ill I was throwing up at 5am every half hour untill about 10am. My fella only got up the first time, and that was to bring me a glass of water. The rest of the time he just left me to it, and basically made fun everytime I got back from throwing up. I need sympathy when I’m ill!!!

extremely personal opinion only, but anybody who makes fun of someone during/after repeated bouts of vomiting DESERVES to get puked on.
can’t say the issue has come up too often between hubby and i. however, i have come to realize over the years that expecting excessive amounts or shows of support whenever i’m ill or injured is highly likely to result in disappointment. conversely, if HE’s sick, he’s obviously dying and should be fussed over.

<< gross overgeneralization alert! >> men can be extremely myopic regarding any sickness other than their own. << /gross overgeneralization alert! >> :rolleyes:

Had I actually been ill he wouldn’t have made fun. In fact he’s lovely and extreamly careing when I’m ill. It was just becasue I was hungover (worst hangover of my life, took me 2 days to recover) that he was making fun. But I think I should have puked on him anyway.:wink: