Life under the thumb

February 19, 2014 By: Bjorn Rembacken

A couple of years ago, I was invited to spend a long weekend in an African city.

It was part of an initiative to teach endoscopy to the locals. Anticipating trouble, I cautiously announced to my wife that this “would provide a great opportunity to see some of the marvellous continent.” My wife agreed: “Yes this is a great opportunity, just a shame that you will NOT be going!” She continued, “it’s far too dangerous and what these poor people need is clean water and a comprehensive vaccination programme not blooming endoscopies!” As a paediatrician, my wife felt that she could speak with some authority on the needs of Africa. “And goats, lots of goats”, I retorted remembering a friend who on getting married declined wedding presents but accepted donations of goats.

One of my friends thought that I gave in far too easily. “You know, if you allow your wife to cocoon you like this, with ever tighter wraps, you’ll suffocate”. I was somewhat taken aback. For me, defiance was unthinkable but this guy seemed to do as he pleased with impunity!

Living with a formidable wife and three strong daughters, I had been outnumbered for more than a decade. Furthermore, I spent every working day in the company of women.

Last year I concluded that the testosterone levels at home needed a boost. I bought a 50Kg male brute of a dog. At the previous owners, he used to bark gruffly at passing cars. Sadly he quickly adapted to his new surroundings and within three weeks, the dog stopped barking and became frightened of umbrellas, balloons and plastic bags. I don’t blame the poor dog, fear was inevitable. I am still OK with balloons and umbrellas but I have become afraid of my wife. After 30 years I have even come to believe that it’s the secret behind a long and successful marriage.

About the author

Bjorn Rembacken is at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK. He was born in Sweden and qualified from Leicester University in 1987. He undertook his postgraduate education in Leicester and in Leeds. His MD was dedicated to inflammatory bowel disease. Dr Rembacken was appointed Consultant Gastroenterologist, Honorary Lecturer at Leeds University and Endoscopy Training Lead in 2005. Follow Bjorn on Twitter @Bjorn_Rembacken



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