In sickness and in health

I learned an important lesson today. One that I’m sure if I had read up on properly, I might not have had to find out by personal experience. I just got an instant pot for Christmas, finally, and while I’ve used it plenty of times since then, last night I decided to make my first attempt at chicken soup. I usually reserve my trusty crock-pot for such endeavors; I make a mean chicken noodle soup and beef & potato stew; but wanted to try out a chicken soup in my shiny new instant pot. So I did what we all do, consulted the internet for a good chicken noodle soup instant pot recipe. What could go wrong?

A lot.

I’ve researched lots of instant pot recipes before this and successfully made everything from bean and chili dishes to homemade tomato spaghetti sauce. My favorite website to get recipes from is allrecipes.com because I feel like most of the recipes are easy to follow on their app and having them easily accessible on my iPad or phone just can’t be beat. So when I was searching for a chicken soup recipe, I was surprised to find that most recipes called for the chicken breast to be thrown into the pot, raw and whole, as in not cut and not sautéed. I found this to be very strange because even when making my spaghetti sauce the ground beef was to be fully cooked beforehand. But what did I know? The internet knows best, right?

Wrong.

I continued through with the recipe, taking care to wash and cut my vegetables properly, sauteeing my vegetables first before throwing in the chicken and seasoning my broth. Set the cooking mode for Soups and even threw in an extra 5 minutes to the timer. If you own an instant pot, you know that the timer is really more of an estimate than an exact time that your food will be ready. When my timer went off I vented the steam and then started shredding the chicken like the recipe stated. As I did so, I thought the chicken towards the center of the breast looked a tiny bit pink, but the recipe did not give instructions on what to do if this happened. So I threw the instant pot on high and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes. Coming back, I examined the chicken and all looked well so I assumed that the chicken finished cooking through. What I didn’t stop to think was that the instant pot cooks meat alot differently than your average stove, and just because it’s not pink doesn’t mean it was cooked at the proper temperature. Whoops! Little did I know I was in for the ride of my life.

I suspected nothing, because that soup was good. Fast forward to this morning and I immediately regretted this life decision. From the moment I woke up I just knew it wasn’t going to be a good day. I felt nauseous upon sitting up in bed, and with vague thoughts of “Oh no, did I finally catch the Rona?”, I tried to go about my morning routine. That was a big mistake. By 9:30 I was doubled over in pain; sharp stabbing pains in my abdomen, nausea, and chills all hit me suddenly and I found myself attempting to walk down the hall and call out to my husband, but I couldn’t make it that far. I ended up on the floor of the hallway in the fetal position, calling out to my husband for help, but not before being greeted by my very scared toddler trying to figure out what was going on. When my husband came into the room we argued back and forth on whether I needed to go to the hospital (was it worth the risk with COVID?) but before we could decide, the vomiting hit me.

I won’t go into details about how sick I got, but when it starts coming out both ends, you know it’s food poisoning. Although it has not been confirmed, I’m almost positive I got salmonella poisoning from my instant pot chicken soup. The next few hours consisted of my husband lovingly tending to my every need in addition to our toddler’s. I was finally able to get some water, tylenol, and plain rice into my system and although I think I’m through the worst of it, I know I still have a few hours or days where it will be touch-and-go.

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgment.

Psalm 112:5

I really want to talk about the pure goodness of my husband here, because I literally would not have survived today without him. Without his gentle coaxing and reminders to drink water, every time I needed my herbal heating pad warmed up to soothe my stomach cramping, making my food (and the convincing it took to get me to actually eat it), and keeping my toddler at bay so I could rest; it would have been way worse having to handle all of that on my own. It’s days like these that take me back to my wedding day and the vows that we exchanged. We say those vows as a standard, part of every wedding. What would a wedding be without the “in sickness and in health, til death do you part?” part of the vows? Call me old-fashioned, but I take vows very seriously, not just words that are said to get through a ceremony you pay thousands of dollars for only to get divorced a year later. So to see those vows put into action makes my heart soar to great heights.

I’ve heard of plenty of women receiving praise for being a good wife or being what’s referred to as a “Proverbs 31 Woman” but I rarely see praise for good husbands. Modern society has taught us to believe that when your husband doesn’t cheat on you or doesn’t beat you, then he’s a good husband. I believe that being a good husband goes far beyond that, and there’s scripture backing that up.

He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

Ephesians 5:28-30

There are many things that make a man a good husband and a good person. He is patient and kind. He’s forgiving and understanding. He works hard and provides for his family. He’s a leader who knows when to take charge and a follower who knows when to listen. He takes pride in his work but most importantly acknowledges God for everything he has. These are the qualities that I look for in a husband and thankfully are all qualities that I see in my husband. I think it is so important to know these things before marriage because when you stand before all of your loved ones and God and say those vows, you should mean them. You should mean it when you say that you promise to love them and stand by them, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do you part. More importantly, you shouldn’t just mean those vows when you say them, you should mean them and apply them every day of your lives together. I thank God every day for the wonderful man that is my husband.

The moral of this story is to always cook your chicken in the oven with a proper meat thermometer and maybe not trust all these modern appliances so much. The quickest way isn’t always the best way. All joking aside though, cherish the person you love, the one who stays by your side through thick and thin and loves you even when you hand them a bag of your puke.

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