You tend to find it sort of funny when OTHER people get sick, perversely enough. When my man got sick the other day I felt so entertained by the sight of his coat just thrown on the newel post when I got back from the store, his dress shirt thrown on the bureau, a puddle of socks beside the bed. “He never leaves his clothes like this! What a rascal!” I thought.
But then there he was in the bed, still wearing his pants, and his belt, still clinking with pocket-change though under the covers. He had that Walking Dead look like the zombies in the gory AMC series. (Well, he lacked the missing lower jaw and the bloody drool – but he sure had that 1000-yard stare.)
I took his temp: 102.3. “You have to take something!” I cried and ran to the bathroom and ransacked the cabinets. Nothing in there of a helpful nature, not a single thing but eye shadow and mustache bleach. Then I ran to the other bathroom where six months ago I found a bottle of Children’s Tylenol. that had expired in 1989. 1989! I did finally manage to locate a lone packet of Theraflu.
“But this is no good,” I said, reading the fine print. “It expired in 2003!”
“Close enough!” he said and I thought that was wonderfully funny. He drank the mixture down – and slept all that night and the whole next morning – right up until the time we had planned to drive north to find out if our place by the lake had turned into a solid cube of ice with this last cold snap.
We shouldn’t go,” I said.
“It’ll be fine,” he said.
“Ok but I’m driving,” I said and I did drive the hour and 45 minutes while he lay in the front seat like the dead guy in Weekend At Bernie’s.
Once there he got right in the bed again, this time still wearing his coat. (Couldn’t blame him; the house was freezing.)
I took his temp. 102.1. I thought we had other meds here that maybe didn’t go back to 1989 and so we did. I got some of them into him. As I approached the bed he held one hand out.
“Death of a Pope,” was all I could think. He looked like Pope John XXII always looked, one hand out, blessing everything in sight the way he did – only of course David looks nothing like that short fat saint of a man. (Except he’s half Italian so actually there IS a slight resemblance. See? )
It was so sad being up there at that joyful family place there with him sick. He spoke not a word for 48 hours. This is widowhood I thought, and felt so bleak watching stupid Friday night TV and trying to keep my spirits up . It was a frank relief when ten o’clock came and I could sneak into bed beside him.
I killed the last light and darkness leaped into the room and encircled us. Strangely, I felt better then, there in the woods, in winter, the cloaking night all around us, the two of us and the deer and the trundling possum.
“Let go,” i told myself and for once in my life I did, and was instantly asleep and dreaming.