Tuesday, March 01, 2011

sick house, take two


She hates to be sick, more than anyone I know. She tells me today that she secretly fears she’ll die, like Beth in Little Women, so she doesn’t want to rest in the dark, by herself. I wrap her in a big hug and assure her she will wake, but if she doesn’t rest, she’ll be sick much longer. Life—this very hour—is so hard to let go.

And she can never sleep when it’s daylight, she says. I remind her she is saying this at 8:30 a.m., and she’s often slept past nine or even ten in the morning.

But that was different, she says. And I suppose that’s true. Still I walk her into her room and set her up a little nest, pulling the dark curtain, kissing her on the forehead, and shutting the door.

Her brother is an excellent patient: he sleeps until the sickness is over, and he does not fight it. This illness took five hard days of recovery for him, with rest. I was unpacking and cleaning the house, and he was no trouble. I resign myself: she will require a week of care, too, and my work will be set aside. I wouldn't trade her care to anyone else, this morning.

The day is so striking, gorgeous blue and clear after yesterday’s downpour and gray. I slowly trace out the steps of my breakfast dance, knowing she hears me set the skillet on the stove, light the fire under it, gather the saucer. I'm still learning my way around, calculating where the cooking utensils should go. I don’t dare check on her—she will throw me a list of cranky complaints, and wake herself up all over again with protests.

After breakfast, my phone rings and I head upstairs to my writing corner. I listen for her footsteps, poor girl. She was just home for a week with February break, and she was hovering near boredom. She resents this flu for taking her away from her school friends.

I’ve written so little. Moving—I’d forgotten how this feels, how unsettling it is to un-settle from one dwelling, how long it takes to settle in another. I wake happy, every day, to look out the window and see for miles, or to examine the fog. I wake rested—the new bed is a good change. And I wake hungry for this hour or so of quiet.

So far, no sound of stirring below. I will sneak around quietly and make coffee, and see if I can dig into writing a little more.  

5 comments:

Rockinthegrass (Pete Grassow) said...

keep writing!

Scrappy Grams said...

Taking care of a sick loved one can be tiring, partly because of concern. I hope you rest well at night. Hugs to you for your week of being nurse.

Ann Kroeker said...

"She secretly fears she’ll die, like Beth in Little Women..."


I can only imagine what it took for her to pull that up and out to share.

Sometimes I wish I could climb into my kids' heads and know what they're thinking, what they fear, what they wonder about, what they wish they could say, but can't.

Scrappy Grams said...

Taking time to do whatever, whenever you can get it, is good medicine for you. Wishes for restful nights is sent your way.

Positive Thoughts said...
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