Thursday, February 23, 2012
I know, I know. Could that...BE a more depressing post title? [snicker]
So last night John was the sickest he's been since that time he nearly died in Texas on the book tour, and I spent the hours before dawn sitting by him in the dark, changing the cold packs on his forehead, watching him breathe, and generally trying not to panic.
Today he's better. He has a bad ear infection and strep throat and tells me everything still hurts, but the fever broke at dawn so at least he's back in his right mind.
Last night that fever was so high he started hallucinating, and I found him shivering violently under two heavy blankets. 'Til then I didn't think it was all that serious; he'd been to the doctor that afternoon and started some antibiotics for a run-of-the-mill ear infection. No biggie, right? But then his teeth started chattering and he kept telling me he had to save some soldier in WWII, which I can only assume is what you get when you mix a high fever with too much Downton Abbey and Borderlands. That degenerated into gibberish: he would walk into my office and deliver an earnest, pressing speech, but none of the words coming out made sense.
I discovered it's very lonely when your spouse is konked out and helpless like that. See, I'm not really the caregiver in our relationship; John is. He prides himself on looking out for me, and I'm used to his constant presence and strength. I think that's why Texas was such a traumatic experience: I've become so spoiled that I honestly don't know how to function without John. We go everywhere together, and do everything together. The only times we're apart are when John runs out to pick up dinner - and to be honest, that's how we like it. We've worked together since our first wedding anniversary back in 1999. We tell our friends that we're "happily codependent." That may not be healthy for some people, but it works for us. We just need each other.
So in Dallas, when John was admitted at the ER, I was like a little kid lost in the big city. Things like hailing a cab or changing hotels became these huge, terrifying tasks, made even worse by the knowledge of how truly pathetic I was on my own.
I'd like to say I discovered untapped wells of hidden strength, and emerged a better person for it. The truth is those days are nothing but a blur of white-hot terror in my memory. I got through it, but not well.
Last night, all those feelings of inadequacy and fear came rushing back. Today they seem unfounded, and maybe even a bit silly, but I wanted to talk about them anyway. And since I don't have a therapist, you guys are filling in. Hope you don't mind. (I'm picturing you as a crack psychological SWAT team led by Craig Ferguson, Liz Lemon, and that sweet old guy who did Admiral Ackbar's voice. Because yes, that's my therapy dream team. Which probably proves I need a real one, but this is SO much cheaper.)
Thanks for "listening," and hug your loved ones today, guys.
P.S. Oh, and BEWARE THE CON CRUD. Seriously. Purell is your friend.
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