From where I sit I can see five piles of dirty laundry, all clothes and bedding I soiled myself this week. There is a pile of used-up toilet paper, at least ten inches high, next to my bed. And another sad pile just to my left in the actual bed. There are two books, a heating pad, and a stuffed lamb my mom once gave me for Easter that I’ve started sleeping with after serious touch deprivation. My dog is currently laying on the bed too, on her side, her pink belly exposed and bobbing up and down like one of those blobs at the lake, marking where boats can’t safely travel. She has been my sole living companion this week and, as such, has looked into my eyes and watched me cry, cough, vomit, and generally tell her how sad I am about the whole thing.
The thing is I’ve been sick for a week. If we’re being official about it, today marks day number eight. Whatever horrific virus gripped Micah, then Tyler, then Zion in the last 4 weeks, respectively, decided to grip me. Then it dug it’s fangs all the way into my jugular just to be sure I wouldn’t escape. I did not escape. Instead, I battled for six long days before finally realizing this thing would not let go of me. At that point I relented and rode in the car shivering as Jeremy drove me to the hospital.
In the dark days I didn’t have much stamina for reading, texting, or even making through a Netflix show. But, the upside: I did get a chance to remember what it feels like to have a 103 fever for a whole week straight. I also got re-aquainted with the sounds of ringing in my ears, of vomit going into a bucket, and countless unrequited nose-blowing attempts. I was able to remember the sights of spotty vision and dark delirium, the feeling of my belly retching, and the way it feels to poop the bed. Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen (although let’s be honest, definitely mostly ladies will read this and many of them may have already stopped when I said poop. The mothers in the room have already dealt in too much poop, they’ve had it up to here with poop, and my mentioning poop five times now in just a few lines will not have helped things), I pooped the bed. Twice. As my dad always said, wise and dapper gentleman that he was with his heavily starched shirts, hair slick with pomade, always-clean car, and a heavenly cloud of Polo cologne surrounding him, “Never trust a fart.”
Well, I trusted one. And I was so blindingly ill that, even though I knew I was going to need help, I was too embarrassed to ask for it. I somehow managed to get myself to the bathroom, into the hot shower which only ratcheted up the fever, causing me to shake uncontrollably as I prayed to God to grow an arm out of the sky and come down and clean my ass, please. It was not my finest hour. I sent a text to Jeremy, who has been sleeping downstairs and keeping all the children miles away from me all week (hence my resorting to sleeping with a stuffed animal like a preschooler), and said “I need clean sheets.” He said okay but didn’t bring them for what felt like an eternity. So then I had to send another, “Like, now.” I was hoping we could be adults about it and both pretend not to know, but he opened the door to a scent I can only imagine, a pile of evidence laying at the foot of the bed, and his shivering wife with the look of shame in her eyes. You know the look. The one your dog gives you after you’ve caught it eating its own poop or licking its genitals a little too vigorously and you say the dog’s name and it looks up at you like, “I know.. I’m disappointed in me, too.” That was me. Poopy wet dog.
A day or two later it happened again. I say a day or two because it’s all blurred together into one congealed mass of time, like a jello mold of bad, sad, lonely, delirious, disgusting, green wobbly experiences. Jeremy tells me things happened this week. Big things. Things about presidents and impeachments and other stuff. I wasn’t reading the news or looking at Twitter. I was at the hospital having two liter bags of fluid go into me at once. And two EKG’s because hospitals just don’t know what to do with people with heart conditions. And meds. Oh the glorious meds. I don’t do narcotics so they managed to find me a non-narcotic that made the worst of the pain go away and, for a little while, I had hope again.
Jeremy sat in my room at the hospital in what looked like the least comfortable chair ever invented as I shivered blanket-less and crying (they don’t give blankets to the people with high fevers, turns out. I’m looking into a full refund.) and he told me I was beautiful. This was after almost a week of seeing my skin turn grey and – oh yeah, super sexy bonus – with pinkeye in both eyes. My hair was so greasy you could have deep-fried something in there and my eyes were starting to swell shut. I looked back at him, the tall handsome showered man in a collared shirt who puts all of his fecal waste in the right place, yet who has seen me poop the bed twice in one week and thought, “This is going to be great for our sex life.”
I can just hear the dirty talk now.
“I’m a dirty girl”
“Yeah, you are, so dirty.”
“Yeah, I’m so dirty I shit the bed and it goes everywhere.”
P.s. For now, I’m on the upswing. I started eating solids again. Who knew a few bites of applesauce could taste so good? Next might be a rice cake. Wish me luck.
thanks to dear friend, Nate Kaiser, for the photograph.