Monday, August 22, 2011

Not my best day

Just like with any couple, there are things that Alix is good at and things that I'm good at.  I remember to buy toilet paper before we have to start using tissues, for example, and she calls the super when the pipes are so hot they're melting the paint off of them.  Unfortunately, when you're on your own, you don't get to divvy up the chores and beg the other person to do the ones you hate to do.  Which is why I haven't called the super about the kitchen faucet that has slowed to a trickle over the last three days.  It's also why I spent fifteen minutes clipping Tucker's claws tonight.  Alix is cool, calm, and efficient when she's on pedicure duty.  I am, in a word, not.  I have to wrap Tucker in a towel and it takes me at least five minutes to wrangle each toe from the growling, writhing, terry-cloth-and-cat bundle clutched on my lap.  Against all my wishes, I needed to take on this onerous task tonight because our screen is in danger of ripping down the middle if Tucker gets his claws stuck in it one more time when he's pursuing our fire escape pigeons.  So there I am, squinting in the dim light, sweat pouring down my face, hands shaking too much to hold the clippers, idly wondering how high my fever is now, and I actually hear how crazy I am:
"No, Rupert, stop, STOP! STOP JUMPING ON ME!!"
"Tucker, NO! Just. Hold. Still. Please."
"Rupert, I swear to god, if you don't sit down right now, I will put you in your crate.  Don't think I won't!"
"Tucker, you don't act like this with your other mother, so don't start this with me. Just HOLD STILL!"
and so on
until we were done
and this day got the best of me
and I burst into tears.

I tried for four days to convince myself that a constant fever, a headache that never eased up, and an ever-worsening cough were just a common flu.  This morning though, when the dim sunrise made me wince and set my eyes streaming, I knew it was time to give up the ghost.  Three appointments later, and the top contenders for a diagnosis are pneumonia and meningitis.  I never thought I'd be praying to have pneumonia, but that's exactly what I'm doing.  The countdown is on for tomorrow morning: if I don't feel better by then, it's off to the hospital for a lumbar puncture.  NOT FUN.

I've felt adrift and disoriented without Alix here, but today was the first day I felt truly lost and alone.  I rushed home in between my appointments to walk the dog and nearly passed out each time on the stairs.  I couldn't afford yet another cab ride at the end of the day so I had to take the forty-five minute subway trip home.  Thankfully, a kind and alarmed-looking gentleman gave me his seat after I sagged dangerously against the pole when I started to black out.  I talked to myself in the mirror for ten minutes tonight, convincing myself to eat dinner, knowing that my body needs nourishment in order to get better.  (That logic didn't sit well with the eating disorder, but I told it to go to hell, at least for tonight.)  I can't help thinking back to this time last year when Alix was sick and I took care of her.  I sat in the dark kitchen one night, too scared to sleep, and prayed silent, desperate pleas for her to get better.  I gently helped her from the bed to the bathroom and back.  I cooked up an enormous batch of chicken soup. I brought home trashy magazines from the pharmacy along with her medications.  I know (because I talked to her and she told me) that if she were here, she'd be doing all those things for me.  Not because she owes me, but because that's what you do for the person you love.  I desperately hope I don't need a lumbar puncture tomorrow.  Not because it will hurt.  But because I won't have anyone's hand to hold when it does.


Sarah said...

I'm so glad you went to the doctor, and I hope they make you better reallllllllllllly soon!! We're all holding your hand from far away..... xo

Holly said...

Cait, it sounds like you are doing a great job being temporarily on your "own." I can't imagine how challenging that would be--hope you feel better!


Duchess said...

Oh, my heart. I have been silently lurking and reading your blog, and just had to break my silence to tell you that we really are all here with you...I know its not as good as a hand that will squeeze back but we really, truly are with you.

Cait said...

Thank you all. Your words mean the world to me.