Saturday, January 25, 2014
For the first time in days, I ate lunch. Specifically, I ate a “Mediterranean sandwich” – fragrant, thick slices of focaccia containing brightly seasoned roasted vegetables, feta cheese, briny and sharp, thinly sliced red onion. Olive oil, sweet and fruity, oozed onto my hands with each bite. I ate every last crumb of that sandwich provided in a boxed lunch at a meeting I attended, and then sneakily licked a finger or two. The boys and I have spent most of the week in the clutches of a virulent stomach flu; for me, on top of a cough I’ve had for weeks. It felt great to have an appetite again.
On my way home from the meeting it became clear that I should not have eaten so much; I’ve barely recovered. Small waves of nausea came and went as I drove, tricking my body into thinking I was in the midst of chemotherapy once again, as nausea always does, even though it's been years. Everything kind of clenches inside, clamps down, resisting nausea and frailty and all of it with all my might and feeling just, well, bad. The body remembers. Just as every time I step into the hospital where Alexi works, I taste and smell the metallic residue of an IV.
When I got home, sidestepping a disagreement between Alexi and Cal, I lay down on the couch and started coughing, trying not to cough so hard I’d pee my pants. When Nelly indicated she needed to be let outside and I opened the door to the deck for her, I left it open. Crisp air streamed in and swept over me as I rested on the sun-warmed couch. The occasional seagull gave a mournful cry. I relaxed into the moment for all it was, letting go of my resentment of Cal in his uncooperative state. Eventually, he went to his room and began making bracelets on his rainbow loom. Alexi went to work with Abbott at something on the computer.
After a spell I opened my eyes to watch the light flooding in intensify and deepen in color, then wane and fade into nonexistence. The boys, then Alexi, wandered down to find me. I made snacks for the boys – nobody was up for eating dinner – and Alexi wasn’t hungry. We piled under blankets and leaned into each other as we watched a few old episodes of Modern Family. There wasn’t enough energy for a movie. As we prepared to put the boys to bed, Alexi abruptly excused himself, suddenly sick.
Tomorrow the boys and I will undoubtedly be a bit more on the mend. Alexi will almost certainly stay in bed while we walk Nelly and amuse ourselves around the house. You never know what’s around the corner.