Well Watered

On Christmas, about midway through the day, I began to feel the angry slowburn of fever spreading through my chest, my neck, my head…seige of scalding red, crawling over my skin like an army. Then the cold chills hit. I piled on the blankets and shook for hours under them, bones vibrating, teeth like castanets. The mercury just climbed…till finally I was delirious. I began talking to my mom who materialized at the foot of the bed, begging her to help me. For hours, I pleaded with the helpless mirage, who just sat there shaking her gossamer head, as my brain boiled and broke with fever. Then I coughed into a tissue…pulled it away to see blood spreading through the fiber of the tissue. Lucidity briefly returned. Oh, this isn’t good. I called my parents and begged them to take the kids…my mom hearing the bewildered, weak tone of my voice immediately told me, “I’m worried about you… but…I worry about you all the time.” She agreed to take the kids. As I was hanging up the phone, she thought I had already hung up and I heard her voice tumbleweed through the frequency & quietly say, “I love you.” Or maybe I imagined it. It felt real, though….I swear I could feel a spot in my brain registering and lighting up, absorbing the rareness of the moment with chemical warmth…storing it in some file, some mental card catalogue to lovingly be fingered to dog-eared softness later, corners rounded by my needy fingers revisiting it.

The rest of the night was long. Visions of roses blooming in the snow all night. Claret dripping on a wedding dress. Queen Anne’s royal fingers pricked to tenderness and spoiling the lace. But in reality, it was all just blood spat into tissues, crossing through a desert of split lips, as my body burned.

The next morning I was too sick to even drive myself to urgent care. My ex had to drive me. After hours of waiting, they gave me a breathing treatment. Then they sent me to x-rays… taking glowing images of 2 pink balloons struggling to expand around the sea of fluid inside. They confirmed that I had a bad case of pneumonia that I had let go too long. The doctor asked when I was intending to go back to work. “Tomorrow.” She laughed, “Uh, NO” and e-scribed a script for a Z-Pack and some Prednisone and then handed me a slip taking me out of work for the week.  This leaves me housebound with 2 suspects who might have called CPS on me. (Incidentally, it’s only a list of 2.)

So here I am…

Breathing from a place that hurts….those 2 blue vases deep in my chest, holding bouquets of poppies that refuse to keep their petals…

No matter how well watered I keep them…

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December 28, 2018

So sorry to hear about your bad case of pneumonia. Get plenty of rest, so that you can get well soon.

December 28, 2018

I hope you didn’t imagine your mother saying those three words. I think all Mothers love their children some just can’t Express it.

Feel better soon, love ❤

January 1, 2019

I certainly hope you’re feeling much better by now, but wow, your writing really imbued the recollection your fever/pneumonia experience with a certain poetic beauty.

January 3, 2019

A wrenchingly beautiful description of illness and misery. Ouch.