Driving home from work on Tuesday, he called to say that he wasn't feeling well. He was weak... he was tired... he was, I judged, basically incoherent.
"Use the Zicam," I ordered. And then I dosed myself - a few spritzes to the tongue, the gums, the teeth -- just in case. Immediate sensation = awful. Aftertaste? Not too bad, as long as you don't mind the deadened taste buds.
It seemed to do the trick for me, but Will is a tough bugger. When he's sick (18 hour days on the couch sick), he's really sick. None of this cough and sniffle business, oh no.
"Let me check your throat," I ordered, taking up the Mag light. "Lay your tongue flat. No, flat. Flatter. Your tongue is in the way. Nope, still in the way. Would you like me to report on the status of your tongue instead?"
Wednesday, after drifting in and out of a Bones marathon, he pronounced himself, grudgingly, a fan. I whooped with joy. Usually I have to ration my Bones intake when he's around, flipping quietly from ESPN when he leaves the room.
Thursday he decided he was feeling better and therefore golfing 18 holes was simply unavoidable. I objected: You'll be tired. You can barely stand up as it is. You probably need one more day of re-runs.
Thursday night, he pronounced that I was probably right. He felt miserable, but managed to cook Chicken Parmesan nonetheless, while I ran circles around him with the mashed potatoes and garlic bread.
Friday, he called me into the bedroom. "Look at this -- what is this?" he demanded, thrusting his arm in front of my face. His skin was spotted with a million red dots, like someone had taken a fine-point red Sharpie to his body while he slept.
"Flea bites?" I suggested hopefully. No, not flea bites - our pets are flea-free, and besides, I'd be covered with them too.
"Hives," he said grimly.
"Probably a rash," I soothed, but checked the cupboards anyway for Benadryl. All I could find was a generic children's version, which I'd been prescribed for a canker sore. (Liquid Benadryl +liquid Kaopectate = canker sore magic.)
"I'll go to the store and get it," he offered, which I took as a good sign.
The rest of the day I stood by for hourly hives reports (Bigger! About the same! Going down a little!), temperature checks (108! No, I guess it's 100.8!), toast and orange juice runs, and general CNA duties. I listened to his snores, shifted him regularly to avoid couchsores, plied him with offers of a drive to the clinic, and in general played the role of long-suffering wife.
"I'm feeling better," he announced this morning, rolling up his flannel PJ pants for a shot of pale, hive-free legs.
"Oh, good! Maybe we can..." I consider my unfinished vacation to-do list, a sad reminder of my high expectations. "Well..."
But when I looked over, he was snoring again.