Your sleeping body lays heavy next to mine. You’re finally sleeping soundly. It has been a while. I listen and watch. I want to reach over and feel your forehead like I have done thousands of times in the last few days….but I am scared. Has your temperature spiked again since I last checked, moments before? I want to feel cool skin beneath my hand. I’m worried that I will find fire. How many days can the fever last?
Burning up again. Please take the Motrin. Please let this be the last time. A false sense of relief passes over me as the medicine kicks in. I know it will be hours before the fever might return. You perk up and even play a little. I look for all these tiny signs of hope that you’re getting better. “How are you feeling?” I ask again.
“All better,” you respond again as you offer me your forehead for another temperature check.
It’s Mother’s Day and we are on day seven of sickness. Day seven of worry. Day two of antibiotics, all my wishes for health and well being poured in the sticky pink liquid. The doctor’s words ring in my mind, “Call if she still has a fever after 48 hours.” Just six hours to go. I limit the temperature checks to every 15 minutes for my own sanity. Each time your mopey being obliges.
Slowly, the day passes and with each hour and each temperature check, I allow my shoulders to relax, but not completely.
That night, I hold your now cool body close to mine. Still watching and listening, praying a silent prayer of thanks before finally letting my body relax.