At 3 am (why is it always 3 am?) a hot flash wakes me. I lay quietly with my arms outside the blanket in the cool air and listen. My lover dreams on and I shift to wrap myself back around him. The night is quiet. My son who had a tooth removed earlier in the day is still passed out- a fitting end to almost two weeks of issues with an abscessed tooth. My oldest seemed fine but complained that her chest felt heavy. I put her to bed hoping it was nothing.
But I'm listening to myself. I recognize the sound. My lover has dealt with acid reflex for too long for me not to know the distinct sound of rails- like crinkly plastic as your lungs labor. Steadily in and out I breath, fascinated. Finally, a catch in my throat prompts a cough and it is gone. It is then I realize my own lungs are tight. I get up, drink, pee and take some supplements. Sleep takes me to the alarm but it is then that I realize this day is shot.
We assess the rest of the house. My daughter is more sick than I and I am not functioning well at all. My boy is ready to soar though. My lover takes on my roles but it is unfamiliar to him, this tending sick people. If we would just be in a medical emergency, he'd know exactly what to do. This, the slow frantic waiting on the invalid, is a new one. But one that only requires compassion and a little tutoring on my part.
Love is definitely all you need in situations like this... and a grocery run to the health food store.