I’m texting the physician. I’m texting T’s 5 siblings on a gaggle chat, texting my mother and father and my brother, texting T’s enterprise associate and staff and his dearest pals and mine, in loops and loops, with hearts and grateful prayer-hands emoji. He’s too exhausted, too weak, to reply all of the missives winging to him in any respect hours. “Don’t sugarcoat it for my household,” he tells me. He has requested for the grey sweater that was his father’s, that his father wore when he was alive. He won’t take it off.
It’s as if we’re in a time warp, during which we’ve accelerated at 1½ time pace, whereas everybody round us stays within the current — already the previous to us — they usually, blissfully, unconsciously, go about their atypical lives, experiencing the rising information, the extra pressing advisories and directives, as an unlimited communal expertise, sharing posts and memes about cabin fever, about home-schooling, about social distancing, about how laborious all of it is, whereas we’re dwelling in our makeshift sick ward, dwelling in what is going to quickly be the current for increasingly of them. “I took out the kitty litter,” CK says, “and I noticed some folks standing on the nook, and I used to be like, I need to see strangers! After which I heard them saying: ‘It’s truly been very nice. It’s been an opportunity to attach as a household.’ And I used to be like, No, truly, I don’t need to see strangers, and I got here again in.”
CK and I confine ourselves to the half rest room, the one with the litter field, which she is now in command of. Over the previous days and days, drifty, dreamy CK has grow to be my chief assistant on my nursing/housekeeping/kitchen rotations, feeding the cat and cleansing the litter field, folding laundry, getting ready T’s small meals, washing dishes and pots, coordinating with me in a sophisticated choreography once I come out of the sickroom holding dishes so we will get them into the dishwasher with out my touching the handles or having to clean my dry, uncooked arms much more. “I really feel like we’re speaking to one another extra like equals now,” she says. She is true.
I’m consumed with attempting to maintain us secure. I wipe down the doorknobs, the sunshine switches, the taps, the handles, the counters with disinfectant. I swab my telephone with alcohol. I throw the day’s hoodie into the laundry at evening as if it had been my scrubs. I wash all our towels, many times. When CK needs to bathe, I wipe down the entire foremost rest room — the place T refills his water cup, the place he has had diarrhea, the place he coughs and spits out phlegm — with bleach, take out T’s washcloth, towels and bathmat and change them with clear ones, telling CK to strive to not contact something, to bathe and go proper again to her room. Then I do the identical. If T wants to make use of the lavatory earlier than we’re able to bathe, I do the entire bleach routine once more earlier than we go in. Twice, within the first week of the sickness, I eased him into an Epsom-salt tub. However not since then. He’s too weak. It will be an excessive amount of. There isn’t a approach. When he shuffles down the corridor from the bed room to the lavatory, he lists in opposition to the wall. He splashes water on his face within the rest room, and that needs to be sufficient.
I run via potentialities. I’m not so nervous about CK getting sick. I can nurse her too. It’s if I get sick. I present her methods to do extra issues, the place issues go, what to recollect, what to do if — What if T is hospitalized? What if I’m? May a 16-year-old be left to fend for herself at dwelling, alone? How would she get what she wanted? May she do it? For a way lengthy?