Of Sore Throats and Green Hearts
She’s crying. “My throat hurts.”
I feel her forehead and then go rummage in the bathroom drawer–through dumped Band-Aid boxes, ointments, alcohol wipes, the outer ring of an adhesive tape roll, a plastic medicine cup, a nasal syringe, and spilled cough drops to find the thermometer.
“Open your mouth.” I shine the flashlight into the scarlet cave. It’s not looking so good.
She tries to eat, but it’s too hard to swallow even yogurt. Her head hurts, and she can’t get warm. We try to balance enough covers to keep her comfortable against overheating with too many. I exercise my arm by placing palm to forehead. She sleeps off and on all day.
I leave two chewable Tylenol and the thermometer at her bedside. “If your head hurts or your fever is up, you can take these after 2,” I tell her.
I hear her get up about 3. Door opens, door closes, toilet flushes, water runs, door closes. Her bed creaks, and I hear her covers rustle and the headboard bang the wall as she settles in again. Then she calls over the monitor, “Nama. Nama.”
I pad down the stairs and into her room.
“Would you get me some water with ice?”
I laugh. “You got up but couldn’t get your own water?”
She just smiles, so I go to the kitchen, flip on lights, pull out the freezer drawer, scoop some ice, push the spigot on the water jar, and take the glass back to her.
“Did you check your temp?”
“I just did. It’s 101.2, and my head hurts.”
“Well, chew up these pills.”
I tuck her in, kiss her forehead, and huff upstairs to my own bed where I toss and turn for an hour and finally get up to stay.
To do battle with my own illness.
The one that makes my heart turn green.
I wish I could be baking on a Florida beach–like her.
I wish I had a new book contract–like her.
I wish I could be at that conference–like her.
I wish I could be at that retreat–like her.
I wish I was going to Tanzania–like her.
I wish my words would pour like hers. I can barely read her any more for fear I’ll try to copy her.
And He brings me words like these.
Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. ~Romans 13:8-10 (Message)
She does not go to school this morning, and I call the doctor. He swabs her throat, and I’m not surprised to learn she has strep. We pick up her antibiotic and come back home.
She curls up with her pink blanket and her Kindle Fire to read Dork Diaries.
Later she comes out to the kitchen and wraps her arms around my waist.
“Thank you for taking care of me, Nama,” she says. “I love you.”
Giving thanks today for:
Healing medicine and healing words.
His perfect plan and perfect timing.
A blue jay in a tree.
Green jasmine tea.
Twistable colored pencils.
Those who embrace impoverished children.
Friends who lend a hand.
Joining Laura and Laura and Michelle and Ann in community today.