Alone and sick…
Next to spending a part of your life dedicated to business travel and having to spend your evenings cooped up in a nondescript hotel room, I can’t think of a lonelier feeling in the world. Wait, I take that back, getting off a plane and having nobody there to greet you as you disembark and are surrounded by spouses and kids all hugging and kissing as they either get to where they’re going or returning from wherever they’ve been ranks right up there too..
Anyway, I started to come down with some flu symptoms yesterday. They came on gradually at first. A tickle in the back of your throat that soon blossoms into a fury of coughing and wheezing fits, a dull headache that drums and throbs at your temples, a slight chill that that no blanket can seem to take away. Then there’s that feeling you get when you just can’t seem to find the comfortable spot on the couch or in the bed and you toss and turn and beg for the gift of sleep.
And there you are, alone.
You hear the moans that the house somehow seems to make all by it’s lonesome. The floorboards creak as if some ghost was making silent rounds and performing some ritual inspection, the intermittent whir of the refrigerator as it chills its hidden contents. The reassuring click of the thermostat from somewhere down in the basement echoes through the vents and makes its way upstairs and provides you with a sense of comfort that soon, the chills that make you shiver and your teeth chatter will be somehow be eased with the influx of heat.
You prop your head on a pillow and try to read a book or watch the tube but your concentration betrays you. Maybe because it’s the Nyquil finally kicking in or maybe it’s because the fever that started out so slowly has now reached your internal boiling point.
Stubbornness prevents you from calling anybody to help you but still, in the back of your head, you wish that somebody, anybody, would dial your number. You hope that they would come and offer up some much needed tender loving care in the form of warm bowls of broth and maybe a couple of saltine crackers. Somebody to take your temperature and remind you of the next time that you need to take your medicine. Somebody with a cool washcloth to hold against your fevered brow and wipe away the sweat as the fever temporarily breaks. Somebody to run to the store when the supplies get low or to watch over you as you drift in and out of sleep.
Maybe it’s the fever talking or maybe I’m harkening back to the days of my youth when the need for a little comfort was either sensed by another loved one or was just a phone call away. Then again, maybe it sounds too much like I’m wallowing in my own self pity but I don’t think humans were meant to go it alone.
At least not this one.