There are those sweet and selfless beings. The only ones so incredibly happy that you’re stuck at home, miserably sick. They aren’t your people. But you are theirs.
I’m not suitable for public consumption. I can’t get out of bed. Can’t talk. Or walk. Or breathe. Bed bound.
The Mount Hood peak of wadded tissues, volcanic overflow up and over the trash can. Wadded papers stacked up like a week’s worth of writer’s block per day.
Only worse – way worse.
Crumpled tissues with parts of me wrapped around them. Not given, but taken. Expelled. Violently removed. Sneezing and coughing and nose blowing. No, not blowing, more like blow torching. Body shaking violent eruptions. Mt Hood going off. Or is it St. Helens?
Overflowing trashcans; a four Kleenex box day.
Way worse than textbook virus. Not nose running, or sniffles or coughing. All of that, and more, on steroids. Must be why the doc gave me steroids, to counteract my body’s bizarre over response to a flu bug attack. It's spring - allergy season, too.
Body shaking, rattling, racking, uncontrollable coughs that tear into lungs and passageways. Ripped open, against their will. Bruising cells, now flooding with viral gunk. Disgusting junk. Way worse than baby poo, diarrhea on diapers, normal people call rough stuff.
Profoundly ill. Inhuman conditions. The kind another human can’t tolerate.
The kind a sick human would never ask another human to.
Alone in the house. Sick house - the kind no normal being enters voluntarily. A good friend drops off homemade soup, but understandably leaves it on the porch. This is not a moment of intimacy people like to share.
In comes the doxie.
For better for worse. In sickness and in health.
Burrowing in, elbowing along, dragging his stomach, inching up the bed, like sneaking up on prey. Pulling himself along the length of my body, from my toes up to my nose.
Jumps up to my head, propped up in bed. Wraps his arms around my neck, paws on skin. Looks deep into my eyes - his, glistening bright. Mine, dull and dim.
One quick lick to my cheek. Not an annoyingly long submissive thing I couldn’t stand, even on a good day. Just a kiss. Not noticing I’m sick as a dog. Or maybe just because?
My doxie noses in, under the tangle of blankets and pillows and body parts. Finding an opening. under covers, through the gunk and the wracked, soggy, disgusting mass of former humanity curled up like a dog. Finds a crevice that he can ooze into that will expand out to let him press full body against mine, between legs and stomach and sharing soft, warm body heat like a doxie hot water bottle, soothing and sweet as if sweet was even an option right now. I’d go for tolerable or even one percent less than inhumane. And then sweet noses in.
My son, my Doodle. Full body contact as if I’m not really a leper. Pressing his cute little shiny orange butt up against my jammies. Curly q tail wrapping around my thigh like even it wants so desperately to embrace me.
And now we’re snoring together. Wow, sweet snoring at last. I can’t sleep, so any catnap will do. Even 10 minutes of rest is a welcome change of fate.
Why do they call it sick as a dog?
Back in the 1700’s, people would just let homeless dogs die in the street. They were not welcome in neighborhoods or homes – never in beds, not for centuries. Nor were they given medical attention. Outcasts. Bad luck was blamed on dogs, sick and wandering the streets. In misery.
Seems like we’ve come full circle here.
Now I’m the miserable one, the down dog he’s catering to. He’s the one I adopted off the streets. Or is it the other way around? If this isn’t medical attention, I don’t know what is.
I love my dog. So profoundly glad he loves me too.
And when he’s worked his magic on me, that cat takes over baby-sitting duties.
And at some point in the distant future, I’ll be suitable for human interaction.
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