A doozy of a cold deserves a dose of love
Columnist Dan Conradt says that on the other side of the clouds and the sneezes, there’s always a suddy day.
Ordinarily the sound of the refrigerator door opening would have sent me running for the kitchen. Giving a 4-year-old the run of the house rarely ends well.
I peeled back the quilt and started to sit up, then admitted defeat, sank back into bed and pulled the quilt up to my chin.
Cold. I was so cold …
The TV in the living room was playing softly, and if I’d had the energy I would have felt guilty that it was doing my job and I wasn’t. Some kids were singing “Sunny Day / sweepin' the clouds away …“ Most days Steven and I would be sitting on the couch, singing along with them.
I sneezed twice, coughed a couple of times and felt the first dull throb of a headache.
Footsteps came down the hallway and the hinges squealed as the bedroom door was pushed open.
“Dad?” a cautious voice asked. “Are you awake?”
Rolling over seemed like too much work, so I didn’t: “Uh-huh.”
“I brought you some juice.”
And some of the clouds were swept away.
I’d first felt the tickle in the back of my throat three days earlier. It seemed undecided whether it wanted to turn into something more or go away. I was halfway through my workday when it decided to turn into something more, and it was making up for lost time.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay home?” Carla asked after we finished lunch and she got ready to go to work.
“No, I’m fine,” I fibbed. It came out as “I’b fide” as my head rapidly swelled with what my mom would have called “a doozy of a cold.”
“OK,“ Carla said skeptically. “But if you need anything, call me and I’ll come home.”
She paused at the door and turned back to Steven: “Dad doesn’t feel well,” she said. “Be a good boy.”
“I will,” he promised.
Then it was just the two of us, and one of us was miserable.
I pulled my worn bathrobe out of the closet. It was my grown-up version of Steven’s blankie, and always made me feel better. Until today.
“Steven, I’m going to lay down for a few minutes,” I said. He smiled at being called “Steben”.
My few minutes turned into more than an hour and showed no signs of ending until the juice delivery.
I fluffed the pillow, pulled myself into a sitting position and leaned against the wall.
Steven climbed up onto the bed after handing me a glass of cold orange juice with lots of pulp.
Best. Juice. Ever.
“You’d make a good doctor, Steven,” I said, giving each word a mushy, congested pronunciation that sounded funny even to my ears. “Thanks for taking such good care of me.”
“You’d do the same thing for me,” he said with a smile.
For the rest of my life, I thought.
“Let’s go get some more juice,” I said, pushing myself out of bed. Maybe it won’t be such a doozy after all.
And on the other side of the clouds and the sneezes, there’s always a suddy day.
Dan Conradt, a lifelong Mower County resident, lives in Austin with his wife, Carla Johnson.