The comforter is up to my chin. Laddu is sleeping alongside me, her body aligned with my back. I close my eyes and will sleep to take over. I am hyper aware of things while I wait for that to happen. I draw a deep breath and hear the grainy wheezing sound as my compromised lungs struggle to do its job. I inhale and exhale, forcing my body to work. The fleece PJs that seemed like a good idea when I was feverish now feels too warm. I feel sweat form micro droplets inside my all to warm toe socks. I shrug the comforter off but stay in place for fear of waking the baby. The clock sounds loud in the confined space. I rue my decision to leave my phone down in the kitchen. The throat feels parched and I imagine an invasion of epic proportions happening inside my lungs. The good bacteria vs the bad ones. Go good bacteria! I cheer. A cough swells from deep in my bosom and ejects particulate matter that I imagine are shrapnels from the battle within.
The sounds trickle in from below. Somebody is reading a book. There is sounds of dishes being done. I massage the IV spot and let my mind go places. Had it been Saathi who was sick, I would have probably lined the kids up on the sofa and turned the TV on. They are now playing card games. Saathi’s squeal of laughter as he beats the twins at a game of memory or is it Lucky gladdens me. I imagine them in a circle dealing cards and building memories. I wonder what time it is. It feels like a long time since I crept into bed.
I nod off, one hand hanging off the bed. My hair feels sticky with sweat when I wake. I slide off the bed only to realize I feel like I am floating. My gait is unbalanced. I look in the mirror and take in the washed out appearance. Laddu cries for attention and I walk over. I lift her and feel myself stagger backward.
This is all new to me. This feeling of being unbalanced and unavailable. I try to take it in stride. The medicine will help I tell myself. I manage to wash up and wipe the baby down. We walk downstairs and the relief on Ammu and Pattu’s faces is palpable. “Mommy!” they yell and bury their heads in my abdomen. I gather them together and sit on the stairs. I feel serenaded.
I seat myself on the floor after setting out mugs of milk and coffee on the counter for the rest of them. The floors are gleaming. The sink is spotless. The counters are clean. The grinder is humming. The kids are fed and happy. All is well in my world. I am not sure about the powerball but it sure feels like I won the husband lottery.