I spent the last couple of nights tossing, turning, and excreting an ungodly amount of fluid. I was sick. It was a pain. But Kimber had the same thing four days earlier, and for both of us, our days of illness were just that, days. The thing about days is they may seem long, but they actually pass rather quickly.
It's funny having a loved one like Charity, by which I mean one who's immunosuppressed, because it completely reframes the way in which you view illness. I can no longer remember what a customary first response is to the realization that you are ill. Perhaps you might simply think “this sucks,” or wonder how long it will be ‘til you’re on your feet again. I was struck by guilt. I had spent a lovely Sunday afternoon with Yoni and Charity the day before, and morbid scenarios started playing out in my mind. Cleveland, hospitals, and familiar faces—for all the wrong reasons—occupied my fevered nightmare. And it was all my fault. Because I had gone on that exquisite picnic, on that glorious spring day, and I had infected my dear sister with the contagion I secretly harbored. Of course, that's just what happened in my head, this time.
But someday we might not be so lucky, which is why I have become that kind of person. I am acutely aware of every tickle in my throat, ache in my bones, or throb in my head. It’s as though I have proxy-focused hypochondria. But I don’t mind, because my seemingly irrational response is what’s necessary to keep my sister safe, and well, and alive.
A colleague and I were recently talking about the old adage that God only gives you what you can handle. I tend to prefer looking at these situations through the lens of human tenacity and shear grit. But whether this is what God thinks we as a family can handle, or rather it’s just the hand we’ve been dealt by the universe, I’m incredibly grateful for the way we have worked to accommodate to our given circumstances, protect our tender spots, and grow in strength towards greater tomorrows.