|The Missus, in happier times|
"Do you want me to stay home with you?"
"No, (heave) I'll be (heave) just fine."
"I think I'll call my supervisor."
"Well, (heave) if it will (heave) make you (heave) feel better."
My supervisor, who is a wise and practical man, reminded me that this kind of thing is what we have sick leave for; so, I have been home all day making sure she stays comfortable and hydrated. From what the doctors say, it's her gall bladder acting up. If she gets too much protein in her diet all at once, she gets these attacks. With all of her other underlying health issues, she's not a good candidate for any kind of surgery, let alone for this problem. All we can do is ride it out with the right medication, lots of rest, and lots of fluids. So, I've been here all day for her; she's done the same for me - which is, if you were to ask me, what being married is all about.
I will freely admit that when she's sick like this, I go into a state of utter panic. Give me a normal disaster - like fires, floods, structural collapses, and the like - I'm in my element and all my reflexes kick in and it's out with the right tool for the right job. However, with medical emergencies like this I'm completely useless; she's always been the one to navigate the health care system for the two of us.
So, I've been busying myself with a form of occupational therapy: cleaning up all the messes, doing all the laundry, and decontaminating everything in sight to make sure she recovers from this as fast as she can.
Doing a little scenery work has also calmed me down; I now have all the 'ocean' tiles painted a nice light blue with a very light blue-gray stippling that can hardly be seen. I got this done in between loads of washing and checking up on the patient, and it helped a lot to feel like I was actually doing something.
Along the way, I was reminded of a question from a reader from a while back about where I get all my materials and supplies for my work; the answer is, pure and simple, 'surplus'. The MDF I use for my tiles is from one of the big-box DIY places, which has a section in the back for 'mis-cut lumber'; I check this regularly, and over time I got something like twenty roughly two-foot by four-foot sections of the stuff. Likewise, the Paint Department of the place usually has 'mis-matched paint', in various sizes of containers. I get these for between fifty cents and a dollar, and the little jars and cans go a very long way. Since this is latex paint, and has no smell to speak of, it does not trigger the Missus' asthma and it's easy to clean up.
Total investment in my 48" x 48" 'ocean', complete with shoreline tiles, will be about five dollars in MDF and about half a dollar in paint. Calming me down from this morning's state of panic is beyond price...