CK and I had settled in to watch “Chernobyl,” the HBO series about
the 1986 nuclear accident and its aftermath, when T first felt
sick and went to lie down in the bedroom. We stopped after three
episodes. That time, when we would sit on the couch watching
something together, is behind us. Now there is too much rushing
back and forth, making sure T has a little dinner — just a tiny
bowl of soup, just an appetizer, really, that he is unable to
smell, that he fights nausea to choke down — taking his
temperature, monitoring his oxygen-saturation levels with the
fingertip pulse oximeter brought by a friend from the drugstore on
the doctor’s advice, taking him tea, dispensing his meds, washing
my hands over and over, texting the doctor to say T is worse
again, standing next to him while he coughs into the covers,
rubbing his knees through the blankets.
“You shouldn’t stay here,” he says, but he gets more frightened as
night comes, dreading the long hours of fever and soaking sweats
and shivering and terrible aches. “This thing grinds you like a
mortar,” he says.
Brutal, heart-wrenching story, beautifully written.