I went to the drugstore early this morning for more provisions.
The woman asked me if she could help and then directed me to aisle 12, where they keep the children's cold medicine.
I crouched in the aisle, blearily reading labels, trying to figure out if I needed "Cold and Congestion," "Fever and Cough," "Cough and Cold," "Cough+DM," or the catch-all: "Severe Cold." And deciding that I probably needed the reading glasses in aisle 7 instead.
The woman came by again. "Can I help?"
I picked up a box. "I think this will do it," I said, not at all sure that it would. I think I have been trying to help Ethan fight this same bug since early December, some sort of zombie virus that keeps resurrecting itself.
She said, "You look like you've been up all night with a sick kid."
Well, okay then. I smiled weakly and took a little offense.
Until I caught sight of myself in the car window.
She was being generous.
I looked like I'd been up all night for three straight weeks, with breaks during the day to go to my job at a Siberian work camp.
It was not pretty. Deathly pale, hair askew, bags as big as jet-puffed marshmallows under and over my eyes, the skin bruised and blackened by yesterday's smudged mascara. My teeth were coated in thick sleep-slime, and at the corners of my consciousness I could just smell myself.
Well, okay then.
I have disinfected every surface. I have wiped down the door handles, the light switches, the desks, the countertops, and the door jams. I have washed the sheets and the backpacks and every jacket Ethan owns. I have lathered his boney spine and long, thin feet in essential oils and vapor rub. I have filled him full of vitamin C, cough suppressants, probiotics, the flu vaccine, fever reducers, and immune system boosters. I have given him fluids and rest and instructions to wash his hands after every class. I have run the humidifier, the nebulizer, and the tired path to the drugstore.
But I can't beat it.
Every ten days it shows up again.
I'm starting to get paranoid.
What am I missing?
I told Savannah I was going to send her to school with a can of Lysol wipes so that she could wipe down the inside and outside of his locker. And all the handles of the classrooms while she was at it. She looked at me, horrified.
But I'm desperate. It's the freaking viral zombie apocalypse.
And apparently, I may already look like one of the walking dead.