Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

#279: THE FIERY ONE IS FEVERISH (AIN'T THAT A GAS?) AND SOME BRAUTIGAN

I know that I have been going on a bit lately about my feeling sick, but I am in a slow recovery now, so this entry will not be about me and the myriad symptoms that befell me over the last month. No, this entry will be about the Fiery One's worrying fever, and then, of course, I will throw in a bunch of stuff about me, because that is my wont. That is why I have this website, isn't it?

The Fiery One is hardly ever sick, and if he is, he usually just feels kind of disgusting but basically functional. The day before yesterday after work, we met up where I was having an after work drink with Red and Friday, and he looked pale. When the Fiery One is pale, he is still shades darker than me, but he was pale relative to his usual colour nonetheless. He was the posterchild for wan (as in "pale", not as in "Obi") with his skin so grey and waxen. He so rarely looks sick that I was immediately concerned. I thought about what if he died. No kidding. I am that neurotic sometimes.

We went straight home and put him in the television room to lie down and watch "Angel" DVDs. After a while, he got up and came into the kitchen to get a glass of water. When he started complaining about how cold it was, I looked over at him, and his entire body was shaking. His parts weren't all shaking in unison but were jiggling individually from each other in differing directions. I found this to be discombobulating. He looked like he would jitter into a pile of separate pieces if we didn't do something about his condition soon.

He went back into the television room to lie down, and I went out to the Shopper's Drug Mart a couple of blocks away to pick up some ibuprofen and tortilla chips with salsa. I wandered the drug store in a daze. I kept thinking that there had to be something else I could pick up that would make him better. Shouldn't I know these things? Was his fever so high that he could be having a seizure while I was out? Should I have left him alone?

As soon as I got home I fed him two ibuprofen, and we settled in to watch more "Angel" episodes. An hour later, I checked his forehead, and he was still burning up. The Fiery One came up with the idea to sit in a cold bath to try to bring his fever down, which I was all for. We still didn't know how high it was, but we had an inkling that it was too high by the cherry colour of the top of his blisteringly hot head. Then the Fiery One had another great idea: we should own a thermometer. So, while he was finishing running his cool bath, I made a second trip to the drug store in as many hours to purchase a thermometer.

I knew exactly what kind we would get, too. I have always had a thing for thermometers since I was a little kid. I used to sneak out the old mercury-and-glass thermometer from the medicine cabinet and stick it in things to see how cold or warm they were. (Get your mind out of the gutter. I stuck it in jello or a sunny patch of the garden or my armpit). One of my old friends from elementary school, C, had a plastic strip with a square on either end. It indicated whether or not you had a fever when one or the other of the squares turned black. The kind that I have always wanted, though, is a digital thermometer. There's something very technical and scientific about the LCD display and the plastic case it comes in and the beeps it makes and the fact that it stores the last temperature that was taken. It's not that I am so technologically illiterate that I can be impressed with a gadget that beeps and lights up; I just happen to come from a time when the mercury-and-glass thermometers were still enthralling marvels of science for children.

Back to the matter at hand..... I bought a delightful digital thermometer, rushed home, and stuck it in the Fiery One. (Again, I stuck it in his mouth, people). I was so glad to find him still breathing, because while I was out I had visions of him passing out and drowning while I was on my second drug store trip, and I was doing that little conversation-with-myself-in-my-own-head bit about how I would deal with the guilt of leaving my own husband to drown alone in a bathtub. Alive but not well, after two ibuprofens and soaking in a tub of cold water for over half an hour, he still had a fever.

And you know what? It is two days later, and he still has one. The fever makes him very much like a toasty hot water bottle in bed, which I must admit is a nice side effect, but I am sure that it will also eventually make his brains more closely resemble fried hog fat (which my mother used to feed me when I was kid, dear gawd, I am so not kidding. FRIED. HOG. FAT).

Now I've sidetracked myself. All I can think about at the moment is how my mother would get what she called "cracklings" in a big, plastic ice cream pail from some Mennonite relatives after they had made sausages or some such meat product. She once told me all about the rendering process that created these fine cracklings, and frankly, I'm still a little flabbergasted that she then fried some up and served me a mound of them for breakfast. She obviously used her mother's intuition to deduce that my young arteries were simply too soft at the start of my day to carry me through.

And again, I will veer back onto the track I originally set out on..... The Fiery One just assured me that he is going to the mediclinic this afternoon, so I am relatively secure in the knowledge that he and his brains will still be intact and in at least near original condition when I arrive home from work tonight.

After he is well again, neither of us better get sick again for a long, long time. This has simply been ridiculous, although, not nearly as ridiculous as what has been happening to Ladybug. She is on her second round of the chicken pox in the last few weeks and has been told that she may have a third before it's all over. I should count my blessings, even if they're based on the bad fortune of a friend. I'm a little evil like that.


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"The Fever Monument" by Richard Brautigan