THE DOC IS INNovember 5, 2013
It was hard to breathe. Every muscle of my body cried out in pain as I placed one foot then the other on the cold floor beneath me. I made my way across my bedroom in slow motion, partly to avoid waking Allison who slept beside the spot I just abandoned and partly because my limbs were so stiff another option didn’t seem to be available. I entered the bathroom and rolled off several sheets of Charmin to blow my nose and then made eye contact in the mirror. I looked as bad as I felt.
I was sick.
I made my exit and retraced the steps of the path I just paved to reclaim my side of the bed. Eventually, Allison woke and encouraged a visit to the doctor. However, I’m not one who typically goes to the doctor. I’m not sure that I even have a doctor. I can’t remember the last time I went into an office for a concern of my own. When Allison was pregnant, I never missed an appointment. Not something I’m bragging about, but something that was important to me. The baby growing inside of her was just as much mine as it was hers and I wanted to share in every detail. So I did.
A few days passed and I could feel the infection working its way through my body. It climbed to my head and pounded my temples. It slid down to my throat and then my chest screaming its way out through coughing and sneezing. One night Madison pulled herself over the edge of the couch and came to rest in my lap. She took her tiny fingers and held an imaginary thermometer to my forehead to take my temperature. A word that sounded incredibly large when pulled from a two year old vocabulary. She then rested her head upon my chest; I couldn’t see her face but I could feel her smiling.
Several minutes passed before she reached for a toy at the end of the couch. She pulled the purple dog closer to her and pressed the paws prompting various songs and spoken phrases. Madison resumed her spot in my lap and held the dog while I tried desperately to hold onto the moment when suddenly the voice of the toy asked, who is your best friend?
Madison answered with Daddy.
My eyes immediately, although unexpectedly, became wet and my vision blurry. She turned her head to look up at me and said you’re my best friend, Daddy. Then she put her head back on the section of my chest she was warming for the better part of the last half hour. Once she was comfortable again she said in what was almost a complete whisper, I love you. I love you, Daddy. She couldn’t see my face, but I hope she could feel me smiling.
I didn't need to see a doctor. I didn’t need a prescription. In that moment, with that medicine, it was impossible to feel any better than I already did. I love you, too, Madison. More than you’ll ever know.