The cough in the middle of the night

So, this is what despair feels like.  I am exhausted….I would compare a husband with a chronic cough to having a newborn.  First, the jarring, rattling cough wakes you from a sound sleep.  And so you listen…you offer to go get him something….ANYTHING…to make it stop.  Either he can’t stop coughing long enough to answer, or answering sends him into another fit of coughing, so he violently shakes his head.  So you wait:  will he calm down?  Will he cough until he passes out?  Will he cough until he throws up?  It’s purely a crap-shoot, so you prepare to jump up and get a bucket (yes, we keep a throw-up pan handy, even for the grown-ups), or prepare to leap if he starts to tip over in the other direction, since his distance from the edge of the bed makes the trajectory of a potential fall equal to a broken neck.  Thankfully, he calms down, and an hour or so later, you calm down enough to fall back to sleep.

An hour or so later, you are suddenly jolted awake….to total silence.  It’s quiet…TOO QUIET!!!  You listen, and you can’t even hear the inhale or exhale.  No nostril wheeze, no quiet purr.  Nothing.  You panic, eyes moving back and forth in the darkness, and cautiously reach out to touch…a cold arm.  And then he jerks his cold arm away, because your fingers are like ice.  So you sigh, and all is well.  Falling asleep again takes another hour or so.

About an hour later, the cough starts again, and well, you get it..lather, rinse and repeat.

So you are half-awake in the daytime, and the gray skies do nothing to lift your spirits.  You cannot pull yourself together enough to get anything done.  With each cough you hear, you feel a little more of yourself draining away.  You pray for just a spark of happy….just a bitty bit of something to make you feel that today might actually be a little better than yesterday.

It sounds strange, but this is the perfect time to do a load of laundry, or find a book to get lost in.  Say a prayer, asking for strength.   Look at a picture of a cute puppy or kitten…anything to make you smile.  Plan a week’s worth of meals…the point is to be in control of something, when everything else seems out of control.  Bottom line is this:  do ONE thing to make this day worth waking up for, because wake up, you did.

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