“Well, what did she say?” I asked.
“She gave me antibiotics.”
“Great!” I said. “Now you will get a lot better.”
“But she seemed way more upset about the 18 pounds I gained since I was there in September. Something about watching the Glycemic Index of what I eat.” He coughed then, to remind me of his condition.
“Well we will find out what that number is on your Klondike Bars,” I offered cheerfully.
Seth molded in his recliner for the next few days. He became surrounded by empty ginger ale cans, glasses of water, and pillows. Two baskets of unfolded clean laundry remain untouched near his chair.
“Oh my head hurts. I feel awful. I have diarrhea. Can you go get me some cough drops?” he said on a Tuesday.
So I went to CVS and purchased cough drops with a good GI number.
“I need some Mucinex too,” he said when I got home. He was watching the Syfy Channel. I went to Kmart and purchased some of the famous phlegm fixer.
“Oh ... wow, am I ever sick! I am dropping weight like crazy,” he said when I delivered his Mucinex. He flopped his head to one side and gave me a slack-jawed stare. “Do I have a fever?”
“One hundred point eight,” I said after a quick lip press. “Are you hungry?”
“No, everything just goes right through me.”
“Boy that’s a shame. Dumb antibiotics.” I almost felt a pang of guilt, but it passed. After all, I throw in laundry when I have the flu. And load the dishwasher.
After a week, Seth’s temperature returned to subnormal. His cough diminished to one faint hack a day. He dragged his emaciated body, 1.7 pounds lighter - a body ravaged by the common cold - to the front door, ready to go back to work.
I stood by his recliner, a woman surrounded by the debris created by a man who barely moved for a week. I had work to do.
“See ya later,” I said. “And don’t forget.... a little Imodium might be a good thing.”
Theresa Timmons’ column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.