Posted by: Ken Wheatley | October 29, 2009

Forced Immersion

Last Thursday I was exposed to someone whose husband died of H1N1 and then became ill myself 24 hours later. I was very sick over the weekend and finally went to the doctor on Monday. The rapid lab test confirmed that I have influenza A, but the subtype won’t be known until next week.

Because of being at higher risk for complications due to having prostate cancer the doctor said they couldn’t wait for the test results and started me on Tamiflu. In the meantime I’ve been quarantined to the house until the fever is gone for 24 hours. It will be gone or else my surgery next week will be delayed, and I can’t have that happen. 

My neighbor, Tammy, aka “Stalker” (a friendly term she’s given herself), didn’t know I was sick when she showed-up at my door Monday night with warm muffins and hot soup. She’s adopted me since learning of Sheila’s passing.

And CiCi also brought over a bunch of homemade soups and bread the next day. So I’m well stocked for the duration. I really appreciate all the support they’ve provided.

The downside of being home fulltime, and not feeling well enough to do things that would be distracting, is the large amount of time I’ve had to dwell on all aspects of not having Sheila. I would have probably been fully recovered by now if I had Sheila’s touch to soothe me. Or her body to lay next to. Her kisses and touch were medicinal for all things that ailed me. I can imagine those strong fingers of her’s massaging my temples or neck.

I was reading an interview that Patrick Swayze’s wife recently gave where she said that the grief she was feeling was “at the cellular level.” I thought, that’s a near perfect way to describe what I’m feeling.

The house is deafeningly quiet. I look at her slippers and remember the sounds of her walking down the hall. I memorized how she looked when she’d walk. When she knew that I was behind her she’d put her hands behind her back and wiggle her fingers on both hands, inviting me to catch-up and hold her hands.  

I look at her photos everyday and listen to at least one voicemail message, but not everyday for that. Hearing her voice – and the sweet messages she left me – only makes it more difficult to not have her to call back. Her voice adds substance and a perceived reality to a situation that doesn’t exist anymore. How will I ever adjust to not having the other cellular half of my existance?



  1. Ken,
    I hope the Tamiflu helped and you are well now. You will be in thoughts on thursday. I hope the day goes smoothly for you.

  2. Thanks Darlene. The Tamiflu took care of the fever and body aches, but unfortunately I still have a wicked persistent cough. Surgery is therefore still up in the air. I spoke with the surgeon’s office today, and they’re withholding the decision until Wednesday morning.

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