Even a boil can bring a show of love
|Even A Boil Could Make the Depth of Our Love Obvious To Others
One night in July, 1969, about 8:00 we went into the living room to do a little reading. We’d been married 11 months.
”OW!” she yelled as she jumped back out of her chair.
“What’s the matter, honey?” I asked, concerned, as I walked up to her.
“I don’t know,” she said, a little fearful. “I’ve got something back there that really hurts. But a zit never hurt like this.”
“Let’s have a look,” I said as I walked behind her. She dropped her slacks and underwear. “Lin, I said calmly, you’ve got a little more than a zit here, honey. Looks more like a boil.”
“Oh, swell,” she said, a bit embarrassed now. “Can we drain it?”
“I wouldn’t want to try that, honey. Could get infected. We’d better call Dr. Cardosi.”
“Oh, boy!” she laughed. “This’ll sure be embarrassing!”
She called his office the next day and got an appointment for the following afternoon. On the morning of the appointment she stopped me as I was getting ready to kiss her goodbye and head for work.
“Jim, would you go to Dr. Cardosi’s office with me this afternoon?”
Our apartment and Dr. Cardosi's office are both on the bus line, so she COULD have gone without me. So, when she asked that, I knew she was nervous about the appointment, and likely a bit scared, too. The expected embarrassment she felt was also obvious in her voice. And, since we knew for a fact that her biggest trigger for a seizure is emotional tension, it was time for me to step up and do what I could to keep her as relaxed as possible. Thing is, I'd planned on going with her anyway. Supporting her in every situation was always my top priority. “Sure, sweetheart. You always come first with me. You know that.” That’s one thing I’d decided I would do with any potential employer I had. They would be told up front of her epilepsy, and that I would, on some occasions, be leaving the office at a moment’s notice when she needed me, and that I’d work out things like timesheet issues, etc., with them later. If they chose not to hire me, that’s fine. I knew someone would. Like I said: Linda came first with me. Without exception.
”Thanks, honey. It’s going to be embarrassing enough as it is. I want you there with me.”
I smiled inside. The child in her was showing again, even at 20. And I loved it. Not just because it meant she needed me; I already knew that. But it kept the child alive in me, too. That’s why we could still get such joy from the simplest things in life. I didn’t want to lose that. Ever.
That afternoon, when they called her name to go see the doctor, she grabbed my hand as she rose from the waiting room chair, pulling me along behind her. She’d been sitting on the very edge of it to at least get off her feet.
“I’m sorry, Linda,” the nurse said. “Only patients are allowed back here.”
“Please,” Linda asked, almost begging. “This is going to be embarrassing enough as it is.”
After some thought, possibly noticing the fear in Linda’s voice, the nurse did shortly decide to let me accompany Linda to the exam room. Linda took off her dress and panties and laid on the table. The nurse put tissue paper over her bra straps for modesty, then left the room. Linda hadn’t let go of my right hand since she laid on the table.
“Good afternoon, Linda,” Dr. Cardosi said warmly as he entered. “Hi, Jim.” We shook hands.
“Hi, Doctor Cardosi,” we said, almost in unison. He smiled.
“You two do make a pair, don’t you?” he laughed.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Linda said, still feeling embarrassed. “I hope you don’t mind. I wanted Jim to be here.”
“Not at all, Linda. If it keeps you more calm, then it’s fine by me. That’s important in your case. I heard the exchange between you and Freda. I’ll tell her that for you it’s OK for Jim to come back here with you anytime.”
I could tell both he and I noticed the relief she felt. He looked at the boil.
“Yep, that’s a nasty one, alright.” He retrieved a sterile instrument from its container. “Linda, this is going to hurt a little bit, but not for too long. Ready?”
“Yes,” she said, gritting her teeth and squeezing my hand before he’d even begun.
I knew what was coming, and what she needed to hear. “Go ahead, sweetheart, squeeze my hand as hard as you need to. I’m not going anywhere.”
“OW!” she yiped as the needle went in. “Thanks, Jim,” she said, squeezing my hand till it felt like it would turn blue any second. “I needed to hear that right now.”
In a few seconds it was over and she relaxed her grip on my hand. She saw me flex my fingers.
“Sorry, honey,” she said a bit sheepishly.
I laughed. “Don’t worry about it, darling. You did just what I said you could do. You took me at my word. I like that, and I love you for it.”
“You two really do have something special, don’t you?” Dr. Cardosi asked as he finished putting the gauze and tape in place.
“Yes, we do,” I said proudly.
“Now,” he said to both of us. “Leave this on overnight. When you take it off in the morning, you’ll probably see a patch of dead skin you can peel off. Go ahead. That’s just the skin that was inflated by the boil. Then put a band aid on it for another 24 hours.”
“Thanks, doctor,” we said in unison. We all laughed.
“Jim, I’m glad you came into Linda’s life. She’s much happier now than I’ve ever seen her, and much more at ease. About everything. And with her that’s extra important. It can help avoid seizures.”
“I’m glad he came into my life, too!” Linda interjected, squeezing me one-handed.
“Thank you, doctor.” I smiled at Linda. “I just happen to be totally in love with this little girl, that’s all.”
“It shows, Jim, on both of you. I’m glad you’re here for her. Please keep it up,” he said, smiling.
“THAT you can count on, doctor!” I said with deliberate emphasis.
I noticed we were all smiling as he left that exam room. Linda dressed and we headed for home.
This work is condensed from “Her Unending and Unconditional Love: An Autobiography of Two High School Sweethearts”, copyright 2004, as yet unpublished, by the same author. Other excerpts from the book can be found in the author’s portfolio on Writing.Com.