Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Luka Kovac/ ER/ Chickenpox / 10 Hurt Comfort

Uh Oh

"Tata home!."Joe's squeal, was quickly followed by the clomp of him running to the door to greet his father. While it was a nightly event, or at least nightly on those days when Luka had a shift, Abby found herself stopping what she was doing as the normal reaction to the toddler's attack did not happen. Snagging a dishtowel on her way out of the kitchen, she was surprised to find both her husband and son already settled on the couch with Sponge Bob on the tv when she found them.

"Luka, are you all right?" It was hard for her not to ask the question as she took in the Croat's appearance, from the flush in his face, to the general look of a fatigue.

"Long day..." If he'd meant to say more it was lost to his cough as he turned his head to avoid exposing Joe.

"It looks like more then that." As she touched his forehead, Abby immediately frowned.

"You are running a temperature. Let me take Joe, I want you to go to bed, I'll bring some Tylenol up in a minute." Before he could protest, she had already moved around the couch to take their son.

Abby, you're over-reacting, I'm just tired." As he saw that his words were falling on deaf ears he reluctantly rose.

"All right, you win, I'll take a nap."

After settling Joe at the table with something to eat, Abby made her way up the stairs to check on Luka. Ever since his return from the Congo they'd known his malaria might return, was that what was happening now? She heard heard his coughing even before she entered the room, and as she took a seat on the edge of the bed she could feel the heat coming off of him. His fever was climbing.

"Luka, I need you to take these." When it took several attempts for Abby to rouse him and get him alert enough to take the tablets, her fear of the malaria's reappearance only grew.

"I'm going to get a washcloth for your head." As she spoke, she brushed his damp bangs away from his face, before rearranging the comforter that he'd hastily pulled over him when he'd first laid down. By the time she returned, he'd returned to his fitful sleep, and she knew, her night would be one spent watching him and worrying that far worse would be coming.

Over the next several hours she checked on her husband often, trading one washcloth for another to try and comfort him. When Joe was finally put to bed she move permanently to his side, taking the work she still needed to do with her. First up, Joe's backpack, from the day he'd started in daycare she'd fallen into the habit of leaving the sorting of it's contents until the end of the day. In fact, she was almost sure that Luka was in the habit of going through it before even getting home, even if she'd never called him on it.

Unzipping the bag , she first pulled out a shirt and pair of pants, both in need of a wash, then dropped them on the floor. What came next was a little unexpected, it wasn't like Joe to get warning notes, but that's what the heading said, or did it. With her full attention on the piece of paper she began reading, and the further she got into it, the deeper the furrow between her brows got.

"You have got to be kidding me." She glanced quickly up from the paper as Luka again coughed in his sleep. It was too much of a stretch. So what if a couple of kids in the daycare had turned up with chickenpox, Joe had been vaccinated, he wouldn't bring it home. But, how many times in the last week had he been the one to pick Joe up? Had he had chickenpox as a child or ever been vaccinated for it? As she sat there watching her husband's restless sleep, Abby knew her questions were not going to gain any answers and the next best thing would be to examine him, maybe there were symptoms beyond the fever, cough and fatigue he was already showing.

Replacing the papers in Joe's bag, she sat it on the floor before going to Luka's side and removing the now dry washcloth so she could feel his forehead. His fever had yet to break, and from the sound of his cough, it seemed to be settling deeper into his chest. Spots, she needed to see if he had any of them. Pulling aside the comforter he'd buried himself under, she rolled him to his back so she could unbutton his shirt. As she fumbled at the buttons she couldn't help chastising him at the same time for not having undressed. What was he thinking? When she raised his tee shirt to look at his stomach and chest, her actions roused him enough that he attempted to push her hands away.

"Luka, stop, Luka." There was no fight in him to resist her and she easily captured his hands with one of hers, and there they were, not many, but a good start.

"Shit." Rolling him to his side, she repeated the inspection on his back, only to find even more evidence of the chickenpox. This was not going to be fun, she knew it already, but, at least there was a good side to it all. Knowing he'd caught the chickenpox, ruled out the early worry that his malaria had resurfaced, and if she had to choose one over the other, she'd rather stock up on the Calamine lotion and Aveeno bath and suffer through him itching.

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