Week 37: A Great Swelling Of Ankles And Other Such Discomforts

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Dear Blue,

I’m writing this with only one good eye. The other eye, I accidentally lathered with this mysterious Chinese topical ointment, previously applied to your mother’s ailing shoulder. It works by heating up muscles or joints to provide pain relief. I splashed a dab into my hands and then rubbed it into your mother’s shoulder like she was some kind of prizefighter. After completing this task, I then proceeded to the bathroom, where after a thorough washing of hands, I relieved myself. I then washed my hands again and wiped my eyes because I felt some dirt in them. Clearly, I didn’t do an adequate job of washing my hands, because both my eye and my nether regions burn.

My discomfort, however, is not anything close to what your mother is currently experiencing. We are now at week 37, and your arrival is imminent, Blue. Right now, it’s kind of like the space shuttle being taxied to its launch pad by that massive crawler, except in this instance, the space shuttle is gaining weight every second and might launch at any time.

Your mother, your poor mother, comes home from work and her feet are swollen to cartoonish proportions. Her ankles have all but disappeared at this point and when she complains, “I look like one of those people in Wall-E,” I can only do so much.

It’s cray cray, Blue, how much your presence changes your mother. All her joints are loosening like she’s an astronaut aboard the space station. Her hair is thicker. Her face is warmer. She can smell the inviting aroma of Italian food from over a mile away. Her ankles are swelling. Her shoulder hurts because she constantly has to sleep on her left side to prevent the swelling mass of internal organs that you’re pushing up into her abdomen from crushing themselves against her ribs. She can’t sleep. Her bladder is the size of a bottle cap and she pees 1,267 times a day. Approximately.

She says, “Mike, make me comfortable.”

And I keep going until I finally do something that makes her comfortable. It might be massaging her feet. It might be carefully constructing her nightly pillow fort. It might be singing songs into her belly.

Or, as it was tonight, it might be letting her pick at pimples along my scalp. It is not a pleasant experience, Blue, having her dig her nails into my head, but I clench my teeth and sit there and allow it, listening to her squeal with delight whenever she “gets a good one.” I let that ancient wisdom, that time-honored mantra of “Yes, dear,” guide my path. Sometimes, my discomfort is what it takes to make her comfortable.

In the end, it’s one night down and only a few more to go, knowing that the finish line is in sight for all of us.

Just before we’re off to the races.



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