Melka is in the shower as I write this, her body desperate for relief from the painful, all over itching of chicken pox. It’s 3:30 am – she’s barely slept a wink all night.

She’s being given an I/V drip of A–, an anti-viral drug to fight the varicella virus. The main concern is that it could spread to her lungs and cause pneumonia.

So we’re in a separate room inside the maternity ward. “Separate” because there’s no way in hell they will let melka wander around… and all the nurses are wearing masks when they come in, hairnets, and full front gowns.

This is so not fun, and the shower continues.

The only other relief at hand is the talcum powder they’ve given us… with menthol. It’s like I’m dumping candy cigarette dust on my wife’s naked, splotchy body. It’s a sight to behold.

The baby is apparently fine. I mention it because that is the subtext, the super-worry. There is nothing more important, nothing more worrisome. But the doctors – and dr google – agree that there’s no known risk to a fetus after 20 weeks on the drug, and the risk of pneumonia is certainly greater. And her cough is getting louder, wetter.

The advice is to be here in the hospital for two days – one and a half more – and see if she’s feeling better. If so, then she can go home to a bathtub and to another 5 days of oral tablets.

I’m experiencing worry transformed into a sort of calm panic, where things stop moving forward in time and the future becomes almost academic.