Tales From The Bunker

A couple of weeks ago, Bob burned the inside of his upper arm on a sheet pan full of chicken nuggets he was removing from the oven. Logistically, I have been unable to figure out how in the world it happened. I have tried to imagine it, asked him to demonstrate it, and quizzed the children on if they witnessed it but the whole incident remains a mystery. However, on the bingo card of our life, this chain of events is definitely a square. We consume a not insignificant amount of chicken nuggets so someone was bound to be injured in the preparation of them at some point.

The burn on Bob’s arm progressed typically – red and blistery and irritated – before finally beginning to heal over. What wasn’t typical was the way his heart reacted to the burn on his arm, which was to drop out of rhythm. For five days, while the worst of the burn healed, his heart was in arrhythmia.

We’ve become accustomed to Bob’s heart being thrown off by external events. It’s been like this for many years and it happens with regularity. An overly stressful event can throw it out for a bit. A particularly decadent meal can make it beat irregularly. Sometimes, we don’t even know why it’s happening and we simply guess, like maybe it was the Harvest Moon? And, while Bob is on medication to help his heart beat in regular rhythm most of the time, when he has these episodes, he can usually knock it back into place by eating the right foods, getting the right exercise, making time for the right rest. It’s all very manageable.

Until it’s not.

Which is what makes the threat of contracting a debilitating virus so terrifying. When you’re living with a hair trigger heart that takes the better part of a week to beat normally after a minor burn or a particularly salty dinner, the thought of what would happen if Bob’s body were truly under attack or if he was fighting off a much more serious problem fills me with dread. It would, inevitably, as it has in the past, lead to a cascade of complications.

Bob’s (rather high strung, in my opinion) heart is one of the many reasons we’re all hunkered down at home, rarely departing, never apart, my singular goal being to keep everyone healthy. There are days where it feels like my intense anxiety and fear are the only things standing between us and certain doom.

For the most part though, I just feel unbelievably fortunate to be able to shelter in place with those I love the most during such a scary and worrisome time.


“…we don’t leave our home a lot now. It gets a little bit lonely with just being with my family all the time. But I find a way to make it work. Life is still fun. How can life not be fun. Straight when you walk out that door an adventure begins. So just remember that life can be much more than you think it is.” (Amelia, 8, eternal optimist)

Being cloistered with one’s family non-stop for weeks on end is totally fun but it’s also absolutely terrible. And, the kids are not the problem here. Sure, there has certainly been the occasional, “WE DO NOT PLAY SPIKEBALL IN THE HOUSE,” with a dash of, “NO CARTWHEELING WHILE HOLDING FORKS,” but the kids are actually handling all of this with aplomb, especially since their world was just turned upside down.

So, no it’s not the kids. It’s Bob. Bob is the problem. He is the kink in the hose. The chink in the armor. The fly in our soup. Having him home full-time has exposed and hi-lighted tremendous differences in opinion on household matters, the majority of which seem to surround a central theme. And, that theme is kitchen linen management.

Sure, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, go easy on the guy with the heart condition,” but you would be wrong. Just as wrong as Bob is when he uses the dish towel that we dry our hands on to dry a freshly washed pan. That is, essentially, kitchen blasphemy.

One uses the TEA TOWEL for that.