Time marches on and so does life. Winter was approaching, and Clara would always deteriorate some over the winter. She would typically get a cold that would last a good portion of the winter, and as a result become even weaker. The guys annual ski trip was fast approaching, and this would be the first trip all the guys were together since Mike was married. I started feeling a bit run down myself and before long I knew I had bronchitis. Unfortunately, it was December 31st when my temperature went up and all the doctor’s offices had closed early. By the next day I was sicker than I ever remembered being with bronchitis before, and I had a strange looking rash on my arm. At first I thought the dog’s claws had scratched my arm, but now I was noticing this scratch looked like tiny bumps. I felt so sick I stayed in our guest room, hoping Andy wouldn’t catch what I had. My faithful companion Carly, would curl up and lay next to me, looking concerned when I had coughing spells that were hard to stop. She would only get up to go outside to the bathroom and then return right to bed with me. That’s a loyal dog! Since it was January 1st, Andy was off work and took care of the house and his mother. The next day he had to go to work, and even though this was day three of running a 102+ degree temperature, Clara still required her care. Fortunately, it was not a dialysis day and I drove myself to the doctors. I was diagnosed with bronchitis and the flu. Then I slid up my shirt sleeve and said, “Oh yeah, I thought my dog scratched my arm, but now I’m noticing small bumps, what kind of rash is this?” Upon closer inspection the doctor said they were shingles. I left with a handful of prescriptions to get filled and could not wait to get back home to bed. I came home and got Clara her lunch, then crawled into bed, I felt rotten. I’ve been knocked down with sickness before, but Andy said this was the worst he had ever seen me. He wondered about leaving for their ski trip. I could not believe here was another ski trip and I was sick! Andy would pay for a nice condo for all the guys to stay in for this trip; it was his annual gift to them. So I would never even consider Andy staying home because others would be affected by that. The next day Clara would express concern about how terrible I sounded, but still expected the same amount of work from me for her care. When I was riding her to dialysis she commented on how terrible my cough sounded. Then she would ask me to run to her favorite soup place, another fifteen minutes away, to get her soup for after dialysis. I told her I would run to the local grocery store and get her soup and she turned her nose up to jarred soup. How did she get to this point in life where she couldn’t see beyond herself, knowing how sick I was? Normally I would have ended up going and getting the soup Clara wanted, but grumbling to myself the entire way. This time, I physically just didn’t have it; I needed to get back to bed. I told her it was the grocery store soup or nothing, and she agreed. My fever was back up, it was a damp, cold, rainy day and as I walked into the grocery store with chills from my fever, I thought of the weekend ahead with Clara. I got home, set the alarm for the time to leave to pick Clara up, and crawled into bed. The alarm rang much too quickly, I still had chills, but had to drag myself back out to pick up Clara. When I arrived Clara asked how I was feeling. I didn’t even answer her at first because I thought if she really cared, she would not have been a snot about her soup. She asked again and I said, “Terrible.” She said she figured that and was sorry I felt so bad. In the same breath she added she could not wait to get home to have her hot tea and soup. I asked Clara if her daughters knew that I had bronchitis, the flu and shingles and she said they did. That would baffle me that they would not volunteer to kick up their time with their mother.