Cindy is taking my pulse. Two fingers rest lightly on my left wrist. She watches the seconds tick past on one of the many cool watches she wears, big watch faces, bold colors. Her hand touches my wrist for six or twelve seconds.
"How's it?" I ask.
"Okay," Cindy says. She puts the back of her hand against my forehead. "Feeling warm again?"
"Not really. I mean, maybe a little."
The thermometer comes out. It's like a big battery in a blue pastic case. There's a thin metal rod attached to the case with a tightly wound cord. Cindy has been doing this a lot recently. We take my temperature much more frequently now, trying to gauge how often (and when) my fevers come. She pushes the metal rod into an attachment to the side of the box; it comes back out with a clear plastic covering. More sanitary that way. So I won't taste the metal -- not that it matters.
I'm not sure how long we keep it under my tongue. She holds the digital read-out so we can both watch it. It's easy to guess how high it will go based on how high it starts, and how fast the numbers change. I'm spending most of my time above one hundred.
Cindy takes the thermometer out of my mouth and writes down a few numbers before moving to the foot of my bed. She touches the lower part of my leg, still buried underneath sheets and blankets.
"Rest," she says. Her presence is comforting, reassuring, steady.