I’m exhausted.

For what felt like the millionth time since Nov. 1, I took Zoey to the doctor today, expecting to hear “Yep, she’s got a cold,” and instead hearing something I absolutely did not expect to hear. In this case, what has been (until tonight) a nuisance cough turned out to be more reactive airway disease. One doctor tells me it’s asthma. Another one makes it sound like it’s not REALLY asthma, but is LIKE asthma, or is a TYPE of asthma that COULD lead to real asthma, but then again maybe not. She has to go back on nebulizer treatments, but this time, she will be on two neb medications, not just one.

Long story short, she has had two neb treatments since her doctor’s appointment, and since then, her cough has gotten dramatically worse. Not seizing, gasping, scary coughing, but just a constant, unrelenting, noisy, tight cough that must be awful to put up with, judging by how hard a time I am having just listening to it. The most recent neb treatment also left her quivering — a transient but pitiful side effect I’d forgotten about. She went to bed still shaking a bit, with her nose running nonstop, and her never-ending cough. She’s been up twice since falling asleep, sounding very small and tired and needing her nose wiped. I would give nearly anything for her to have a couple of hours with no cough and no runny nose. If for no other reason than she’s earned a break.

Danny is supposed to call me when he is on his way home from work, about 20-25 minutes away. Yesterday was his first 12-hour shift; a machine went offline during the day and set him back, and he got out of there at 9:35 or so, and got home shortly before 10. This was an anomaly, he said — the machine was offline while his work piled up. Normally folks try to get out of there about 9. It is now ten minutes to 10, and I have not heard from him. This day is just ceaseless. I will never be off duty. I will never get a quiet, peaceful break where I can relax without worrying, wondering if I should give Zoey one MORE medication on top of the ones I already had to give her for the fever and cough. Worrying about what time Danny will leave, if he’s already left and forgot to call and is in a ditch beside the interstate, or whether he forgot to lock one of his car doors and was attacked by some evil thug at an intersection.

Most nights, being on our own until late will probably not be too hard. But today had me worn down by about 4 p.m., which, for the record, was nearly six hours ago.