He’s asleep right now, in the hospital bed beside me. Almost an hour ago, they did a spinal tap. His MRI looked fine, but radiology saw an enhanced area that the neurologist seemed to believe was nothing. It might mean infection, they say. Let’s just rule out meningitis. That’s all I need to hear. My emotional RPM zooms full throttle. I feel I might need a paper bag but know I’m overreacting. That there’s nothing to react to yet. But my nerves can’t help it. And my stomach. My whole body is a tense rope of knot. And I know I can’t act afraid because that’s more of a burden for Phil. To play the consoling mode. And he’s been through enough. He doesn’t complain. He takes things on by himself. I, however am not him, but he’s going through this too. I kiss him goodbye as he goes to replace me on the Abigail shift. I keep watching the clock, waiting for the news. A nurse comes in to tell me the fluid drained from his lumbar puncture was yellow. "But the doctor isn’t worried about that," she says quickly, knowing by the sight of my face that my imagination is about to sprint away. "That’s normal because he’s just had a shunt put in not too long ago." And I think, not too long ago? It’s been like three weeks. It shouldn’t still be yellow now should it? "Yellow just indicates there was some bleeding, but that bleeding is normal when the shunt was…" I zone out. I don’t believe her. I want to believe her, but instead I’ll choose to keep belief out of it. I’ll wait. And watch a clock. And listen to my stomach growl. And wonder when I’ll get the initial results. "Well non-chemical meningitis is possible, which just means a presense of white blood cells without the bacteria." Stop saying the goddamn m-word. If there are "cells" they keep saying, as if "cells" are the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz.If there are cells, we’ll run a culture and watch it for days. The cells can tell us all sorts of things. But ideally, there would be no cells. I hate this. This immediate torture of waiting, and then the torture of possibly learning something I’d rather not learn.