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The length of an ongoing illness can be estimated by the accumulation of materiel on one’s nightstand. Beginning with bottles of water and Advil, it propagates to medication, tissues, spilled cough drops and thermometer probe sheaths. A waste bin arrives and fills itself. Then a TV tray, for tasteless meals and overflow.

Doned’s cold has persisted for seven hundred forty-five days and at some point the entropy collapsed back into order: two bottles, one Kleenex box and a garbage disposal system that borders on the pneumatic. They’re in this together, he and the virus. Neither will let the other go.