Friday, May 12, 2006


Thanks to everyone who offered their snarkiness sympathy to me and my family yesterday over our sudden illness. To repay you, I thought I'd share with you how my day went. Just to warn you, it ain't pretty. If you have a weak stomach at all, just move on and ignore this post.

You've been warned.

Of all my commenters, bobgirrl came closest to guessing the problem -- but it was a flu bug, not salmonella. How do we know it was the flu and not food poisoning? Because the Lad had it too, and he hadn't eaten the same food as us in days. Lay of with the garlic powder jokes, or I know what I'm getting you for a new kitchen warming gift.

This all actually started on Tuesday, when The Lad threw up three times over the course of the day. I know, babies throw up -- but not this kid. Or at least, not that often. Before this week, I could cont the times he's gotten sick like that on one hand. So we knew somehting wasn't right. Wednesday, he seemed to be doing better. He had diarrhea, but no more vomiting. That is, until late Wednesday night. He'd gone to bed before TFR got home, but woke up and fussed a bit around 9:30 or so. I suggested we let him go back toi sleep, but TFR wanted to feed him a bottle and rock him back to sleep. I decided to take a shower and turn in.

About halfway through the shower, I was startled to hear TFR shouting my name in a panicked voice. I shut off the shower, stepped out of the tub, and opened the bathroom door to find TFR standing there holding The Lad, both of them covered in what had at one point been milk. Thinking fast, I used my towel to cover most of it. I too The Lad off her hands, and while she cleaned up the mess, I took him to the tup, got him out of his PJ's and diaper, and showered him clean. After he was dressed, TFR put him back to bed while I finished cleaning up and then finished my shower. All in all, a pretty good tag team performance.

Less than an hour later, it had hit both of us as well. First me, then within minutes, TFR. Neither of us could sleep more than an hour without having to get up and suffer. By 4 AM, I knew I wasn't going to work yesterday. Yesterday proved to be one of the worst days of my life. So what was the thing that made it so bad?

Was it the fact that I had something the color and consistency of the Mississippi at New Orleans gushing out of my arse with the force of a fire hydrant? Or the joint aches that made it hurt to twitch, let alone move? Or was it the fact that my beloved wife, besides suffering the same symptoms, was serving as High Priestess of the Porcelain God, offering up her prayers to Ralph?

No. Those were all sheer misery. But the worst part, the part that broke my heart, was the fact that our level of incapacitation made it difficult, almost impossible, to care for The Lad. TFR couldn't get out of bed for more than enough time to perform her "call to prayer", and I was stove in like an arthritic octegenarian -- that is, when I wasn't doing my best to overload the city sewer system. Because I was in slightly less misery than she, I took over the childcare duties most of the day. It was all I could do to stay conscious well enough to watch him, and at one point, we had no choice but to put him in his playpen with some toys and PBS SProut playing 6 feet away (bad, bad parents!) while we both delt with our symptoms. It got so bad that by noon, I started depserately calling anyone we knew in town to see if someone could take him off our hands for the day. The fact that I had no luck whatsoever merely compounded my sense of helplessness, loneliness, and desperation. Eventually, I collapsed, and TFR had to muster the strength to take one shift while I took a hot bath and fell fast asleep.

In the end, ironically enough, what saved our bacon was the fact that he was as sick as we were. He would only stay awake for about 30 minutes at a time, just enough time to get some juice and pedialyte into him, then he'd start acting fussy and tired, we'd put him to bed, he'd cry, and then sleep for hours. his early afternoon nap was long enough that we were able to really rest, and by 3:30 I was able to enjoy a hearty meal of Nilla Wafers and Powerade.

By the time we woke up from his last nap of the day, we were both functioning, if still miserable. By this morning, I actually felt alive again, though I still don't want to look at food. Yesterday at my worst, I had to drag my butt to the grocery store to buy powerade, nilla wafers, and pedialyte. Do you know how much like food a grocery store smells? You don't even pay attention to it normally, but when you're that sick... it was like running a gauntlet.

It really was a lonely feeling not having anyone to fall back on. I don't regret the decision we made to move to Oregon -- this is where we belong. But it would be nice to have family and good friends close by.

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