I spent the week of Thanksgiving having reason to feel both grateful and guilty, and here’s the account of the illness that provoked it all. Warning : this gets really gross really fast. Far grosser than the snot!Hitler mustache. So I’m just going to put it all behind the cut. I’m not sure if I have anything profound to say, but it’s definitely the biggest thing that’s happened to O and me in the last month, so it’s worth writing about.
Midnight, the Saturday night before Thanksgiving, O had been asleep next to me for a while, and I was finally ready to join him in sleep when I turned around and saw him vomit. He still occasionally spits up, but this was not that. Not at all. This was a fountain of vomit, with significant water pressure, and he didn’t even really seem to wake up all the way while it was happening. Scary. But I put on my crisis hat (not a literal hat), stripped O, stripped the bed, stripped myself, plunked us both in the shower, and wrote it off to the chunk of formula powder I hadn’t been fast enough to stop him eating while I was getting ready for bed. Without the energy to re-make the bed, we just lay down in the guest room bed and I tried to get to sleep.
I know I was awakened at least a couple times by more vomiting, and the diaper situation was causing me concern : instead of poop, or even diarrhea, we had yellow, biley liquid that overflowed everywhere. Early afternoon, and I took him downstairs to try to get some solid food in him, since formula came right back up, and I called the nursing line of his pediatrician to see if I should be doing anything different. They said if he wasn’t listless and his mouth was still moist, we didn’t have to go for IV fluids, and it was probably just a viral thing. I asked Hobbit Housemate to go for Pedialyte, and cleaned up the vomit that had spewed while I was on the phone with the nurse. (Hobbit Housemate’s boyfriend said I seemed calmer than most parents in my situation. His pediatrician uncle is always having to talk parents down about their children’s illnesses.) I also called the friend whose kids O had been playing with the day before, to warn her, although she said something milder had already gone through her family.
Even when he wasn’t getting formula to try to ease his stomach, O did not want to take the Pedialyte. I mean, he makes a yuk face for the first bite of most solid foods, then demands more, but with this, he actively resisted the bottle. I gave him water instead (which came right back up), but although he was more subdued than normal, he never really dried out, and I thought that was that. But it was just the beginning.
The next morning, I had the horrible diarrhea first thing in the morning. I took an experimental drink of water, and that confirmed to me that I was really sick. By the time Tony arrived to take over, I had called in sick to work, but as I was handing O to him and trying to describe what was going on, I vomited helplessly into the duvet on my lap. I hadn’t really made the bed after having to strip it on Sunday, but luckily I still had the mattress protector on, because every time I vomited, I also shat myself. It was horrible and humiliating. I had to ask Tony to do a load of sheets covered in vomit, crawled to the shower to clean myself up, and fell back into bed, unable to even lie on my side without feeling like I was going to hurl.
And that continued for the whole morning. Lie down, get up, vomit and shit, clean up, repeat. I knew I couldn’t keep down water, so I asked another housemate to get me some ice, but I kept throwing that up, too. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to take care of O that night, so I called the SK family. They couldn’t take him, but the Imperfects could, and with that squared away, I relaxed a little. Until I realized that I was still vomiting violently, but nothing was coming up. I called my doctor’s office to ask about getting an anti-emetic, but since I wasn’t being treated for this, they couldn’t prescribe anything, so I started calling friends who I didn’t think would be at work to see if anyone could give me a ride to the ER.
After a lot of voicemails, I finally called up the friend who probably infected us, and her husband came and picked me up to take me the five blocks to the ER. I promptly had a little bit of diarrhea in my pants and had to leave those pants on for the first three hours of getting IV fluids and anti-emetics in the ER, shivering and crying and trying to get the help (and spare pants) of a nurse. Also, when I was lucid, I tried to communicate with people and ended up going over my texting limit for the month. Thank goodness for Siri, because I couldn’t see well enough to type for a while there. Then the friend picked me up, took me to the pharmacy for drugs and electrolytes, and took me home. This is how I spent my first night away from O.
The next day was Tuesday, and as it was a short week, I had called out from work for the whole of it. I was coordinating with Mama Imperfect about when she would be dropping off O when I got the message from Tony that he was now laid low. With the help of drugs and sipping on vile tasting Vitamin Water, I managed to not vomit and made it to the toilet in time while keeping O mildly entertained on the bed. I emailed the housemates, and seeing that several of them were also now sick (plus Hobbit Housemate’s boyfriend), I asked the friend who picked me up from the hospital to make us soup, and she did, because she’s awesome.
But this left the problem of Thanksgiving. I wasn’t sure O or I would be well enough to travel on Wednesday. I mean, he has a diaper, but I wasn’t sure I could be away from a bathroom for that long. But Thanksgiving is my family’s biggest holiday, and I missed it last year for the first time because I was waiting for O to be born. Ever since college, I’ve worried that any of these Thanksgivings could be the last one, since my grandmother hosts and is in her 90s. So I woke up Wednesday morning and decided to push through, to head home and try to survive the T, airport, and airplane. But first, I needed to get new pillows, because O had vomited on all of ours. Oh, and take Purple Housemate to the emergency room, because she could barely move.
We made it to DC, and O was a cranky pants for a lot of the time. Everyone still commented on how agreeable he was, but I knew better. I knew that the combination of sickness and hunger were making him clingier and grumpier. My sister, mother, and niece were all still fighting over who got to hold him, which gave me some down time to really recover. I broke his (and my) dairy fast at Thanksgiving lunch, since I’m sure there was massive amounts of butter in all the veggie side dishes, and that plate of purees was the most food either of us had had since Sunday. We also tried some formula at dinner, but that came right back up, all over my niece.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we do all the winterizing chores around the house and yard, and we were also planning to celebrate an early first birthday for O. I was still feeling squiffy and was sent to bed, but lying there useless made me uncomfortable, so I put on pants and went to help out, resting frequently. I did get to take a hatchet to a tree, though, so that was fun. Mom baked a diabetic-friendly cake, but that failed, so she did it again with a different sugar substitute, and after lunch we celebrated with little presents and chocolate. With less than two hours to go until Shabbas, I went grocery shopping with my dad, and after Shabbas came in, my parents took O to a party to show him off. My sister offered to have O sleep with her so I could have a night on my own, and I took her up on it, getting three books read before coming down to breakfast on Saturday morning.
Saturday night is when it all started going wrong again. My mom was feeling nauseous, so I insisted on staying home from the family movie with her and O. Then my sister and niece were home earlier than expected, since my niece vomited up her sushi dinner during the opening credits. My bother-in-law, who left on Friday afternoon, was sick back in North Carolina, and both my brothers were feeling it by Sunday morning. Eventually, everyone but my sister-in-law got it. I’m just grateful my grandma didn’t get sick. And, as the coup de grace, in the airport Sunday afternoon, waiting to board the plane back to Boston, O had explosive diarrhea so bad that I not only had to strip him, but also take off my shirt and dress myself just in my sweatshirt, barely making it onto the plane.
So, yeah, from O, we got 3/5 housemates, one nanny, one significant other, both my parents, all my siblings, one brother-in-law, and one niece sick Oh, and the older Imperfect boy also had some vomiting. I don’t think I have anything really to say, except that I’m grateful to the Imperfects and the Fentos who took care of me, O, and the housemates, and I’m sorry to everyone who got sick. It was a fucking week, I tell you.