Nothing gets the old adrenaline pumping like our four year old puking across the threshold into our bedroom at 5:30am. The adrenaline got us through the immediate aftermath-we divvied up responsibilities. Z got T out of his pukey pjs. I cleaned up the vomit on the floor and tracked down the lysol. Usually I avoid antibacterial cleaner. But vomit is in a different category. I do everything I can to make sure no one else is going to catch the bug. Even if I know that effort is futile.
After T was settled on the sofa with some TV and a puke bucket Z told me he’d stay downstairs and I should go back up for a bit more sleep. At that point I knew I had it, too. Z felt queasy as well-it is impossible to care for a kid with a stomach bug and not get all psychosomatic about it, so he was pretty sure it was in my head as well.
About five minutes later the diarrhea started. And within the hour I was hollering for Z as I was puking myself. He rubbed my back for a few minutes, but C was stirring and he had to leave. Z offered to clean out the sink. Unfortunately I’d started there before transitioning to the toilet, but I wouldn’t let him. He wasn’t sick yet, there was no way he was allowed to touch puke, even with latex gloves on.
Things get fuzzy after that. The diarrhea was unrelenting, violent, and painful. My body developed that pain you forget about when you are well. My skin felt bruised all over, the ache was terrible, I had the chills and was feverish. Somewhere in there C tossed his cookies. Z whisked him away and I cleaned up and put the soiled laundry in the washer. But I didn’t throw up again. And I besides the cleaning and peeing out of my ass (sorry, just calling ’em like I see ’em) I stayed in bed. Till after noon.
Somehow Z managed to wrangle two sick kids, feed our friends’ cat, get the the grocery store, and let me be alone until after noon. On this December 1st it felt like a Christmas miracle.
The thing that is impossible to explain to those who are embarking upon parenthood is how fucking unrelenting it is. How unreasonable. How permanently your life changes.
I am a princess when I get sick. It’s gross. But even with all my princess entitlement it took more than 4 years for me to have a full day to myself while sick. And please believe me, I’m not trying to say I’m some hero or special for not being able to have a break while sick before now. Every parent does it. If someone told me that the boys and I would have a stomach bug on day one of Z’s five day business trip last March I would have told you I couldn’t get through it. But I did. Not because I’m a kick ass human, but because that’s life. Man, recovery was rough from that one for me because I never really got a day to rest. I wasn’t myself for weeks.
That is what makes today so special. I got up after noon, tried to eat and drink a little something, discovered it was way too soon and was hustled up to bed again by Z. He even sat in bed with me for a sec and rubbed my back some more. I was mostly in bed all day. Z did everything. He made the boys meals and occupied them. It was a fucking awful day for all of us.
I’m still weak. My skin still feels bruised. When I eat the stabbing pains return to my gut. I’m running to the bathroom, although now it is about once an hour instead of every few minutes. But I got rest today. Honest to god like before we had the kids rest. It is going to make tomorrow a million times easier.
Thank you, Z. Thank you. This might just be the biggest gift you have given me in the last four and a half years.
And just so you don’t think I’m a total monster, the boys are fine. They were keeping down food by the afternoon. For some reason the stomach bug just wasn’t as severe for them. I’d rather it was me anyway. No matter how selfish you are (and I speak as one who is extremely selfish) the pain of watching your kid be violently ill is unbearable. You’d do anything to trade places with them because it actually hurts more to watch them go through it than it does to deal with it yourself. True story. Parenthood really is nuts.
Yesterday was much nicer. T and I cuddled on the sofa and watched the Harry Potter Marathon on ABC Family.
Walk softly and carry a big stick. Also yesterday. After I snapped the picture I grabbed the hunk of wood from him and returned it to the basement.