It can't have been more than a week ago that my husband and I were remarking on our tremendous luck, in that boy had never been seriously ill. We'd dealt with a few runny noses and random low-grade fevers, but overall, we had really been fortunate. Our conversation was just the sign God was looking for that we needed to be reminded that we are not in control, because two days ago, boy was definitely out of sorts. I chalked it up to the fact that his second birthday was approaching, and that he was just trying out the whole expressing-an-opinion-forcefully idea, but in retrospect, I'll bet he was already feeling punky. I was also feeling worse than usual -- my pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting were making themselves more than known after about a week of lessening symptoms. Their return to full force was not welcome. All in all, we did NOT have a good day.
And then yesterday, I woke up next to a sick kid.
When I opened my eyes in the morning, I didn't really notice much out of the ordinary, except that boy made a couple of strange burping noises I'd never heard him make before. He didn't seem to be bothered, though, so as I got up to head for the bathroom myself, I didn't think much of it. The wave of nausea that hit me halfway there was just. Wrong. As I stood bent over in the bathroom, trying to keep my knees from buckling from the sheer intensity of the sickness, I remember thinking, "Whoa. What the heck is up with THIS?"
Despite the relatively alarming strength of the experience, the basic act was nothing new to boy or myself -- it's how we start all our mornings these days, with boy hollering, "Mom cough? Mom ok?" from the other room -- so I got cleaned up, washed my hands, and went to truck boy out to his high chair for breakfast. As I rounded the bed, he started being sick himself. I wasn't really all too shocked, I have to say, based on my newly-in-perspective sickness myself and his burping, so luckily I was pretty calm.
(If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip the rest of this. Please know I'm not trying to be intentionally gross -- it was just a very vivid moment. It was kind of a defining moment in my motherhood experience, if you will.)
I've seen people get sick before. My mom took care of children in our home for many years, and I've been around my share of miserably ill kids. Anyone who watches MTV these days is bound to see someone throw up. It's no mystery. But there's something particularly rough about it when it's your baby who's sick, your child who's at the mercy of a body rejecting a bug. The force of his retching made him almost go limp, and it was so relentless that for a few seconds at a time, he couldn't draw a breath. It seemed to go on forever, and as he fought to breathe through it, arching his back as he started to panic, I felt more helpless than I have ever felt in my life. All I could do was hold him upright with a towel under his chin, and tell him it was ok, he was doing fine, mommy's here, just get it out, let the yuckies out and it would be all over. My little champ got through it, and sat panting and sweating as he recovered. He never once cried. I asked him if he was ok, and he said, quietly, "Det." That's his version of "Yes." It had never sounded more pitiful.
I scooped him up, and we headed for a room without carpet, as I had the feeling this wasn't going to be the last time we went through it. I called my husband, and my mom, letting them know what was going on, and consulting over whether a trip to the doctor was in order. As I was hanging up with my husband, another wave of nausea hit me. I ran to the powder room with the little guy in my arms, sat him just outside of it, and basically buckled. As he listened to me, he would cry out, "Mom?" Like, "What the hell, lady? Are you gonna die or what? 'Cause you don't sound too reassuring, if you know what I mean." All I could do was try to tell him, "Mommy's ok!" between retches. THAT'S when I knew it was bad.
I decided to just try him on some water once I got him into his high chair, instead of his regular breakfast. The sip he took stayed down for nine minutes, and again I had to witness his full-body retching, his gasps to get in air between the spasms. When his pediatrician's office opened at 8:30, I called and got us an appointment for 11, their first available. The hours from 6:45 to 8:30, when I could finally reach someone, and then the wait from 8:35 to 11, seemed like an eternity. For some of the time, I let him sit in his high chair and watch Sesame Street on my computer. My sick little guy insisted on sitting with his beloved Monkey and Pig tucked around him, and I didn't get any smiles that morning.
After it was clear neither of us would be eating anything, we went upstairs to his playroom to divert him from his misery. I thought the sight of his beloved "car-trucks" would inspire him to play a little, but all he did was lay on the floor and say, "Mom? Tired."
If any of you have met my son, you know that this is as unlike him as it is possible to get.
He threw up once more, then fell asleep in my arms. I let him snooze until it was time to leave for the doctor's office. My amazing husband came to drive us there so that I could sit in the back seat with boy in case he threw up again and started choking in his car seat. Normally a garrulous traveler ("Mom! Big bus! Yellow bus. White car?"), he sat silently, a small toy clutched in each hand, although he had no energy to actually play with either. He allowed himself to be carried into the doctor's office waiting room, where he sat listlessly on our laps. He then wailed through his entire examination, where we learned that yes, indeed -- he had a stomach virus. I was tremendously thankful for the fact that he had no fever or other symptoms, but the vomiting was worrying me, because by that time, he'd had NO fluids since 8 pm the night before. That was 16 hours of no fluids for my little guy, and that seemed alarming to me.
Luckily we got a prescription for some amazing medicine (yay, Zofran!) and it put a stop to his vomiting almost immediately. He slept all the way home, had some Gatorade and a cracker once we got there, and then took ANOTHER nap for an hour and a half. The rest of the day was spent regulating how much food and water he took in -- he wanted WAY more than I thought prudent to let him have -- and then he collapsed into bed before 9 pm.
I'm happy to report that he's now doing MUCH better, and has a newfound love of chicken soup with alphabet noodles. ("Mom! Eat Ps? Eat D! More Q. Mom find! Find K!!") I seem to have fought off my own stomach virus too, and we're slowly getting back to normal. But I'll never forget the feeling of holding my very sick boy in my arms, listless and miserable, and feeling powerless to do anything to make him feel better.
Lord, thank You for the blessing of the health of this family. Thank You for watching over us and touching us with Your love and protection. Please watch over us as we continue to mend. Protect us and our loved ones from illness and injury and pain. Help us to do Your work.