My children returned home yesterday at about eight o’clock, courtesy of my friend Lisa who was brave enough to drive all the way from Utah with double her usual amount of kids in the car. Impressive, no?
Gabe threw up all over his car seat when he was less than a mile from home, but seemed ok, albeit a bit smelly. Within minutes of their arrival, I had taken Jonas’ temperature (101.6), heard him cough and sent him out the door to the ER where he was diagnosed with double pneumonia. At 11:40, about the time Chris left the hospital with Jonas, Gabe started throwing up again and spiked a fever just shy of 104 degrees. I am not supposed to be lifting 35lbs of listless toddler, per hysterectomy recovery rules, but when he throws up all over himself and is too weak to voluntarily get out of his puddle of vomit- what do you do? I gently lifted him out of the mess to a clean swath of floor, and visualized positive outcomes where no internal stitches came undone. I did this three times before Chris got home.
Chris got home about thirty minutes later, after I had tried to get Gabe to keep down Gatorade and Motrin (not happening), and after a prayer, Chris put Gabe in the car and went back to the ER. Gabe has a bad ear infection and some viral thing that causes vomit. They got home sometime around three am. Chris was supposed to work all weekend; his shift started in a mere three hours from then, so I was about having a panic attack. Luckily, he managed to get out of it so he could stay home and deal with his health-challenged family.
Between the sleepy, feverish crying and the soul shaking hacking, I woke up quite a few times last night. The finale to that endless chorus of needs was definitely Miss Margaret at 6:30 am. Maggie is known in our family as being the last person to voluntarily get out of bed in the morning. She is an early to bed, late to rise kind of person. Today, however, she was the very first person awake and she was so excited about waking up before everyone else that she came and woke me up so she could share her joy. I. Kid. You. Not. Chica has clearly missed the entire point of being the early bird, which is that you have the whole, quiet house to yourself. She could have raided the Easter candy and stuffed herself silly while playing video games, but nooo, she has to wake me up. To brag.
Over the past few days of alternatively being excited to see my children and freaked out having to try to care for them again, I kept going over this ridiculous scenario in which I just didn’t call any of the kind individuals who had volunteered to help out. I would soldier on, the very model of self sufficiency, making due and being JUST. FINE. OKAY? I would do this because I don’t like to ask for help, and I don’t like feeling needy and even though I am well aware that we all have times when we need to be the helpee and not the helper and people who give help get blessings and blah-blah-feel good-blah. . . (go ahead and roll your eyes at me, I know you want to).
Kind of funny that within just a few hours of getting my kids back that I get a harsh reminder that I am healed enough to take care of approximately just me and absolutely no one else, isn’t it? Running on about five hours of heavily interrupted sleep makes things hurt more and makes me more impatient and snappish in general, and so I have been sore, cranky and emotionally volatile all day. One day of in your face, real life motherhood, and people, I’m toast. I’m dead on my feet. I’m completely wiped out and worthless.
And humbled enough to ask for the help I now fully realize I will need if I expect to survive the next month. Ugh.
If you would like to help me by praying that these kids get hurry up and get healthy, and that Gabe will continue to sleep in his own bed (Gabe has put himself to bed in his own bed two nights in a row people- HOLY COW- this is a certifiable miracle), that would be just great.
While, I too, feel badly for my children when they become ill, I draw the line at wishing I could barf for them. This may have something to do with the fact that I spent the whole time I was expecting them vomiting several times a day, but mostly it boils down to how much it just stinks for Mom to be sick.
In my experiences before today, no one takes care of Mom when Mom falls ill. The children run amok, and mother's attention is still needed. The way things seem to play out at my house is that I will only get extremely sick if Chris is working a 12 hour shift that day. Suffice it to say that by the time I recover from whatever ails me, the house will be trashed. There will be mysterious sticky stuff all over my kitchen. There will be toothpaste in the carpet. Entire packages of Oreo's will be consumed, and the crumbs will be everywhere. My floor will have mysteriously gone missing, and it will take a week to pull everything back to order.
I would rather do 500 loads of barf laundry, administer medicine, walk the halls with a miserable baby, get puked on, and buy new toys and movies out of sheer pity for my sickly brood than do it for them. There. I said it. I'm a bad mom. Those little kid stomach bugs are extreme, and I've had my share since having children.
I got sick last night at 11pm. I woke up and began an 8 hour exercise in dehydration as I experienced violently classic stomach virus symptoms on top of breastfeeding. I was so thoroughly expunged of bodily fluids, I thought I was going to calcify and wither like an ancient mummy. I managed to call Chris at about four am and beg him to spend his break buying me Gatorade, which he did.
My children were up by 6, chipper and ready to start the day. I heard their happy little voices and wanted to cry. And then I learned something.
Jonas is a big kid now. I can't tell you how much I love that boy and his willingness to be helpful. I explained that I had vomited six times since he last saw me, and he immediately took Gabe downstairs and played with him for an hour until Gabe needed me. He cooked his signature meals for him and his sister, breakfast lunch and dinner: cereal, top ramen, and cheese quesadillas. He got me my book out of the car. He got my mail. He watched Gabe over and over again. He cleaned up spills, checked on me regularly, and even used the old, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit" line on his sister when he served dinner. My son rocks.
(*In the case of life threatening illness, I would totally take it- but a run of the mill flu- no way).]]>
I was asked to do a blog reminder about the newer, deadlier strain of Staph that is starting to become more widespread.
MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (there’s a reason some words have acronyms, eh?) is a very scary infection that is extremely resistant to antibiotics. Here is some info direct from their website:
There are two known types of MRSA. You may have heard of Healthcare-Associated (HA-MRSA), which occurs in hospitals and nursing homes, but a newer type of MRSA is Community-Associated (CA-MRSA), which has recently begun to spread in public settings like gyms, locker rooms, households and schools.
People can carry MRSA and not have any symptoms. These “carriers” can also transmit the bacteria to other people. MRSA can be easily spread through skin-to-skin contact and by touching contaminated items. This is why it is crucial to take measures to help reduce the spread of MRSA using these practical steps.
* Scrub up – Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds – the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice – or use an alcohol-based hand rub sanitizer.
* Wipe it down – Use a disinfecting bleach solution to wipe down and disinfect hard surfaces. Make sure to use clean cloths to avoid spreading MRSA from one surface to another. (1 tablespoon of disinfecting bleach diluted in 1 quart of water)
* Cover your cuts – Keep any nicks or wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage until healed.
* Keep to yourself – Do not share personal items, like towels or razors, that come into contact with bare skin.
* Use a barrier – Keep a towel or clothing between skin and shared equipment.
MRSA, like other staph bacteria, can cause a skin infection such as pimples, rashes, abscesses, boils or what can look like a spider bite. These infections are usually warm, painful, red or swollen.
If you think that you or anyone in your family may have a MRSA infection, contact a licensed health care professional, especially if the infection is large, painful, warm to the touch, or does not heal by itself.
In 2005, over 19,000 Americans died of MRSA, and it is so easy to fight the spread if we all just take the time to scrub up and step up our hygiene habits. Be well, be happy!
More Cosmo Cricket Hugs!
Sunday was bad. Sunday, I was an overly emotional wreck. Sunday, I vomited and then I cried. And then I started crying so hard I vomited. And then I threw up a few more times for good measure and sobbed as the pregnancy hormones ran smack dab into dehydration and HOLY CATS I WAS A MESS!
So I posted about my sad, sad state on the Hyperemesis Gravidarum website, and although they all totally got where I was coming from, a few said, “Honey, you sound really dry. . .time for IV fluids.” And I said, “but. . .but. . .I kept down water today! I can still see my veins. . .well, kinda”. And then I got a migraine and as the night progressed I went from pathetic to miserable to too dizzy to drive myself to the ER.
Chris drove, and it was a good thing I at least had the sense to let him do that because I passed out half way into the ER and he carried me into the waiting room and got me all squared away. Turns out I was dehydrated. Not that I haven’t been more dehydrated, but I really needed some fluids. The trouble was I just could not stop vomiting, even after giving me two doses of Zofran, which is usually my miracle drug. The doctor wanted to give me Phenergan right off the bat, and I resisted. The Zofran has always worked better, and Phenergan really messes me over.
About the third time I was heaving the lining of my stomach into a bag he walked by and said, “Can I please give you some Phenergan?”
And I said, “ANYTHING!” And then I asked for morphine, which he was actually willing to give me, but I figured that would probably put me completely out of reality for much longer than that was healthy, given my usual reaction to narcotics. Turns out I didn’t need narcotics to get totally snookered.
They put A LOT of Phenergan in my IV, and true to fashion, it BURNED. And then the room went fuzzy. And then I felt myself fall backward on the pillow and succumb to a somewhat passed out version of slumber, punctuated every few seconds by my legs jumping uncontrollably.
It was at this point that the people in the ER decided to try to talk to me. Now, I know what I was saying, but I’m guessing that I was slurring the consonants right out of my vocabulary because they made me repeat everything at least four times.
“Excuse me, ma’am?”
“Ahhhhmmm trrd. Cnnn ahh goo hmm?”
“Could you repeat that please?”
“Ahm trrrrrd. Caaaaan ahhh go hommmmm?”
“Not until the doctor discharges you.”
A few minutes later (ok, honestly it could have been hours. I have no idea.) the tech tells me that I can go home just as soon as I can walk around the ER and not pass out. I’m sure I replied with something unintelligible, but I was thinking, “Seriously? You want me to walk? Do you have any idea how doped up I am?” However, I really wanted to go home. I was so thrashed that all I could think about was my bed. So I rolled myself off the gurney with a blankie wrapped around my shoulders and began to hobble around the ER.
The tech stays very close, and I notice that everyone in the ER is watching me, including the old man in the bed next to me and the patient at the end of the hall. Then I realize why.
I am not walking forward. I am walking two steps sideways, one step forward, half step to the left, sway back on my heels, repeat! It hits me that for all intents and purposes, I am drunk. Very, very, about to pass out in the gutter drunk. It takes awhile, but I am determined and manage to get back to where I started. I can walk. Sort of. They discharge me.
Chris takes me home. Not only is it nearly one am, but I am still barely able to communicate. I attempt to convey my garbled thanks, and then pass out as soon as I hit the sheets.
For three days I didn't vomit. It freaked me out so badly that when I started spotting I thought FOR SURE I was miscarrying. The baby was fine and I thought, "wow- I could be normal. This could be the light at the end of the tunnel!" I ate everything in sight and I even RAN AN ERRAND to the mall to get my chapped, dehydrated lips some of my favorite lipgloss and my three year old some fancy pink mary janes. TOWANDA!!!!!!
And then it was over. And I was dizzy and vomiting and vomiting and dizzy, and it's all been downhill since then. I threw up while driving this morning, which, let me tell you, takes a certain amount of skill and finesse to pull off. Thank heaven we've been living off of fast food and there was a McDonald's bag within reach. I puked through the stop light, I puked down the street, I puked through the roundabout, and then pulled into a Burger King parking lot, parked sideways and heaved the rest of my guts up. A very kind bus driver saw all this and pulled over to make sure that I was alright, "ha ha", I told her, "morning sickness". . .from hell, I added mentally. She told me that she had never been pregnant, but that it looked pretty awful, and asked if she could call someone for me. I told her that I was fine, and that I was on my way to the clinic anyway.
"But shouldn't your husband be taking you?" She was adamant.
"Um, they don't let him off for stuff like this. Only if they think I'm dying, really."
And so I went, I barely got through my appointment without fainting or puking. The doctor told me to "keep my fingers crossed" that it will ease up. Yeah.
I'll be in my bed. ]]>
We drove from California to Utah in twelve hours. That is neither legal, nor does it set any records, as others have made it faster. Chris drove the first three hours. At this point my stomach woke up enough to realize that I was being driven somewhere, and we had to pull over so I could throw up at a McDonald’s. I was blessed with a public restroom that had just been cleaned, so it wasn’t that bad. You must understand, I have an overactive nausea center. I get carsick, airsick, seasick, front porch swing sick. It takes very little to upset my tummy, and although I would usually take some Dramamine, being pregnant, it isn’t allowed.
Once we ate breakfast, I got behind the wheel of the car where I stayed from Reno to Sandy, Utah. I will admit that my average speed was 90 miles an hour. My international readers with their lack of speed limit are thinking, “whatever” at this fact; my father is apoplectic. The fact is, I drove through Nevada. There is nothing to run into in Nevada. NOTHING. I go off the road between Reno and Salt Lake City and the worst thing I’m going to hit is sagebrush. Now, I grew up in North Dakota, so I know flat. However, if you run off the road in North Dakota you’re going to at least have a Holstein or a hay bale or a crop of sunflowers and a ticked off farmer to contend with. In Nevada, your best shot is maybe bumping a roadside casino every hundred miles, and even that is a gamble at best.
There is nothing to see or hit on Interstate-80, including other vehicles, so you may as well just put the pedal down and get there. After five years of California driving, where the average speed is 85, 90 mph wasn’t that big of a deal. Occasionally, if we are going more south in Utah, we will enjoy the ride and go through Vegas. While we’ve never stopped to enjoy some Las Vegas show deals, the food has always been great and the drive much prettier!
We arrived in Sandy and got to stay at my sister in law’s house. Cindy and Allan are some seriously super cool relatives, some of my top favorite’s on the Killian side, and we very much enjoyed hanging out at their place and recovering from the really long drive. I love their house. It is sparsely decorated and set up to be very functional, as they are both very busy people. The kids can run around like wild horses and be free. Then they can sit down and play Sonic Heroes until their little brains rot right out of their heads. Jonas was in heaven. He only gets to play educational games at our house, so this was forbidden fruit.
My favorite thing about their house is the back office. It is a long room with windows set from the ground to about my shoulder. It lets in some of the most gorgeous light I have ever seen. Every time I walk in there I start setting up a photography studio in my head. For those of you not acquainted with light as it pertains to photography, let me explain. There is adequate light, inadequate light, harsh light, florescent light, these are all common, and can work to take a decent shot if you know what you’re doing. But natural, beautiful, filtered perfect light is rare, and it makes for exquisite conditions capturing real colors without fading or overexposing your subject.
I didn’t have much time, but I had to play at least a little bit before we continued our trip the next morning and these are what I got. No tweaking on these photos at all. That is what gorgeous natural light does. People look so real.
Somebody put me out of my misery, please.
This is just wrong. ]]>
Before we had time to even register what he said, he projectile vomited across the table, peppering his great grandmother with puke. Chris put his hand over Jonas’ mouth to stop the sweet and sour shower Grandma was getting, but, unfortunately, that only forced the vomit through a smaller opening, increasing the projectile quality. He finally picked Jonas up, still barfing, and hauled him to the men’s room.
We hadn’t unpacked the car yet, so I ran outside and got Jonas a change of clothing, and then asked the grossed out wait staff for paper towels. I cleaned up the barf and salvaged what I could from the platters of food that had been out of range. Jonas returned, cleaned up and quite hungry, for obvious reasons. I dished him up more food and as I was scooping up some white rice, I, ever so gracefully, knocked over Chris’ very, very large glass of ice water and watched it pour over the table and into Grandma and Grandpa’s already puke splattered laps.
At this point, I began to laugh. I couldn’t help it. You know how most people look back at life and laugh? I have the curse of looking at life in the present and laughing myself into hysterics, even in situations where laughter is inappropriate, rude, and likely to earn me a swift kick in the pants or total disinheritance. I tried to stop myself from laughing at my wonderful grandparents in-law, flecked with vomit and now looking as though they were suffering from severe incontinence. I tried to stop laughing, but as I contemplated how much they probably looked forward to seeing us, and how generous they had been to take us out, and the way Grandma’s eyes bugged out as the sweet and sour vomits sailed across the table. . .I just couldn’t stop. In fact, I began to cry from mirth.
Now, once in awhile, I’m bound to get lucky, and this was, thankfully, one of those times. Chris’ grandparents were laughing as hard as I was. Total exoneration was mine, and we ended up having a great time. ]]>
So you could say that yesterday wasn’t a very good day. . I haven’t gotten bugs like this since I was a little kid, but apparently since I now live with two darling disease carrying children, I get to catch everything they bring home. Such an advertisement for motherhood!
But something very funny happened yesterday. Something that just may take the disgusting slapstick routine cake. If you have a weak stomach, I suggest you stop reading, but for those of you morbidly curious enough to wonder what happened yesterday, here you go.
You know how when you’ve got the trots you discover that time is truly of the essence? Well, yesterday I was in the living room when it hit me that my guts were about to blow, so I took off at breakneck speed to the bathroom, buttocks clenched, because I knew it was only a matter of seconds.
The bathroom was crowded with Chris and Maggie and I dodged them both, heading to the toilet. I would have made it too, had it not been for the huge puddle of water on the floor. The second my feet hit that puddle, my legs flew up over my head and I landed flat on my back, with Chris catching my head at the last second. Not surprisingly, bowel control isn’t something that comes easily when you find yourself flying through the air, and as I fell back to the hard tile floor, mine gave way, and I now know how it must feel to wear a diaper. It feels gross.
And yet, while laying on the bathroom floor, covered in bruises and sick while Chris asked me what the heck I was doing, I had to laugh, because really, it was hysterical. As disgusting as my predicament was, seriously, you can’t make crap like this up, and so I laughed about it for the rest of the day. And when you’re puking your guts out and glued to the toilet, having something to laugh about is a good thing.]]>
Because Maggie had her eyelashes full of white gunk I quickly took a warm rag to get it off before it got in her eyes. Since she wasn’t screaming, I assumed it hadn’t gotten that far, but the way she was rubbing her face it was headed there. Once her eyes were basically clear I stripped off both of our clothes and hopped in the shower with her to try, unsuccessfully to scrub the goop out of her hair. I got about half of it out when her tolerance level maxed out and I had to stop slathering her with soap and then drowning her in the water, so we got out of the shower.
I went into Jonas’ room to finish chewing him out. Before I could form words I saw that his train table, carpet, bedding, toys, bunk bed and window were all liberally greased. Almost the entire tub of cream was artfully slathered about the room. It took me over an hour to clean everything up.
The rest of the day I was cranky and tired. Chris worked twelve hour shifts all weekend because the air show is in town. All that means to me is that instead of listening to the occasional C-5 revving up we are now favored with Thunderbirds taking off with a roar making it impossible to keep a baby down for a nap. It also means that there was no driving anywhere this weekend because the meanest trip to the store would result in an hour long traffic jam due to the people flocking onto base and the total disorganization with which traffic was being diverted. ( I know, because my husband was one of the poor slobs who got volen-told for that job and every five minutes he had someone yelling at him to change what he was doing, and do it another way for five minutes until the next guy came along and bawled him out for whatever he had just been told to do.) This, paired with a really severe cold made Chris extra good tempered when he arrived home Saturday night. As we all went to bed that night I marveled at my good fortune of, for the first time ever, having everyone else get sick and me not catching it.
Sunday morning at six am I woke up with a fever and puked my guts out right as Chris yelled, “Bye!” and left for another twelve hour shift. I spent the remainder of the day running to and from the bathroom with Maggie screaming her displeasure over the abandonment and Jonas seizing the opportunity to get into stuff and throw hundreds of bits of pasta about the house.. It was a long, long day. To sum up, I may never eat onion rings again.
So, it is now Monday morning. I’m not puking. I am very weak and dizzy and can’t handle walking very well. I’m having hot and cold flashes. So, I’m sick, but not like yesterday sick. Jonas drew on the couch cushions with blue pen while I was in bed and Chris was in the shower. If it doesn’t come out, the cushions can be flipped over. Amazingly, our new couches lasted almost one year to the day of being purchased without any major destruction. In a house with small children, this is truly miraculous.]]>