Tuesday, November 20, 2007

the fun of the stomach flu

F had the stomach flu Sunday night. I'd never really considered how different it is to experience the stomach flu from the point of view of a parent—it's nearly as horrible as it is to be the one sitting by the toilet. (And why is it these things start at night?? Why can't we have a great game of repeat puking and changing clothes and bathing when I'm already awake?) I think I did 4 loads of laundry between 10pm and 3am. Sheets, mattress cover, pjs, rags we used to mop up, sometimes our own clothes. It's funny what you find yourself doing without complaint, what seems normal at the time; when I told my cousin R about it she remembered the time her 1 year old son was sick and she caught the puke in her hands. Thank earth we haven't gotten it yet—I'm going with the thought that our immune systems were able to handle it. Mitch says every time he eats anything he assesses what it will be like coming back up. Lovely.

Yesterday we wouldn't let her eat even though she was starving and asking for food and milk all the time, poor girl. (Well, I did give her milk first thing, thinking it had been several hours since she last threw up, and she drank 1/2 a bottle and immediately threw it up all over the floor and her pjs.) She'd sign for milk and for food and then just cry and cry. The nurse said to only give her little sips of water, so we'd hand her the sippy cup and she'd grab it and chug at it like she was parched, and we'd have to pull it away. It broke my heart a little.

It's funny what it does to you, coming in to see her sitting up in the crib covered in vomit—the instant adrenaline, the worry, the need to make things as right as you can. I can't imagine how in the hell a single parent does this kind of thing. Mitch was stripping her down while I was running for rags; he was rubbing her back and telling her it was all right as she cried in fear while I stuffed laundry into the washer; one of us ran the bath while the other pulled sheets off the bed. It was a team effort.

It's good to have a team.


Brian S said...

Sounds like a pretty rough time, but keep up the teamwork. I think that might be about as important a discovery as is what article of clothing you are willing to use to clean up flu goo.

February Mama said...

Woah, that sounds awful! I hope she feels better soon.