A few days ago, someone mentioned to me that it had been several weeks since I’d shared anything. They wanted to know if I was “done” writing; well, I’m not, and knowing that someone maybe kind of missed my rambling was encouraging. So think of this as my State of the Union Address.
Truthfully, I knew I’d take a little break after my last post. I felt that once those words were shared, they would need some time to breathe and just exist. I received so many calls, texts and emails with outpourings of love, for which I am very grateful. Some shared words of encouragement, others shared words of thanks, and a few shared their own similar stories. I am reminded again of how valuable and important this tribe is – we who lift, support and lean on each other. Words couldn’t adequately express how blessed and loved I am to have you in my life.
And so, much like a fine wine, I gave those words time to breathe…but not long, because I’m not big on letting my wine breathe, especially since my “fine” wine is classified as anything costing over $13 a bottle without a screw-cap.
The hiatus extended because life happens. In our current state, life primarily consists of three rounds of the stomach flu and an upper respiratory infection. It’s also worth noting that as soon as I sat down to write this, one of the cats projectile vomited in the hallway outside the kids’ rooms. I know this because I didn’t just step in it; I walked through the two foot trail of puke, each step growing more startled and revolted and hastened. So, I quickly ran through puke and nearly slipped and fell, but so help me I’m going to sit down and drink this glass of wine and write this because I don’t know when a). someone will wake up or b). someone/cat will throw up and c). I have zombies I need to watch, so let’s move it along.
What was I saying? Oh yes, puke. I’ve shared stories of vomit before, and I’ve even written about what it’s like for your very first child to be sick for the very first time (red poop, right?)
Now I can add another notch to my Belt of Parental Experiences: Our first trip to the Emergency Room.
Three weeks ago (I think – so much exhaustion, so little coffee) I woke up in the middle of the night to feed Grant because 2am is peak party time in our house (side note: isn’t life funny? Like ten years ago, you’re staying awake until 2am on purpose and now if I’m not in bed by 10p I feel like I’m a long-haul trucker coming off a three day NoDoze binge after delivering lumber in Alaska). Once Grant and I were done, I headed back to bed. I heard Miles cough through the baby monitor, but didn’t think much of it since he’d been fine when he went to sleep. Half an hour later I awoke to this horrific noise, sort of like the sound you’d hear if someone swallowed a kazoo and tried breathing through their mouth afterward.
Miles is a child who very rarely gets sick. I was naturally concerned, and by “concerned” I mean “panicking and consulting WebMD.” I asked Evan what he thought we should do. I always ask Evan not only because he’s my partner, but because I know he’ll help balance out my crazy. The noise was loud enough and scary enough for him to confirm my thoughts: go to the emergency room.
I packed a bag, grabbed my wallet, got dressed and got Miles ready to load up. We (as in just the two of us) walked outside at 3:30am and my child marveled at the sight of the moon and stars, something he doesn’t see very often because he goes to bed at 8pm. “Mama, the moon is so BIG! The stars are so PRETTY!” I realized that his breathing had improved quite a bit; he wasn’t running a fever, didn’t have any weird spots, but I think it’s safe to say that rational, sound decisions aren’t generally made during the hours of 2a-4a, and since we were dressed and packed and loading up I knew we’d just stay the course and go to the hospital.
For the brief ride, Miles continued marveling at these nighttime sights. Cars on the road, empty parking lots, the dark sky. He thought we were on some sort of adventure, in which he got to wear his pajamas and take his blankie.
We arrived to an empty waiting room and checked in. I carried Miles, his blanket, two teddy bears, one stuffed tiger, a sippy cup and a bag. I refused to let anyone or anything in our large caravan touch any object or surface in the waiting room because if we weren’t sick now, we certainly would be later.
The adventure continued as a nurse took us back to check Miles’ vitals (all fine, of course). Miles got to hold a stethoscope, wear a surgical mask, and attempt to open all unsecured cabinets and drawers. I reassured the nurse that less than an hour ago, I was positive he’d somehow managed to swallow a toy in his sleep and it was most definitely lodged in his throat. He was sick.
We hiked four miles back to triage where the game of “TOUCH ALL THE THINGS!” continued. A gentleman with an upper GI bleed was admitted and being treated in the room next to ours which began the game of “If I could only sneak next door…” and “Did she just drop a hypodermic needle?” followed by “I DON’T WANT TO STAY IN THIS ROOM ANY LONGER! WATCH ME WRITHE IN ANGER AND PAIN!”
Three nurses, one albuterol treatment, one x-ray and one doctor visit later, and we were diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and prescribed a steroid. Miles skipped (!!!) all the way to the exit. And again I told the nurse he really was sick.
We filled the prescription and were given a liquid that surely tasted like radiator fluid. Miles would not be ingesting this. We tried hiding it in juice, ice cream, chocolate frosting – nothing. I called the pharmacist three times to beg for another form of the medication and I was met with more suggestions like, “put it in honey!” I told her she surely must not have children.
Four lost doses and one vomit session later (it really did taste that bad) we gave up. I called his regular pediatrician the next day and we were prescribed the same steroid in a dissolvable tablet that tasted like powdered sugar, which now has me convinced that there are certain folks in the medical field who make decisions based solely on entertainment value.
So he took the steroid, great! Right? Well, in toddlers and children, most steroids sort of turn them into feral animals. Case in point: naptime.
Miles usually naps from about 12-3p without issue. On the first day of the steroid, after an hour of climbing on the dresser, unscrewing the sippy cup and pouring milk all over the room, trying to take down both sets of blinds and successfully crawling underneath the bed and “hiding”, he gave up in a fit of exhaustion and went to sleep. And we did this for FIVE DAYS. Is it wrong for me to say I was sort of happy Monday showed up, and I got to take him to school? Because I was. Poor baby, yes, but have you ever tried to put a wet cat in a burlap sack feet first? That’s a toddler on a Prednisone.
The day of his last dose, I threw confetti and drank champagne and relished in the fact that I wouldn’t need to pull a kid off the ceiling fan to get them in the bathtub anymore (I hope). And here we are, a few weeks later, and all is fine. Well, Miles caught our stomach virus, but other than the vomiting this past Thursday and Friday, all is fine. I think we’ve met our quota for the year.
So after a few weeks of words breathing and toddlers wheezing and mom and dad vomiting, know that I’m still here. I have a lot of half-written things that I will eventually get whole-written and share, as long as I have enough coffee. And wine. And chocolate. That is the current State of the Union.
Next up: the Mom of Two Kids Under Three Years Old Diet. It’s as easy as making dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets (because sometimes it is making dinosaur chicken nuggets…)