Friday, December 18, 2009

An Odyssey (not "The Odyssey," but an Odyssey Nonetheless)

On Tuesday morning, about 1 A.M., my two year old woke us up with a tapping on his door, as is his custom, though he does not usually rise until between 7:30 and 9 A.M.

I opened his door and found him in some kind of distress. I picked him up and patted his back, but I could not console him. I brought him into bed with me, where he proceeded to toss and turn so relentlessly that my wife elected to move onto the couch.

I couldn't get the little tyke to settle down, He kept thrashing about as if in extreme discomfort, so I pulled him to my chest and held him tight. Just as he seemed to be settling down, his head popped up, he said something unintelligible, and then abruptly vomited on my chest.

I'll spare you the gory details, but it should suffice to say that it wasn't a cute little spit-up. It had a great deal of mass and volume to it.

Oh, and it smelled of strawberries.

Rotten, putrid, stinking strawberries.

Although it was against my typical instincts, I tried to keep it coming on me in order to spare the sheets and bedspread. As there was a great deal of splashing and squirming, I was not successful in this endeavor.

I called for my wife, but even her relatively quick response was nowhere near quick enough. I handed Robbie over to her and sat up. I nearly tossed my own cookies when I felt chunks of partially digested food fall from my chest to my lap, but I held fast and managed to get undressed so as not to drip anything on the floor.

I rushed to the shower and washed both me and the boy. I changed my clothes and stripped the bed, all the while my wife held and rocked Robbie--who, as it turned out, wasn't done puking.

I agreed to call in sick for work if my wife would stay up with Robbie. This turned out to be a pretty good deal, since she was up with him until 5 A.M., and I was able to catch a few winks before the older kids had to be roused for school. Even better, Robbie seemed to be in good health the next morning. He took an awfully long nap to boot.

But this is not the happy ending that you might have suspected.

Fast forward to Wednesday night, around 9 P.M. My wife and I are settling down to watch Criminal Minds, a show that irritates me because it involves FBI agents who work almost exclusively outside of their jurisdiction. Also, they're just supposed to be profilers, but the show has them executing search warrants, arresting and interrogating suspects. But I digress.

Mark (age 6) had gone to bed complaining of a stomach ailment, but he seemed to be doing all right. I also felt a bit off, but not remarkably so. I figured that I was just tired. I had no idea of what was coming. As proof of this, I had just made arrangements with BAR to drop him off at the office in the morning. Still, asCriminal Mindsworked up to its climax, so did my queasiness. Unfortunately, Mark had the "puke bowl," so I was left to lunge for the kitchen sink.

What transpired was a lesson in the communicability of viruses. Whatever had stricken Robbie had stricken me. I spent the next hour in the bathroom with (shall we simply say) duel stomach maladies. About half-way through my ordeal, from my porcelain vantage I heard a sudden ruckus in Mark's room. What sounded at first like a cough degenerated into an all too familiar sound.

Showers again, and an uncomfortable sleep followed. Mark and I shared my bed, and we were both plagued by alternating sweats and chills. We spent most of Thursday in bed, and only this morning felt anything resembling normal.

So why haven't I posted in nearly a week? Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.


  1. Vivid imagery! With the detail of strawberries, I pictured something like a scene out of "Alien". All that's missing is a small, dark creature to squeal and skitter off through the heat ducts!

  2. Go JOE! Which was a horrid movie by the way. But it did have Sienna Miller looking very nice, so I'd watch it again.

  3. Oh man. In Hillsdale (when I was a prof) we had a similar thing happen. I think my wife got violently ill first, then me, then our infant son ejected more vomit on me than I thought it would be physically possible to store inside him.

    After we had recuperated, my mother-in-law visited about a week later and her first night there, *she* was violently ill.

    It made me a believer in the germ theory of disease.


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