Saturday, January 20, 2007

Day 4, 5: It continues...

Everyone under the age of three ... that resides in this house ... threw up yesterday. Thus far today, William has thrown up twice - once all over our bed, once all over the couch.

This morning, the kids increasing lethargy (is that an oxymoron?) or, decreasing energy levels - had me really worried. I finally decided enough was enough and it was time to take them to the hospital. After convincing myself that everything was in order for a full day at the Emergency Room, I looked over at Charlie and asked if he was ready to go. Instead of heading for the front door, which I fully expected him to do, he took off running for the bathroom.

Five days since this virus has invaded our house ... Charlie's now got it. It struck at promptly 10:37 this morning. This thing is kicking ass and taking names. I just hope my name is no where on that list.

After changing the sheets on the bed and making sure hoping that Charlie would be okay on his own, I loaded the kids up in the car and drove 35 minutes to Children's Hospital. The whole time I drove, I was debating if this was the right thing to do. Spending an entire day at the hospital - by myself - with three vomiting toddlers is not something I have on my wish list of things to do before I die. Nor is forking out the $75.00 co-pay per child ($225.00) for the doctors to tell me everything that I am doing at home is right on the mark.

Still. I worry. Maybe they DO need IV's. The last thing I want to do is wait too long and put our children's health at risk. I hear of that happening all the time. A parent finally brings their ailing child to the doctor and they increduously ask "WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG?!"

For the record, the reason I have waited so long is not because I have better ways to spend my time, or because I'm a spend thrift. Although ... both are true. The reality is - I don't want to expose our children to other germs when their immune systems are weakened, only to hear something that I already know.

But, maybe I don't know.

Maybe they do need to be in the hospital.

But, maybe they don't.

They are eating and drinking. But, they are also throwing up. When they aren't eating or drinking or throwing up, they are either sleeping or crying for more food. Especially William. It's brutal not to give him as much applesauce as he wants - which is, incidentally, all he wants. It's even more brutal to see how emaciated all three of them look. My instinct is to feed them everything in the house, but, what I've learned is that their stomachs can only tolerate very small amounts. Feeding them too much, only makes the situation worse.

Darn, it's hard.

As soon as I arrived in the parking lot at the hospital, my sister Eileen called me on my cell phone. She told me that today was a day from hell for her. She was currently stuck in Los Angeles on her way home to Michigan. As of 11:30 AM, she'd been re-routed to LA from San Francisco, and had been waiting to catch her 4-hour plane ride ... for the past 7 hours. The silver lining was that she had just picked up a good book and would be bumped up to First Class for her trip home.

She then asked how I was doing.

"Well. Let's see. The kids have been vomiting for the past 5 days. Of course they didn't start this vomiting until the day after we went to Costco and spent a fortune on food that is now going bad because the only food I like to eat are peanut butter cookies and lettuce wraps from PF Changs. I'm sitting in the parking lot at the Children's Hospital Emergency Room. When I left the house, Charlie was on the floor in the bathroom telling me that he thought he was going to die. There are at least 8 loads of laundry, drenched in vomit, that need to be done as soon as I get home. Not to mention, stains that I doubt I'll ever get out of our couch. I have no idea WHEN I'll be home because I just saw the waiting room and it looks to be standing room only. I have pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel so bad that when I woke up this morning, I couldn't feel my right arm, and was struck by the smell of burning toast. I thought for sure I'd had a stroke, but then remembered I have a baby on board. Not to downplay your situation, but if I had my druthers - being stuck in an airport with a good book in hand and 7 hours to spare, and then a First Class plane ride home to a clean house and healthy children sounds like a DAMN VACATION."

She started laughing and immediately echoed my sister Beth's sentiment that if the hospital doesn't admit the children ... maybe they would admit me. Wouldn't that be a glorious treat? Someone to do my laundry ... bring me meals ... and let me sleep, all day, if I wanted. Maybe they'd even give me a catheter so I didn't have to get out of bed at all.

After talking to my sister for 10 minutes, she convinced me that what we were doing at home was the right thing. She suspected that after a 12-hour day in the hospital, the doctors would not do a single thing for us and instead, send me on my pissed off and disgruntled merry way. After listening to her reasoning and experience as a mother to three children ... I decided that she was right.

If the kids can continue to keep down small amounts of fluid and if they continue having a wet diaper every 6-hours ... that's the best that can be expected when they are this sick. The lethargy, I suppose it's normal. Yes, it's scary ... but after throwing up for 5 days, I'm sure I wouldn't have the energy to stand up and dance around, either.

Ten minutes after pulling in to the parking lot, I turned the car around and drove 35-minutes home.

When I arrived back at the house, Charlie had dragged himself to bed and was sleeping soundly. Fortunately, I was able to transfer all three kids from the car to their cribs without waking them, even as I stepped over the huge mounds of laundry and dodged a pile of vomit in the kitchen. Now, I'm just hopeful that I can get through the loads of laundry and get this house back in order before everyone wakes up. I suppose it helps that some of the feeling has returned to my right arm. And, nobody threw up in the car. Add to that the fact that we have a brand new container of Costco-sized Tide and life is bright.

See, there are good things everywhere. Sometimes, you just have to look a little deeper.


  1. Groooooaaaaannnnn. (That's me, feeling for you!)

    Oh, I hope you don't get it.

    I love, love, love PF Chang's lettuce wraps. I can't believe it took this post to remind me of them. Now I gotta go get me some. :)

    Happy laundering. Take care, Jen.

  2. OMG, I have been waiting for an update. I am so sorry this "36 hour" bug is dragging out. I would be harping on your doctor for some answers or suggestions! I hope you can escape it and your babies(all 4) are feeling better soon.

    Oh, and if you need more Tide, check out my blog!

  3. You have got to be getting to the end by this point - hopefully! I hope your night goes much better and everyone is healthy and happy tomorrow!


  4. surely they'll be better tomorrow.
    I hope you don't get it. Crossing my fingers for you.

  5. Oh my goodness.......I hope this stays clear of you!

    You made the right decision NOT to expose your kids to ER germs. You seem to be doing everything fine on your slow as it may seem!

    Hang in there!

  6. Jenna-
    I wish we lived closer! ...OK... maybe not... I don't know how you do it!

  7. I feel for you. I am not a mom but I work with two year olds. When this bug hit my class I was so sad to see my kiddos throwing up. They threw up on me and I smelled like vomit this rest of the day at school. But all that info just to say that you are in my prayers.

  8. I feel for you. I am not a mom but I work with two year olds. When this bug hit my class I was so sad to see my kiddos throwing up. They threw up on me and I smelled like vomit this rest of the day at school. But all that info just to say that you are in my prayers.

  9. I know how you hate seeing your child so sick that they have no energy to do ANYTHING! You're still in our prayers.

    Watch that carpal tunnel though. I know you had it when you were pregnant with the triplets and not watched could cause nerve damage. Believe me...I've had the CT surgery on both wrists and don't regret it!

  10. Thank god for the supersized laundry detergent! Good luck staying healthy (and positive) yourself.

  11. Did you say $75.00 ?? CO - PAY ??? Per CHILD ?????? PERRRR CHILD?????

    That is absolutely crazy! So maddening. That is unbelievable. It's bad enough to come up with $25 but $75 ???????

    It is infurating to me to think it can go that high!!!!! FOR A CO-PAY!!

    It's bad enough to have to worry about a sick child but then to have to worry about not being to feed that child once they feel better is nuts! Absolutely, nuts.

    I am throwing up right along with you - and my end has nothing to do with a virus! HOW PUKIE!!!!!

    I am writing a letter to the federal government; my state representative and senator right now. Then I may just copy your governor! then mine and the president!!!! Ridiculous.

    I am so sorry that your beautiful children are still sick and I Truly hope that you all get better soon.

    A Fightn' Irish.
    (alias - Marg)

  12. Jen- you made the absolute right decision by not taking them in. You would have sat there all day and they would have done NOTHING. It's a virus. It has to run it's course. You are doing exactly what you should be doing. My doctor said as long as they still have tears, they are not deyhydrated to the point of needing an IV. Of course to hear him say that, I had to take my children in and we promptly came down with strep throat on top of the vomiting. It's going to take 10-14 days. I'm SO SORRY!

    I am praying to Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, God, and E.T. for you right now that you don't get this. (I'm covering ALL the bases) You. can't. get. this. You. can't. I forbid it!!!!!

    Hang in there!!!

  13. I wish I was your neighbor and I'd be on clean-up duty. I'm so glad you can write about it even though it's been horrible. Your blog makes me smile.

  14. Got any rubber gloves? A painters face mask? I'd be trying like mad to NOT catch the bug. Wash your hands constantly!

    Poor dears :( Yes, you probably did the right thing turning around. The doc would have no doubt told you to do what you are doing now. I would get on the phone to your family doc tomorrow though just to make sure.

    Hang in there and sending all my healing vibes your families way. With any luck it will pass you by!

  15. I just can't imagine how overwhelming this has been for you. If I lived close I would send my husband over to steam clean your carpets and your couch. Once the bug is completely gone, you may want to consider hiring a carpet cleaner to do that...just don't get one of those krooked guys that tell you a low price and charge you for extras once he gets there. I sure hope the kids and Charlie get over this quickly and I REALLY hope you don't get it at all. You've got enough to deal with already. (((hugs)))

  16. Goodness, I don't envy your situation. It's so hard to know what the "right" thing to do is. I hope they all get better soon.

  17. Aw, Jen, I'm so sorry! I hope the kids get back into tip-top shape's just one thing after the other for you, isn't it? Please get some rest(or try to)! You don't know how worrysome your entries can be! Take care of yourself...Hugs and Blessings(and applesauce too) from our family to yours...

  18. Dear Jenn et famille:

    It is so frustrating to not be able to help you! I have been reading your blog and wishing that we lived much closer. I would lvoe to run over and make dinner for you and do a few dozen loads of laundry!

    Love, Sue