Monday, September 26, 2011

Stomach bug

It turns out, your child doesn't have to be in the ICU for you to feel completely helpless as a parent.

Kathleen has a stomach bug. It started Saturday night and continued through dinner time tonight. I'm waiting to see what's next. She hasn't been puking constantly, just every time I think she is starting to feel better.

Until mid-day today she seemed fine in between losing whatever she had eaten. Today, though she looked sick. I don't know what it is, but eyes are the indicator to me and she had sick eyes. That and she just wanted to sit on my lap most of the day and voluntarily went to lie in her bed at my mere suggestion. In the morning, hours and hours and hours before her usual nap time.

So we sat and read books and we sat and I rubbed her back and we simply sat.

To her requests for orange juice and pizza and onion rings (a hoped for lunch with the neighbors) and chips (Daddy had some after work) and more crackers and her big water bottle, I had to say no and no and no. Or wait. Or just a sip. Because when I said okay, just a little, maybe a little more, it all came up. So we tried again. S l o w l y.

Popsicles and a video and a bath at the end of the day and that sitting. It was the best I could do to make it better, and it didn't really work.

Hovering around the periphery of my thoughts is the memory of a night in December 2007 when Henry's stomach bug erupted full force. We could not keep up with changing sheets and him, so we left him in his diaper on a blanket while making slightly hysterical phone calls.

This is nothing like that. They are both stomach bugs, but the similarity ends there. Still, that memory hovers hazily as I go about my day comforting and cleaning up after my sick girl. The memory is hazy only because I refuse to bring it into focus. It is, I think, the one night I do not revisit and review and process again and again and again, the one night out of all 203 that he had that I let lie in the darkness.  I still stand behind my decisions of that night and believe the outcome would have been the same, but perhaps more prolonged. But sometimes I wonder.

Without that night, I would still be here, wishing I could make my little big girl feel better, wishing there was something else I could do. Without that night, I would just be here, wishing there was something else I could do.


  1. So sorry she is sick. And anytime our rainbows are sick, it does bring back those icky feelings..and questions. Hope she feels betters soon!

  2. :( I hope Kathleen is feeling better soon, and that you don't get the bug.

    I hate the wondering. It is cruel. Sending big hugs. xo

  3. Oh. I hope Kathleen is feeling better by the time you read this. It is so hard to watch them just be sick. And sending lots of love and hugs as you place the present next to the past. xo

  4. I hope Kathleen is feeling better, and that no one else gets the bug. And I'm thinking about the person you are now and about the person you were in 2007 and sending both of you love.

  5. Much better today . . . cranky hungry though and disdaining popsicles for "real" food

  6. Thinking of you all. So far we've avoided this with Angus. TOUCH WOOD. I was about to say "there is nothing worse" but both you and I know there most certainly is. Still, stomach bugs are the pits. Wishing K a speedy recovery.

  7. Oh, Sara. How I dread the first time this little boy of mine runs a fever. I am so sorry that you ever feel like you have to wonder. That any of us do. And yet we do. The hardest part of this whole process is eventually accepting that as parents, there really are some things that we just can't control. We can make all the right decisions at all the right times and it might still not be enough. We've all learned that in the hardest way possible and it's a crappy, crappy lesson. So sorry that Kathleen had to go through that. And that you did, too.