A recent evening was nothing out of the ordinary. Dinner, a last bit of homework with the kids, showers, reading and then wind down. Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary. Then midnight rolls around and an idea for a newspaper column starts to germinate. As I pick up the tablet to see where that germ take me, I hear that first plaintive, “Daddy!”
Warning: graphic language ahead that may make you sick if you have a weak stomach. In other words, if you gag when hearing someone else gag, well, go watch the Cartoon Network for a few minutes
Okay, it wasn’t all that plaintive. Maybe plaintive mixed with panic as dinner made its way back up the throat. Aw gee, I’m not going like this at all.
Earlier in the evening everything seemed fairly normal. No one was sick; the kids were both doing fine. And it lasted that way until the first wail from my daughter. And after that first wail, things turned downright ugly. That is to say, the vomit started flowing. As I watched her poor little head bent over the bowl I couldn’t help wondering just where on earth it was all coming from.
But let’s back up just a bit – back to that first cry, followed by the unmistakable sound of liquids and solids being forcefully expelled from a stomach. It’s amazing how quickly that sound can get a parent up from their chair.
I looked around and there she stood, looking stricken, with rather vile fluids coming out of places they shouldn’t. And she was crying. I, being the calming father that I am, quietly said (okay, not so quietly) “Get in the bathroom!” And with that, the column idea, the blog idea, any idea, ran from my head like ants on crack.
She nodded and took off, hurling across the carpet, the entry way rugs, the hall carpet, the bath-room floor, the bathroom walls, and finally the toilet where some of it managed to actually get in the bowl. The rest? Around the bowl, the seat, the TP dispenser, the towels, the bathtub, well, I could go on but why.
What? I warned you didn’t I?
Of course, before we even got to the point of her calling me, she had thrown up all over her pillow, the sheets, the blankets, the bedspread, and assorted stuffed animals.
And now there she was, head bent, heaving away. But after awhile it quit and she began to feel better. I got her all cleaned up (not an easy task with her hair), changed the bed, and tucked her back in. All was quiet in the house once again.
Well yeah, sure it was quiet – everyone was sleeping but me. I was busy cleaning walls, floors, doors, and bathtubs. Add to that the starting of loads of laundry, mopping, scrapping, and trying to convince the dog that puke really wasn’t food. After a while I looked up and it was 2am and I was tired. Very tired.
Unfortunately, while I was tired, I was also wide awake. Remember that idea I mentioned earlier that was forming? Well it still was and I needed the opportunity to reset with something to drink and just sit in a chair and stare at the lights of the city, fingers on a keyboard.
And I actually managed to do that. For ten minutes. And then it started up again. I went in again, saw that she had thrown up all over the bed and her clothes again, and I started the cleaning process all over again and again and again.
Eventually all the fun had to come to an end and the vomiting stopped. She cuddled into her bed, in the almost darkened room, a bit of music in the background, and finally drifted off to sleep.
As for me, I was glad that it seemed finally over. I was so tired I could barely keep my head up and too awake to be able to sleep. I was in that in-between state of misery and unable to do anything about it except whimper. I just had one thought that kept running through my head, namely, where did all that stuff come from? I know how much she had eaten that day and it just didn’t seem to be as much as I cleaned off the walls, toilet, carpets, blankets, towels, my clothes, her clothes, and floor. Make that floors.
It takes a lot out of you when a lot comes out of you
I kept checking on her, running between keyboard and her room, making sure she was okay, still asleep, still dry. Definitely still dry. She just kept snoozing away. I was not quite so lucky and spent most of the rest of the night awake. The next morning, of course, she stayed home from school. I stayed home with her and we had a marathon cartoon day. Well, she did. I just tried to get caught up on column writing.