Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Perfect Storm

If you have ever dealt with a stomach virus whipping through a household, you'll know what we've been through. I'll try not to get too graphic, but as Daffy Duck once said "I have to athk thothe in the audiethe with weak conthitutions to leave the theatre for this prethentation"...

It tharted (thorry, out of Daffy mode) It started around 11:30 PM on Saturday night. I, being the early bird, went to bed around then. I began to drift and just as I was hitting that 'dreamy ' state, I hear ( in that crisis tone of voice that sends me up like a shot) "BILL, Liv threw up!" I'll not get into any details about what the bed looked like, but if it was a car, the insurance company would have declared it 'totalled'! I remember carrying her into the living room while Linda assessed the alternative sleeping arrangements. No chance of getting her back in that bed tonight, better off in our bed. Big Mistake...HUGE, as Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman! That kid was springing leaks all night long, it was every 20 minutes that we had a new 'plumbing problem' to overcome.

Night passed, the morning birds just began greeting the dawn, FINALLY she settled down. We got about an hour of uninterrupted sleep. I heard Grace around 6:30-7 and said to myself, let her hang out in her room for a half hour, I'm beat. WAIT! she's in the SAME room as all that...that...that, I shot out of bed and thankfully got to her before she began exploring the room, and discovering things only meant to be found by microbiologists!

OK, that was bad, but trust me, we've been through far worse incidents. The Pea Soup incident of 2002; the emergency room incidents of 1997 and 2005; this was nothing new, EXCEPT that Liv was acting relatively normally all day Sunday. Sunday night though, there she goes again; not nearly as bad as the night before, but still enough that she had to be evacuated. Monday morning, same thing, acting fine. We had ourselves a minor medical least for a couple of hours!

Nothing can prepare you for a true tragedy, but this is as close as you'll ever get without anything really bad happening. I guess it's kinda like having to evacuate your house because of some deadly gas, only to have it be a false alarm. Anyway, I get a call at work that the mystery is solved; Dillan came home from school and had thrown up. OK, two kids down, we can handle this in our sleep (we often had in the past and in that exact condition). 30 minutes later, I get a call that Jason's down too. OK, bad...but not epic.

I get home and it's somewhat chaotic, not MUCH worse than the 'normal' nightly mayhem; with the possible exception of the two bodies in the family room with stainless steel pots next to them! Linda is trying unsuccessfully to feed Grace...and she receives 'the wave'. In an instant, I am alone attempting to fight this tide. I know I am succumbing to the tide as well, but I am a better swimmer ( I am proud to say that I was the ONLY person in this household to 'hold it down' throughout this ordeal to use a euphemism). I got the girls in nighties and got them off to bed and collapsed onto the couch. It starts to get fuzzy at that point, the sounds of people succumbing to the 'tide' were becoming intertwined. I finally heard the distinct sound of my youngest 'drowning', ran into the room and found her bed to be awash. I picked out the dry articles and scooped up the rest for the wash.

It was time for an EMM...and Emergency Management Meeting. We were in crisis mode, Linda dragged herself out of bed and we took stock of our assets: One miniature futon Dora bed for Grace to sleep on in the living room: 7 dry towels to cover the bed (BRRRAP) 6 dry towels; 3 blankets; one hand towel and one sweatshirt. OK, I had the couch and coverage of Grace in the futon, Linda was not going to be much help, she was gone, only good for consultancy. Aly had been swept up about 1/2 hour later, completing the consensus of the ENTIRE household being under siege. Dillan had collapsed in his upper bunk; Jason chose the couch next to me. We hunkered down for the night.

Grace was not going through this quietly. Every 20 minutes there was a new 'wave', which appeared to be the consensus in the house (we called the CDC, which uses our family as a sort of leading economic indicator for minor diseases and passed the info along ;) ). I got to hear that robin greeting the sunrise again. It was like looking at the scarred landscape of a tornado tract (I'm sorry to those who actually have lived through tornadoes, as I said, close but not near REAL tragedy). Pots that needed emptying, another destroyed bed for Liv; a destroyed futon for Grace. Thankfully, the bedding on the older three were spared.

The night before, we had called my mother in law, who was scheduled to arrive early in the AM so that we could go to Grace's IEP meeting. We had told her in mock fear "Stay AWAY, STAY Away!". Now we were calling her saying, in real fear "please come, PLEASE COME!" The Red Cross came through, bringing supplies and a willingness to cover whilst we tried to recover. We made sure with our last ounces of energy, that there were no more absolutely horrendous things to be cleaned; all offending laundry was at least in the wash.

We made it through the rest of the day; Linda down completely, me making a mock effort at helping. She stayed the night and must have been our good luck charm, we got through the night all in our own beds and none having foreign substances by morning. I was not awakened by the robin this morning. I made it past sunrise until I heard the thing men dread hearing, both sick or healthy: the sound of the garbage truck making it's way to my block at 6:30AM! I had 3 minutes to gather the recycles from the backyard to the street. With collections only once a month, you DON'T miss this pickup!

Anyway, it's a different world today; kids are eating and relatively healthy. Linda's still somewhat down but moving quicker by the hour. Just as I'm completing this...after 2 days of being dry, Liv decided it was time to give one last (hopefully) reminder. Out came the carpet cleaner. Once again, back to stuff that we can handle; pass Liv off to Linda and get to work!

This blog entry sponsored by Bissel Little Green, the best little carpet cleaner in the business, and by Lysol, our family 'dip', also by Huggies in the economy size!


Mom26children said...

Ah, the turmoils of a large family. We went through this for 2 weeks before the virus decided to leave the house.
After lots of anti-bacterial cleaning, we are now free from the wrath.
My husband did not get affected...that either means he has a great immune system or he does not touch any of us....
You decide...


When I got that second call at work saying three were down, I mock said, I'm not coming home. I never expected that the entire of the house would come down with it. That's never happenned before (or since). Oh, it was HILARIOUS on Monday night just before we went to bed, lots of funny non-sequitors flying around. Somehow it stops getting funny aroung 2 or 3 AM though!

I have to say it was the most enjoyable nightmare i think I've had. I know by Tuesday morning nobody was going to the hospital for dehydration, so I kinda sat back and enjoyed the mock epic tragedy! I even got an historic picture of the 5 of them on Wed morn!