I don’t even know how to describe this weekend, except to keep it as short and sweet as I can (HARD. so hard. Long-winded, I am). And especially after my last description of household illness, if I describe anything else to you that’s remotely like that, you’re going to unfollow me as quickly as I can say “grab the bucket!” And yet. My life.
Friday, we had a two-hour delay for the girls’ school, which means that I was set to make six trips back and forth for drop-off and pick-up in the space of six hours. I thought that was going to be the toughest part of the day (oh, the universe loves “perspective,” doesn’t it?), except…
Hives. Cian woke up with a single hive under his chin. By 8:30, I noticed them on his hands. By 9 they were popping up on his ears, and by 10 o’clock they covered his entire body. At lunchtime I was on the phone with the doctor, and by 2:30 we were in the car to the office. Bad allergic reaction to the amoxycillin he’d been on for a week, the doc said. Give him Benadryl, she said, and I’ll write you a prescription for prednisolone in case the reaction gets worse. If he starts wheezing or his face is swelling, she added, get him to the ER.
Okay. That was Friday.
By Saturday, Cian was crying and itching and crying and itching some more. Couldn’t walk because of the soreness. Crying because of the side effects of the antihistamine. Hives, everywhere. He was starting to look like Will Smith in Hitch, so Saturday night, he started his first dose of the steroid. I went to a Girl Scout cookie sale with Saoirse, then took her out with a friend and her daughter for dinner. That part was nice.
Sunday. Quinlan said her stomach hurt. Cian was happy, and hyper, but the hives had come back en force. The poor kid looked like he’d accidentally stepped into a swarm of bees. But that afternoon life was sort of normal. Dave was at the grocery store, calling me every seven minutes to fill in the details of the multi-detailed list I’d given him (“where is honey?”), and I was tidying up and changing the sheets on all the beds. I was happy–things were getting done, in a quietly domestic sort of way. SK told me that Quinn was sleeping, but I couldn’t pay too much attention, because I was upstairs wrestling with the sheets on her bunk bed. If you’ve ever changed the sheets on a bunk bed OH MY GAD. Your pain, I feel. But I was practically whistling as I puttered through my chores. Dave was going out for drinks that night with his friend Dave, and I was looking forward to putting the kids to bed, padding about my clean home, and like, I don’t know. Sitting. In peace.
HAHAHAHAHAHA, said the universe.
“Mom!” came the first alarm, right around 2. “Quinn’s barfing.”
And yes, she was. All over the upholstered chair. All over herself. All over the rug. A puddle had formed under everything else. And Dave was still at the store, about to walk into a shit storm of stomach stew, but right then his only worry was finding the coconut milk. Here’s how the next 24 hours went:
Quinn, barfing pretty much every 20 minutes from 2 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Bath. Clean-up. Couch for her, then bed around 10:30. No sleep, lots of barfing. Changing of covers and sheets and towels and barf-bucket bags. No water for her thirst, because then more barfing.
Cian, his allergic reaction escalated by a warm bath, developed a face that was swelling at 6:30 p.m., lungs wheezing at 7, a call to doctor’s answering service at 7:10, rushing to urgent care at 7:30, followed by another dose of a new steroid and very jangled nerves. Found out later that what we were supposed to do was call 911 for an ambulance, that it could’ve been bad. We did not know that. Now we do.
Dave left at 8:30 and returned home at 12:30 a.m., happy from a night out (yes, I’d insisted he go. Yes, I thought everything was under control), thinking we’d all been sound asleep for two hours.
HAHAHAHHA, said the universe.
SK started throwing up at 2:30 a.m., followed by Quinn again. Dave had settled onto the bottom of the bunk bed with the youngest daughter, which I’d traded off to sleep in our bed with Saoirse, thinking she had the more critical case of The Upchucks. We spent most of our time for a couple of hours running back and forth between bedrooms and bathrooms, towels and changes of clothes in hand. I’ll let your imagination fill in the rest of the night. This particular adventure ended with Saoirse sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor the next morning with her arms wrapped around a bucket, barfing into a plastic bag. Understandably enough, she declined breakfast.
I know what you’re saying, here: what’s your point, Leah? You just gave us a barf story last week. Do you really need to document every moment a kid of yours pukes into her hair?
Well, sort of. I kind of do. Because I think I have a point with this one: my mom came over that afternoon to hang out and possibly contract some stomach flu. The day was beautiful, 50-some degrees with blue skies, the first day like this since, I think, the fall. The neighborhood kids were all out with their bikes and sidewalk chalk. I cracked open the windows, hoping the fresh air would clear out the rest of the vomit smell still lingering (odd how Glade doesn’t make wax melts in that scent, right? Eau du digestive secretions?). I was infinitely grateful for the fact that a) Dave works from home, b) I can be home, and c) we have my mom nearby and my mom-in-law within driving distance. I am always aware of these three things, always appreciative, but today, I was grateful. The girls perked up. Ate some toast. Changed out of their pajamas. I saw a sequined skirt go on one child, a tutu on another, and knew we were getting back into business.
We heard the geese fly over the house, squawking at each other as they descended into the creek behind our neighborhood. The geese were back. The sun was shining. And when we opened up the door, the kids all begged for their shoes so they could go out and play. My children, one of whom was still covered in spontaneous hives, two others who’d been retching over toilets and buckets just hours earlier, were giggling as they rode their bikes up and down the driveway. Dave emerged from his work cave with a basketball for the two of us to shoot around. More geese flew overhead, and I heard Saoirse call out, “This is the best day EVER.”
Fresh air. In more ways than one, we got to breathe in that beautiful, beautiful fresh air. Today, it is about to start raining. The girls woke up with stomach aches again, exhausted and weak. Cian’s skin still looks like a checkerboard. But it’s supposed to be nice again tomorrow. Temperatures of 56 and blue skies are in the forecast. So tomorrow, I’ll open up the windows again, and get the girls outside for a breath or two.
Fresh air. It’ll be here again tomorrow.