Parenthood in the time of parental ailment

A little over a week ago, we did a stupid thing.  There was that container of left overs you normally throw away, but instead my husband and I had it for dinner.  Around 2 AM he was firmly planted in front of the toilet, a position he maintained until about 10 AM.  I thought I was fine, only tired from having half slept to the sound of vomit and snoring all evening, so I graciously and without prompting said that I’d take the day off and watch the small one/nurse my husband back to health.

Around 10 AM it hit me.  Not nearly as bad, I never actually vomited, but the nausea and stomach pain and let’s just leave it at other stomach issues left me dizzy and wholly unequipped to chase around a 16 month old.  First, I tried bringing the small one to bed, flanked by his writhing parents, but he proceeded to crawl between us alternately bopping us on the nose and trying to escape.  It wasn’t even 11 AM yet and we were getting worse.

We called in reinforcements, and by reinforcements I mean every human being we know who could have any chance of not being at work on a Wednesday.  This is where I mention two things.  1.  Life with kids would be a heck of a lot easier with family in town.  If my parents lived here, we would have had the problem solved in 2 minutes.  2. Friends are almost as good if not better than family.  A dear friend happened to be home as her pre-schooler wasn’t feeling school that day, so she picked up the small one for a couple of hours to let us sleep.  Life altering kindness.  Then Z, who regularly watches the small one got off work around 4 and came over to take the night shift until it was bed time for the babe.  A neighbor also stopped by, saw our said state and rescued us with some coke – the only food or fluid either of us had consumed since the offending meal the night before.  All told, my husband was ill or in pain for 24 hours and me for 12.

Observations (ie why am I telling this story):

I call my father a day or two later and asked when my  mom was retiring again (the thing that’s keeping them in NJ), and he laughed and told me about a time when I, their oldest, was little and my mom got the stomach flu, dad stayed home to take care of me.  In the middle of giving me a bath, it hit him and he proceeded to throw up in the toilet while attempted to play with me/bath me/keep me from drowning.  I guess parenting while ill is just part of the obstacle course.  At least I’m fortunate that there are two of us and usually the healthy one can pinch hit.

Even families with a stay at home (or work from home) partner need a back up plan. We got lucky this time.

And, of course, reheat completely or throw out the left overs next time.  The quote of the day was care of the husband, “I’m sorry I murdered us.”


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