i am alive. at least, i'm pretty sure i am. and, if so, it's no small accomplishment.
after all, i've lost a bit of everything over the last 10 days: weight, energy, health, time, bodily fluids, any remaining patience, a year's supply of toilet paper, dignity, and whatever was left of my sanity. it all went down the toilet.
it started on friday night. shannon had left on friday morning for a long weekend in texas with her girlfriend. i was prepared to hold down the fort: just the guys having a boys weekend. it started off on the right foot, what with me taking the kids out to dinner, us watching a movie, and me getting them all put into bed.
until about 1:30 when i vaguely heard a child calling my name, rousing me from sleep. it was the youngest. he had vomited in his bed, then lied in it for awhile. in a sleepy stupor, i got him cleaned up, then put him into my bed to wait while i stripped his bed. i finally got everything cleaned up, too lazy to put new sheets on his bed, thinking that it would be nice just to cuddle the poor kid in my bed. that was fine until about 2:15 when he decided to wretch all over my bed, too. the only thing i could find to give him was our garbage can, which would be fine except that it's made of loosely-woven wicker. vomit everywhere.
so, quin got another bath, while i stripped my bed and then remade his bed. when the whole debacle was finally over, i was lying on the couch, wide awake, until at least 4am. i finally fell asleep in time to get a couple of hours before the other two were up and ready for saturday. quin threw up a couple more times on saturday morning, but seemed to get better through the afternoon and evening, and we decided it was a 24 hour thing and he was good.
so after church on sunday, we decided to go with the plan, which was to head out to pittsburgh so we could attend a big memorial day get-together at my parent's home. we had a nice drive out, with no signs of trouble, and everything was going splendidly until it was time to put the kids to bed. i started feeling a bit "off," and went to the bathroom to kneel before the porcelain throne. no sooner had i assumed the position, when i heard the pitter patter of a child's running footsteps, coming toward me, in a decided panic. i rose to open the door to let him in, only to see caedmon empty his stomach violently all over the floors, rugs, walls, and any other object within an 8 foot radius. my parents and sister helped to get cade and the mess cleaned up, and then i got him back in bed with a bucket. i asked the other two if they felt okay, and they said yes.
which is why it was so confusing when not ten minutes later, jackson was adding his signature to the story, with an upchuck of his own. this signalled the beginning of a VERY long night, in which we lost count of vomits, and the virus travelled south to diarrhea-ville just for fun. i was in no condition to try and take care of my kids who spent the night alternating mess-making, so i stayed upstairs and just tried to maintain my own messes. thankfully, my mom and dad and sister were there to help out with the kids.
when morning finally came, and there wasn't much left inside of us beyond our skeletons, we decided to leave before the party, so that we wouldn't get anyone else sick. i didn't relish the thought of a 3.5 hour drive in my condition, with two sick kids, but i didn't really have much choice. so we drove. and we stopped, rinsing out buckets that we had dirtied along the way. and then we drove again. and we repeated this. we discovered the location of several gas station and fast food restrooms along the route 22 corridor. and we left our mark on them all.
we finally arrived at home, and we all collapsed into various positions in the living room, content mostly just to stare and groan. occasionally we would take turns in the bathroom, and i would do more laundry. at one point, i thought caedmon had been gone for too long, and when i went to check on him, i found him asleep in the fetal position directly in front of the toilet. i had the wherewithal to take a picture of the moment, which you can see above.
we spent the rest of monday like that, and by tuesday the boys, who had to stay home from school, were beginning to recover. but not me. i couldn't sleep enough. and i wanted nothing to do with food of any kind. and then i started coughing. that was last tuesday. now it is monday, almost a week later, and i'm still coughing, still really congested, still fighting for every bit of energy just to perform normal daily functions, and i feel like i've lost a week of my life. it just disappeared. like i was in a coma or something. i vaguely remember small moments from this last week, but almost as if in a dream. did it even happen? i'm not sure.
shannon returned from her texas trip on monday night, and i told her, in my groggiest, most dramatic sick-voice, that i had never missed her more. it was probably true. thank goodness for mommies. and for my own parents and sisters. without them, i might still have my head buried in a toilet somewhere.