Friday, January 13, 2012

The Flu Strikes Back

Each child has at least three or four epic flu moments that a parent will have seered in the steel vaults of their brain.

J already had those moments during his toddlerish stages and I ignorantly thought that kind of lore was behind us. But he surprisingly, No, shockingly, had two more added in less than a month's time period during or before and after Christmas.

The dates are fuzzy.

Whenever I told him about them, he sat mesmerized at my feet, neck crooked up at me, his doe-like lashes blinking innocence as if I were reciting the feelings I had when he was born.

"You woke up crying and when I reached your room and saw the way you swayed to and from, I knew you were gonna up chuck. I grabbed you under your arms and ran as fast as I could to the bathroom, but I only made it to the hall. Like lightning it came. I had time only to turn my head a bit. My hair soaked up this pink mess you launched out and the rest dripped down my nightgown collar, slid down my back and smashed into my clothes as I,now, slowly moved toward the bathroom.

Whatever I didn't soak up, launched over me and hit the carpet.- So going back and forth to put you back on the your bed, I hit those spots with my bear feet."

J full of love and wonder asked innocently: "What did I do after that mom?"

After what?

"The part where you muffled a scream when it dribbled in your ear."

It's hard to hang those moments over your kid when they think it's some sort of bonding experience- like when you looked each other in the eyes for the first time.

I expected a stomache flu episode but fully believed he was of the age that his system could contain that vile mess until he hit the bathroom- at least the bathroom.

That sort of unrational thinking happens much like a woman forgets how painful carrying and giving child birth really is to the body. There is some place in the brain that deletes such horrifying moments and makes you fully believe you could do it again.- How mean how hard is? To be 9 months pregnant, have the baby, nurse it for a year and change its diapers. How hard really was it to get up at night and snuggle that cute thing?

Those olden day car seats were waaayyy heavier back then, heck today's are lighter than a Nike shoe. C'mon. And older child can practically drive the car from the back seat. (And buckle his OWN seatbelt! We have it made!)

So the brain allows you to enter flu season with only a mild sense of dread. But your kid is getting older!!! Heck, he'll probably offer to clean up his own mess.

Amnesia set in, however, and I didn't notice that he'd not been eating simply because he doesn't like the food served. The last meal he eat, before he blew it all over the nice quilt made for him, that requires dry cleaning, is etched in my mind. As is my urging: "C'mon, Son. You haven't eaten a decent thing in over a day. No, you can't leave this table until you eat that food.

The shock of him NOT making it to the bathroom, and the difficulty keeping my own gag reflex in check, was the first of surprises this year's flu season. And the fact I didn't read the symptoms and crammed spaghetti down his throat.

I will spare you the gross details. I will say that he felt "sorry" I had to clean up 4 different spots leading from his room, down the hall and into the bathroom, in the middle of the night. And where we convened together; me showering the quilt while he hugged the throne.

Recovering from this revolting, life-changing episode took over the next few weeks. You can imagine my surprise that, an hour before school was to end, I heard:

BBRRIIIINNNNGggg (technically, a cell jingle.)

A brief look at the caller I.D., It read:

T.V. Elementary School.

"What the...." I'm thinking. --Sickness is not even on my mom radar.

Only the worst passed through my mind; he's been injured at recess playing football or stolen off the playground. Yet at the same time I want to choke him if he has done something bad and that has required the call. So those two thoughts fight with each other in the long, dragged out silence.

"Hello?" I tentatively said holding the phone a safe distance from my ear as if it would help in whatever breaking news the school secretary had to give me.

"Hi.... It's Deborah at T.V." (name change. But picture those big, spider like devices in Empire Strikes Back clamboring over snowy terrain.)

"mm-hmmm." I replied, trying to build a strong defense against the pending fateful news.

"Jaden's sitting here..." she trailed off.

Oh, Great!! Sitting There!!!!!!! I KNEW IT! Guilty! Why would he go and do something, right now? He was doing so good! Darn it all!

I sigh through gritted teeth, to let the secretary know my displeasure, but not to let on that I was the type to beat my kid. At least in public.

"Yeah, he is just having a hard time. His stomache hurts." she says in a kind, soft hopeful voice that begs for me to come get him as far from her and the rest of the healthy individuals within a ten foot radius.

What? Yeah, right, I'm thinking of his story.- But it is an hour before school gets out which was unusual. This doesn't add up.

huhh... I mentally mull over a million possiblilite but quickly quip:

"I'll be right over!" with the determination of the president of the P.T.A.

Pulling on my jacket, I quickly head out into the frigid cold thankful for the blessed bright sun, weave down the lanes to his school and park in front of the old familiar brick building.

Walking in the brown front doors I see my little guy, sitting on the wood park bench across from the front office, bent over. My disbelief melts away and I stride over to him, and sit by him on that park bench for a second while I tossle his hair and put an arm around him.

"hey," I bring him toward my chest, "Let's go home."

I check him out, get more info about his day as we drive back up the hill. He tells me about hanging out in the boys room for more than he'd have liked and trying to get through recess. Already he has me feeling sympathy pains.

The drive home he gives some sincere, bent over yelps and I quickly look for a throw up bag. Upon getting home, I drive him passed his littler cousins, and into the tub.

He soaks a bit and then says in biblical fashion: "Mom! I feel better!"

"What? I thought you were sick. I had to go get you with 50 minutes left of school." I look at him through slit eyes, inspecting this change of behavior.

"Are you just sayin' this to get to play with the kids?"

(cute little nehphew begging to get out and get the germs too.)

So sick who does seem to have taken a turn for the better, plays with his cousins for a bit.

Grabbing his clothes and wet towel from the bathroom- I headed down the stairs to put the infested wash into a machine, on the hottest possible temperature. Only to exit the laundry room to see
J was sitting on the bottom step- like a kid not picked to play at recess on some team.

Uh-uh. How silly was I??

"You really okay, buddy? Just rest." near a bathroom or something, I am thinking.

He nodded his head, walked back to his room and finished getting dressed whileI headed back up the steps to finish cleaning the bathroom after his bath. (he plays with boats that create a lot of wake for his imaginary boarders/skiers. So I hang up the bath mat over the edge of the tub and as I walked out of the bano I saw Jaden screech, like blurred color, across the kitchen to the sink and proceed to hurl into it- ignoring the dishes inches away from him. -And the garbage can he passed on his sprint to the sink. Slack jawed I took it in. Finally, I was able to walk to him and put my hand on his neck while he let the virus work its way out.

Somehow I felt cheated that the flu struck TWICE. Or at least by the time frame.

TWICE? In. The. Kitchen. Si.... I can't even finish the word.

for the love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After he'd heard of the disaster, Padre said standing in the hall, away from the kitchen: "It's those dang Norwex rags." ugh.

Did I say: "ugh" ? Okay good. And by the way, I haven't been using those rags! Just on the windows. So that wasn't it.

Surprisingly, Jaden's his teacher called later that evening when the excitement had died down a bit. I expected her to say he had to have been nervous about school, a test, or a friend. However, she went on to telling me that he'd tried so hard all day to make it through, but then turned "that color", and she decided to send him home. (aww, can't you see Jaden like the young Luke Skywalker flying one of those awesome planes under such duress??)And what kind of teacher gives you a kind call? As Jaden puts it: "She's mine." Meaning he has some affinity toward her. I want to say: "Nuh-uh, she's MINE!"

I sighed with relief, felt guilty for doubtin' the little guy, and felt a relief that it wasn't something "more serious." I told her we'd already had the flu over the break and couldn't believe it could happen again.

"ANOTHER flu strain is passing through." she said sadly. I wanted to sink to the floor and cry; vow I'd do my part to sanitize every crevice of my child and our home, and gargle Lysol if necessary. Finding the courage to talk, I told her good-bye then moaned.

four. 4. FORE!

Jaden has four stories that I will harbour until the end of time, repeat to all of his children, his wife (when she needs to hear a good one on him) and when I'm old and rickety and forget to just keep those stories in the journals, no. They will escape my mouth like hot, old cats gossip.

But look at me blogging it- I coulnd't even wait until dementia set in to record the events.


Love you, Jaden. Really. Even when I have to clean up your bodily fluids in the middle of the night, wear those fluids while I attend to you and calm your little hurting body even while I battle nauseau, inhale the fumes of the harsh chemicals I use to clean up those fluids, and then, try to make those foods that I saw come from your body.

No wonder we forget pain/and horrible images! And beg for more! (i.e. more kids. more of the love. you know.)Someone once said something about suppressed pain is an emotion buried alive.

I disagree.

(Yes, in certain circumstances I'm sure that is true.) But for this sake of sick kids post- or having kids in general-Bad/disgusted emotion suffocates in my heart and brain and dies.- Why else would I delete all the horrrible parts of the throw up moments,turn around and proceed to tell Jaden the stories of him retching on me while I rock back and forth in a rocker with a far off love-lorn look on my face, and recount the events;

as if they were as priceless and precious to me as the first moment I held him in my arms and his eyes opened and we looked into each others for the first time.

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