When young girls picture married life, my guess is that they focus mostly on the positive stuff: romantic evenings snuggling together on the couch, laughter around the dinner table, lazy Sundays lounging hand-in-hand in the backyard as the children frolic nearby...
What I can all but guarantee is that these dreamy imaginings do not include the weekend that my husband and I just shared.
Things started to go hard South on Friday morning. David usually gets up with the kids (having determined, after some careful research, that he would rather spend the mornings with two tiny maniacs than me, if I've been awoken before seven.*) but Fridays are, by contractual arrangement, David's morning to sleep in.
So it was that I found myself ungluing my body from the sheets at 5:45am when I heard Snoodie start to whimper from his bed.
I have a long-standing policy here at SFD of refusing to discuss poop. Mostly because I fear that, if I were to begin discussing it, I would never be able to stop.
So, let's leave it at this. What I found when I opened the door to the boys' room made me briefly consider simply gathering up David and the children, walking out the front door, and purchasing an alternate home far, far away.
There had been...digestive difficulties. And it was bad. It was very, very bad.
Using some tried-and-true parenting methodology, I grabbed a pair of scissors, cut Snoodie's PJs off, and dunked him directly in the bathtub for a Silkwood-style hose down. By the time David awoke, there was no shred of evidence of the crapstorm that had dominated the morning. We made it through the rest of the day without incident.
Then came the nighttime.
We'd just put the kids to bed and were, for the record, snuggling on the couch when the crying started. And it wasn't so much "the crying" as it was "the wailing."
We rushed into Snoodie's room to find him rolling about and clutching his stomach in agony. David went into soothing mode and I took to the internet to Google 'stomach pain in toddlers'. By 9pm I had a diagnosis! Snoodie was suffering from either
- Intestinal Parasites,
- Rift Valley Fever. (While RVF is typically only found in sub-Saharan sheep, Snoodie's symptoms were compatible enough that I left it on the list.)
I rang up the on-call Nurse and engaged in the following conversation:
NURSE: Is your son's breathing labored?
ME: It is hard to tell because he is crying so hard.
NURSE: Does he seem confused?
ME: Well, with the crying it is hard to say.
NURSE: Is he disoriented?
ME: OK, have I mentioned the crying? It's like, really intense.
Abandoning further attempts to reason with me, the nurse advised me to bring Snoodie in. So, at 9:45pm I threw a winter coat over Snoodie's PJs (Did I mention it was 36 degrees and POURING here in Los Angeles?) and headed for the ER, leaving David behind with the sleeping Crink.
Having half-parked my car under the red 'EMERGENCY' sign, I made a highly cinematic dash through the pouring rain with the shrieking Snood in my arms. I sailed through the doors and stood, dramatic and dripping, waiting for teams of nurses to burst forth from back rooms to assist us until a kindly Dr. Ross type arrived to gently lift the wailing Snood from my arms and heal him with his gentle, yet hunky, doctor ways.
That did not happen.
Instead I was waved over by a throughly disinterested man at the front desk who took my information and instructed me to join the broken mass of humanity in the waiting room.
Attempting to choose a seat away from those who were most actively bleeding, I settled the Snood on my lap to wait.
45 minutes later we were called in to see a nurse. He took Snoodie's temperature, (98 degrees) blood pressure, (whatever blood pressure is supposed to be) and weight (36 pounds, which makes him exactly double Crinkles, who just weighed in at 18 pounds - isn't that ADORABLE?) and declared that Snoodie's vitals were A-OK.
I tried to scan the nurse's eyes for hidden concerns about Rift Valley Fever, but could detect nothing more than a slightly bored aura of general irritation before we were herded back towards the waiting room with promises that a doctor would see us "at some point".
Noticing that few of the heavy bleeders had been seen, my heart sank. I cuddled Snoodie (who was now shouting, "NO OWWIE DOCTOR!" in a panic) back on my lap, and the waiting resumed.
At which point there arrived on the scene a fellow who announced himself at the desk as "Krazy Tony". When queried about the nature of his ailment by the desk attendant, "Krazy Tony" bellowed,
"Dude, I am full-blown intoxicated!"
Then, in another corner of the room, a fist fight broke out.
I scooped up the Snood and, scanning our hacking, bleeding and now brawling co-patients, decided that whatever Snoodie's malady, it couldn't be worse than this. The front-desk guy raised a half-hearted objection to our departure, but I didn't stop long enough to listen. I beat it back out into the rain storm and sped for home, where David and I took turns watching the Snood for the rest of the night.
For his part, Snoodie slept comfortably and after a few loud farts, seemed all but cured.
Unfortunately, David and I slept almost not at all, which left our immune systems dangerously exposed. At 6am the next morning I was awoken by my beloved saying,
"I've been puking since 4am, can you get Snoodie?"
Fighting every natural urge, I arose from bed. Both boys were cranky and sickly, and we all limped through breakfast before settling down for some listless tower-making in the playroom.
At which point I realized I was dying.
No longer able to hold my head up, I laid down on the playroom floor and allowed the two boys to scamper around my prone self. Occasionally, Snoodie would stop whatever he was doing, look at me quizzically and exclaim,
I would do my best to groan in acknowledgement, thus letting him know that I was still alive, before slipping back into semi-consciousness.
At 10am a shaky-looking David arose from the bed. Despite being an advanced shade of green, he took up a spot on the couch, set the Mickey Mouse DVD to "Play All - Repeat", and took over as I dove back into bed praying for the sweet release of death.
Our day continued in roughly the same fashion, with the two of us alternating at three hour intervals, one "taking care" of the children while the other shivered in bed.
By 8pm, we had both kids down for the night and finally found ourselves in bed together, lying side by side amazed to have survived the day.
David turned to me and said, "It's times like today, when we're really in it and we make it through the day that I really just feel MARRIED. Do you know what I mean?"
And I have to say, I knew exactly what he meant.