Monday, June 20, 2011

The dreaded Norovirus – or – Being Sick vs. Being “Mom” – sick

…Because there is a difference. And any mom will tell you – we are fricken’ superwomen. A mom can  get up in the morning, make breakfast, dress the kids, send the husband off to work, clean the house, do the laundry and whatever else needs to be done while at the same time, be dying from whatever super bug happens to be going around at the time. I know, because I’ve done it!
When I was younger, if I got sick, even if it was just your run-of-the-mill common cold, I would stay home in bed, or parked on the couch in my pajamas watching “The Price is Right” while eating my chicken noodle soup and nursing a hot mug of Thera-Flu. Not anymore. I’m a mom now… Mom’s come last, didn’t you know? If the husband is sick, he stays in bed, tossing and turning and moaning and whining – he gets sympathy. The wife takes care of him, brings him medicine, takes care of the kids by herself. If the kids get sick, mom is the one who cleans up the barf, takes the temperatures, tucks them in bed and funnels fluids down their throats. But who takes care of mom when she’s sick? Mom…that’s who. Mom takes care of herself and EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else, all at the same time.
In November of 2010, I was six months pregnant with Kellan and Shea was about two and a half years old. Matt was in Maine for work, he had been there for over a month and we had no idea when he would be home. We weren’t even sure if he’d make it home for Thanksgiving. (a little back story on Matt – at the time he was travelling the country, digging up unexploded ordinance. His job at the Coldwater newspaper wasn’t paying the bills so he took a major leap into a completely different job field. The paychecks were a lot better, but this meant he wasn’t home much at all). My parents were a life saver. They really helped me a lot with Shea; I was practically a single mother at that point, with Matt gone so much, and on top of it, pregnant… life wasn’t exactly easy for me. One weekend, my dad’s uncle was having his 90-something birthday party and they invited Shea and I to go along. We went, had cake and home-made ice cream and Shea got to play with a ton of other little kids. I was doted on and lots of hands were rubbed over my very pregnant belly. That night we went back to my parents’ house where my mom had a pot roast waiting in the oven and I ate my butt off. I had a mountain of food on my plate, we’re talking rolls, potatoes, green beans and a hunk of meat that would for sure be settling on my ever-growing hips the next day. My plate was fuller than my dad’s, and that’s saying something!
We stayed for a little while and when it started getting dark, Shea and I headed home. As soon as we walked in the door my stomach started to hurt. God, I ate way too much, I thought. So I grabbed a Vernors and put on my Sea Bands (motion sickness bracelets that are supposed to help relieve morning sickness and nausea in general) and we went to bed. I kind of tossed and turned for awhile but then I started sweated and feeling very very queasy. I didn’t even make it to the bathroom. I grabbed the garbage can that we keep near the bed and hurled my guts up. Everything I had eaten that day, heave after heave after heave. I couldn’t breathe. I ran to the bathroom holding the bucket and kept puking, and puking and puking. I had never vomited so much in my life. And the whole time I was thinking, “Oh my God! My mom food-poisoned me!!” I probably threw up for another couple of hours, didn’t sleep at all and the whole time I was waiting for Shea to start throwing up too, because he had eaten the same food. And I was just waiting for 7:00am so I could call my parents and see if they had been food-poisoned too. I was going to bitch my mom out for this!
As soon as it was daylight I texted her, “r u guys feeling alright? Cuz I’m not!! been throwing up all night.” And she texted back, “I’m fine, but ur dad was throwing up all night 2! must b the stomach flu, what? Did u think I gave u food poisoning??” Hmm…the plot thickens… How could only two of us have been food poisoned? Mom was right, it had to be a “bug”. Mom said she would try to find time to leave work and bring me some Gatorade and to just relax and stay in bed. Yeah right! I have a two year old and that two year old… is SHEA! How am I supposed to stay in bed and rest, this kid bounces off the walls every moment he’s awake. But I did. Cuz I’m a mom. There wasn’t anyone there to take care of me. Matt couldn’t come home, dad was puking too, mom was working, my in-laws were in Florida, my mother-in-law was in Kalamazoo, my sister-in-law was working, my siblings were not in town – there was literally NO ONE to take care of me. I had to do this myself and take care of Shea too. I laid in bed for a while because Shea was still asleep. At one point I heard my back door open, the dog barked, and my mom’s voice said, “SHHH! Shut up you stupid dog!” and I thought she’d come in and check on me, like she used to when I was little, but instead I hear something “thud” down on the table and then squealing tires back down the driveway. She had put the Gatorade out for me and gotten the hell out of Dodge before she caught whatever stomach bug I had. Who could blame her? Shea woke up just then and we went about our day. I fed him and changed his diaper making sure my bucket was close by. And I told Shea, “Mommy is sick, we need to relax today,” but that fell on deaf ears.
That afternoon my mom called and told me that 19 other people who had been at that birthday party had been throwing up that night and one of them went and was tested, which came back positive for Norovirus. The worst part of it all was that I was PREGNANT! while all this was happening. But I lived through it and I feel like I could do anything now!
New List: Things I’m not scared to do anymore, now that I’m a mom….
1. throw up
2. kill spiders
3. hold a child’s vomit in my bare hand
4. pick someone else’s booger (just my kids’, not anyone else, still working on that)
5. go to the gynecologist – they’ve literally seen my insides, there’s nothing more to hide or be embarrassed about
6. kill snakes – no wait, I’m totally still scared of snakes ,that one’s not going away

In conclusion, mom’s rock. Simple enough. You have to grow some thick skin when you become a mom or you’ll never survive motherhood.

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