Monday, November 16, 2009

Sick puppies, part III

Today, a parental first: A day of nursing duty for not one, but two, sick children.
The drama began Sunday morning. As I slowly, ever so slowly, gained consciousness after about ten hours of awesome slumber, my fourteen-year-old daughter's bedroom door slammed open. An unnatural,  guttural barking noise followed, trailed closely by the din of water cascading onto the oak floors of the hallway.
Since my nine-year-old plays the role of Action News reporter for anything happening around the household, she quickly bellowed out, "(This just in!) Dad, Zoe's puking! Dad, Zoe's puking!)."
The reporter afforded me absolutely no time to reply, given the frequency of her Paul Revere-like updates. I rushed out to the hallway to witness Zoe expelling the contents of her being in terrible, shaking throes. I wasn't sure whether to approach her and gently rub her back, or provide her the space to maintain a bit of dignity. She hunched over a mere four feet from the bathroom, but it may as well have been a mile away, as this single plot of the hallway had already been established as grocery-gargling ground zero.
Lauryn stood just out of sight, around the corner, much like a gazelle gazing on with curiosity as one of the weaker herd members gets mauled by pack of hyenas.
Finally, the onslaught subsided, and she staggered over to the couch, collapsing into a heap of pale exhaustion. I felt terrible for her, as any parent would, but that didn't stop me from sprinting to the basement for the "barf bowl," a huge, stainless steel industrial bowl, which, if necessary, is capable of containing the unfortunate by-product of an entire fraternity's initiation celebration.
The remainder of Sunday went as might be expected—with the rest of us attempting to gauge Zoe's body language and breathing in order to predict future expulsions. She really didn't need our help, as she became quite attuned to the warning signs, but that didn't seem to detour us from "(insert echo) Vomit Watch, Two-Thousand Nine, nine, nine)."
And then, of course, just before bedtime, her younger sister began coughing and took on a flushed, feverish appearance. She professed to having chills and hot flashes, and rather than diagnose her with the world's youngest case of menopause, or maybe just an attention-grabbing ploy, I steered the well-used thermometer in her direction.
101-degrees later, the Tim Bed-and-Breakfast was open for business, with free saltines for kids under fifteen.
These two kids have each had both H1N1 and regular flu vaccines, but obviously, influenza wears more outfits than Barry Manilow.


  1. Don't you mean Bed-and-Barkfast? Or Barf-fest?

  2. I wish I would have thought of that!