A Horrible Night

Our visit to Reno last weekend was marred by illness: Robin caught the stomach bug I mentioned in my last post. We’d given him a couple bananas in the car, and we first became aware that he was sick when he vomited banana all over himself and his carseat. We pulled over and cleaned him up.

About ten miles later, the second banana came up.

We were in the middle of a mountain pass and we decided the best thing we could do for him was continue on to his grandparents’ house. So I sat in the backseat as he continued to vomit every ten minutes, doing my best to comfort him and to contain the mess. By the time we arrived he was only bringing up stomach acid, but he continued to be shaken by retching spells.

At his Pappy and Nonna’s house Robin actually seemed pretty happy: there were doggies to pat, Christmas presents to discover, and of course his grandparents and his auntie to play with. We followed him around with a towel and the vomiting seemed to ease up a bit, going from every ten minutes to maybe every twenty. In the meantime he was perfectly happy to explore and to play, but it became obvious that he was pretty worn out. The grandparents wanted to take us out to dinner and to do some more visiting, but I was worried about him and insisted on taking him back to our hotel room so he could rest. When I set him down on the bed, he dropped over like a felled tree and went immediately to sleep.

Unfortunately, he woke up twenty minutes later to puke. He went straight back to sleep afterwards, but the pattern continued throughout the night. Sam is slow to wake so I was the one who tended to him during these episodes, and it was awful. I was so worried about him and I felt so helpless; and of course I was exhausted too since I’d just recovered from the same sickness. The brief periods of sleep and the many episodes of waking to hold a towel under his chin blurred together into one nightmarish moment that seemed like it would never end. I remember glancing over the at the clock woozily at one point and seeing that it was only 12:30; it felt like ten hours had already passed, and I distinctly thought to myself, “This is exactly what Hell would be like.”

The very worst part of the night came at 3 AM when Robin started getting dehydrated and asking for water (not with words; he just points in the direction of things he wants and adopts an insistive tone with his usual syllables: “buh! guh!”). We gave him water, he drank it thirstily, but it came right back up. Here is another thing that everybody already knows: it is incredibly hard to watch your child suffering when there is nothing you can do to help.

I was resolved to take Robin to the hospital as soon as the sun came up, but around 5 AM something remarkable happened: Robin woke up, vomited, had a drink, went back to sleep…and then didn’t wake up again for an hour and a half. And even then he didn’t throw up, he just wanted to nurse.

And as morning finally came I was filled with an immense gratitude: I turned blissfully to Sam and I said, “The sun’s up, my baby’s not vomiting, and Obama’s going to be president.”

Robin’s stomach was still a little touchy for the rest of the weekend; he wouldn’t eat much solid food, but we kept him hydrated and he was at least willing to nurse. He’s been resting more than usual, and his appetite seems to be recovering. Last night we got him to eat some french fries, and this morning he took in a little bit of oatmeal. Right now he’s pulling a bunch of Saltines out from their box, taking a single bite from each, and placing them each on the seat of Sam’s chair. I feel pretty okay about this. At least the sun’s up, my baby’s not vomiting, and Obama is president.

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