Monday, March 24, 2014

About the Addendum

If you recall, I ended my last post with a brief note about retching that commenced early last Monday morning.

To quote myself,

I have a fun Monday morning addendum for you.  There is some retching happening in our home this morning.  Thankfully, at the moment, it's only the adults who have retched, though Trey considerably more than me.  We shall see how the day unfolds.

I had a sneaking suspicion about how the day would unfold when I typed that early last Monday, but I was hoping I would be proven wrong.  I was not.  The only thing I didn't anticipate was that there would be not one, but two ER admissions by nightfall.  And that was just Monday.  Oh yes, just you wait.

Let me begin by telling you that Reagan lived the first three years of her life free of stomach bugs.  When she was diagnosed with diabetes two months ago, one of the things I heard from medical personnel & parents of other diabetics was to take stomach viruses seriously.  I knew we'd catch one soon; after three vomit-free years, & all the warnings about vomiting that came after the diabetes diagnosis, I knew it would happen, & last Monday, it did.

I woke early & knew I'd be hovering over the toilet within the hour.  I was, but soon after felt considerably better.  I knew I'd likely caught a bug & contemplated leaving the house immediately, knowing if Reagan started vomiting we would likely be headed to the ER.  I was in the middle of a prayer that no one else would fall ill when I heard ghastly sounds from upstairs.  I don't know if it's just Trey, or if it's a man thing, but oh. my. word.  I guess pregnancy & childbirth / child-rearing prepared me for various of life's trials, such as dealing with nausea & vomiting, how to vomit without scaring small children, how to navigate horrible smells & various bodily fluids, etc.  I am surprised our neighbors didn't come knocking on the front door to investigate the sounds; it was the loudest vomiting I have ever heard.  Without making a trip up the stairs I knew Trey was sick as well, & I suspected the upstairs toilet might never be the same.  And, I am okay with that, because I never use it.

By Monday afternoon, Reagan was still holding steady, while Trey's condition deteriorated.  Trey's mom took him to the ER for fluids, & about five seconds after they left, I heard the splat I'd been bracing myself for all day.  I took a few deep breaths & walked to Reagan.  I calmed her down.  I cleaned everything up.  As a testament to how worried I was about Reagan's condition, my mind was so preoccupied I didn't gag once while stripping Reagan down, removing the (thankfully removable/washable) chair cushion, & wiping up the floor.

I checked Reagan's number; it was 98, so that was a boost I desperately needed.  I had expected something along the lines of "40" or "450," as illness can cause dramatic highs &/or lows.  I called the on call endocrinologist in Jackson, & he told me if she continued to vomit, she needed to go to the ER for fluids since someone her size can so easily dehydrate.  The problem with dehydration, other than the obvious issues it causes anyone, is that when the body is dehydrated, it is insulin resistant, meaning her sugars can potentially soar.  Next time you have a stomach bug, while you're folded over the toilet, possibly cussing & wanting to die, say a prayer of thanks that despite your stomach's upheaval, you don't have to worry about your pancreas doing its job, & you can drink a regular coke (real coke, the hard stuff) without worry, which is absolutely the only thing I want when I am nauseous.

I tried to stay calm.  I prayed that like me, she'd only vomit once & bounce back.  I was irritated that after two PICU visits in as many months, after finally getting a handle on her insulin needs, she was vomiting, the one thing I knew I wasn't equipped to deal with on my own at home.  Unfortunately, splat number two hit the floor about six thirty Monday evening, so my mom & I loaded Reagan up & headed for our home away from home, the ER at St. Francis (splat number three, which was, as it turns out, Reagan's final splat (on Monday, that is), occurred en route to the hospital).  Trey's dad was with him at the ER, so his mom came to the house to sit with Henry.  Trey was leaving the ER when we arrived.  We had a fun little family moment in the waiting room while my mom & I settled in with Reagan, & Trey's dad went to get the car for him, & somewhere in Baton Rouge, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield employee's head exploded.  Between us & Obamacare, these poor folks are not having a pleasant year.

Despite two family members receiving treatment in the ER, I'm placing Monday in the 'victory' column for several reasons.  First, Reagan was not admitted to the hospital . . . on Monday, that is.  They gave her some fluid in the ER & sent us home, rather than sending us straight to PICU as they did in January & February when we showed up in the ER.  Second, by late Tuesday afternoon, we were all eating Chick-fil-A, & all the Chick-fil-A was happily digested.  Third, Reagan's numbers were beautiful throughout the vomiting fiasco.  Finally, I'd like to give a shout-out to my immune system, which came through in a major way for me.  Maybe the toil of carrying & birthing & nursing babies & learning to cope with little to no sleep at times has toughened me up.  Maybe it's the daily probiotic I take.  Maybe the Lord knew that two ER admissions in one day was my limit.  Whatever the reason, my immune system did a stellar job of handling the virus.  I was up & retching before the kids awoke, & by the time they were both up, I was able to handle the morning chores, which I did while listening to Trey heave in the background.

Tuesday was ho-hum.  No one needed to go to the ER, so that's always a plus.  Reagan seemed to feel great.  She was eating, playing, & her sugars were good.  I relaxed, thinking the plague was through with us.  We all went to bed Tuesday night.  We slept a little.  At five o'clock Wednesday morning, Trey woke me up to let me know Reagan had vomited.  I am serious.

Lather, rinse, repeat.  Change her clothes, clean the vomit, wait for inevitable second splat . . . head to the ER.  Trey took her this time while I stayed at the house with Henry.  They decided to admit her the second time around, so I headed to the hospital Wednesday afternoon when Trey's mom arrived to stay with Henry.  We weren't admitted to PICU, since she didn't need an insulin drip, but simply some fluid to rehydrate her.  The regular floor just isn't as flattering as PICU.  There's no blood pressure cuff, no heart monitor, no checking her sugar every hour.  You just feel less special.  Her granddaddy made a few balloons with the nurses' purple gloves, but that was about it for excitement.

As was the case Monday evening, by the time we got her to the ER Wednesday, the retching had ceased, so it was just a matter of getting her rehydrated & watching her number.  We hung out at the hospital Wednesday, sipping Powerade, nibbling Jello, & watching Reagan's number, which was running a little low, but stayed in an acceptable range thanks to the Powerade & Jello.

I hope in the future we can attempt to handle a stomach bug at home, but right now Reagan throwing up is completely frightening to me, & not just because I am the one who has to clean it up.  I feel like I understand what to do in most situations - when she needs insulin, & how much, when she needs to eat something, & what, & how much - but vomit is a brand new ball game, one I hope we don't have to play again for a long, long while (seriously, if you or someone with whom you've spent any amount of time has a stomach virus, stay far, far away from my child . . . there's no punchline here; I am not joking).

The remainder of the week was spent on vomit-watch as one by one by one the grandparents fell like dominoes, with the exception of my mother, who (knock-on-wood-fingers-crossed), as of the time of this post, has yet to vomit.  You may also be wondering about a certain nine month old.  My sweet Henry man has held his own as well the past week, & I did in fact finally take a few nine month pics of him yesterday afternoon.

Isn't he just the cutest?  Henry & I have a crazily codependent relationship that involves a lot of slobbering & giggling, but it's working for us at the moment.

As you may've guessed by now, neither my revolver nor our new steak knives saw any action last week.

New set of steak knives = $100
Box of steak sauce shipped from Peter Luger's in NY =  ???
Steaks = $30
Having to freeze steaks because everyone is vomiting = 

I've postponed my concealed carry class.  After a family total of three ER visits in as many days, I was not about to rise early Saturday morning & sit in class for hours learning when & where I can & cannot use my firearm.  I just don't need the stress of it all at the moment; it's just not the right time for me to be handling a loaded weapon.

I'm not sure how to close this out.  I'm not going to announce any grand plans for the upcoming week because for starters, I have none, & also, if I did, I would not jinx things by discussing them because clearly I know by now that the way I should end every blog, & every sentence I utter, is the Lord willing.


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