Tuesday, December 30, 2008


It has been the Weekend from Hell. Literally.

It all started Christmas Eve. I know that was on Thursday, just... bear with me.

Christmas Eve, the Impossible Son started throwing up around 5:30 p.m. or so. My best friend and her family were due to come over at 6, and I figured they were already on the road, so I didn't call them. In retrospect, I should have, whether or not they were on the way, but it had been so long since I had last seen her...

The Husbandly One was doing most of the food prep (I had made baked beans earlier in the day, so he only had to take them out), so I handled Mr. Manzie and washed my hands constantly and touched no one if I could help it.

The Impossible Son was feeling much better by the time they were ready to leave. It had lasted only five hours for him.

Christmas day, we were due to go to Houston to have Christmas dinner with the Blonde Sister and the rest of the family, and my mother would come back with us to stay until Sunday, which I was thrilled about. She even brought her little dog, Katie. But, by Christmas night, the Impertinent Daughter was throwing up, and had escalated things by running a fever as well. As close to 103 as you can get. Friday morning, I called our doctor, who turned out to be on vacation until Monday. Great. So I took her to the local walk-in clinic. And waited two hours. The Impertinent Daughter was miserable and finally turned to me and said, "Mom, I need to go home. I just... I just can't sit here any more."

I said, "Let's wait just fifteen more minutes, sweetie."

She said, "Mom, now."

She was so pale. And I could tell she was at the end of her endurance, so I went up to the receptionist and told her not to bother, that we were leaving. She looked up from her computer and I started grinding my teeth. She was only just then starting on our paperwork. After two friggin' hours!

We went home.

The daughter went to bed, and I contemplated a nap. Everyone was tired. You could call this the calm before the storm. The daughter improved, and Saturday, we contemplated taking Mom to San Marcos or maybe to Austin. But we didn't, because the Impertinent One was still not up to it. In the meantime, Mom and Katie both were astonishing me by being far more active than I'd seen either of them in a long while. Katie is a little Corgie mix... I think. Actually, she looks like a miniature German Shepherd with short legs. Anyhow, she's 13 years old, and very stiff, and when my mom lets her out at home, she only wanders in a very specified small circle in the backyard. Here, she astonished us by wandering through the entire backyard, and actually running from time to time. She became rather playful, too, to my mom's delight.

I wish it could have lasted.

Saturday night, Mom felt like she had indigestion, and asked if we had anything for it. Well... we don't get indigestion much, so we pretty much only have Tums on hand. Which wasn't what she wanted or needed. I asked if she wanted me to run to the store and she said no, she was okay, and she went to bed.

I was pretty tired. I hadn't slept very well, and I woke up early, and it was close to midnight, so when I got settled on the couch (we had given Mom our room), it was a relief. I was just drifting so sleep when I heard Mom say, "Jo? I'm not feeling very well. I think something's wrong."

I sat up and found my mom standing in the doorway, trembling and shuddering in her pajamas. I was up instantly, and wrapped my arm around her to help her back to bed. I thought she was going to collapse on me twice. She was shuddering so hard, and shaking, and when I finally got her to the bed, she nearly slipped out! Once I got her settled, I went and got THO, who was cuddling the Impossible Son to sleep and had fallen asleep himself. And after that... oh geez, y'all.

Mom was so sick. She's always had the hardest time throwing up, and this was no different. She couldn't stand to have either myself or THO out of her sight, and when I had to go empty the slop bowl, she'd whimper, "Where's Jo?" and THO would say, "She's just in the bathroom, Mom, she'll be right back."

By this time, my hands were raw from so much hand-washing.

She got bad enough that I said, "Mom, do you want me to call 911?" Because she was getting very dehydrated, very fast.

We called 911. She was so dehydrated, the EMT had a hard time finding a vein just so he could hook up an I.V. and give her a little Phenargin for nausea to give her a little break during her ambulance ride. After they left, I gave THO a list of family phone numbers to call, but advised him to call the Blonde Sister and let her spread the news, and drove after the ambulance to the hospital in San Marcos.

It was around 3 a.m. by this time. And I sat in that emergency room with Mom with nothing but a chair to sit next to her. I was so sleep-deprived by this point that nothing seemed real. I helped the nurses turn Mom to treat her, to clean her, to change her bedclothes, because she had diarrhea at this point, and I called them when she needed help. I spoke to two doctors coherently, how I don't know, but I did, and finally got her into a room well after 10 a.m. I remember several times staring longingly at the floor, wondering if anyone would notice if I just curled up on it and went to sleep.

Mom kept staring at me when she was lucid and saying, "You're staying here with me. You're such a good girl, Jo." When she wasn't lucid, she said things like, "They're testing me by making me cook vegetables in the microwave to make sure I cook them all the way through."


I love my mom, even when she's out of her head.

So, we got her into a room, the doctor came to tell me that she was dangerously dehydrated, that this same virus that my kids got over so quickly was dangerous in a person Mom's age (81), and she'd probably be there for 24 hours.


Introduce guilt here.

I comforted Mom, got her settled, and promised to be back later that evening after I'd gotten some rest. I left, stopped to get some caffeine to keep me awake on the long drive home, and stupidly picked up some french fries to nibble as well (if I never see another french fry in my life, I shall die happy). Got home a little after noon, told THO everything so he could report to the Blonde Sister, and went to bed to crash.

And woke up five hours later, asking the Impertinent Daughter for a 7-Up (something we keep in the house when there's lots of throwing up, because it's soothing) and promptly lost my cookies.

I had it.

Needless to say, I did not keep my promise to my mother. And I spent the next 12 hours not really coherent, tossing my cookies and getting dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, but not enough for THO to call 911. I'm only just now getting the strength to sit up. THO had his own bout this morning, but he only got the diarrhea. The poor man has had his hands full, I am telling you!

The doctor at the hospital diagnosed this as acute gastroenteritis with dehydration, which really covers a multitude of sins. All I know is, this is apparently making the rounds and we are merely the latest victims. Oh, and my best friend's son got it, and one of my nieces got it.

Mom is still in hospital, still throwing up at the last report I got from my sisters, who drove in to check on her, and that they suspect she may have pneumonia. If she doesn't, she'll be released this evening. If she does, they'll be keeping her.

I hope I'll be able to drive in to see her later this afternoon. Her little dog has been wandering around the house, looking for her. My kids have been petting her and making much of her, trying to comfort her.

Okay, I have to go lay down again. I just... wanted y'all to know, I'm still alive.

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