We have not had the best start to the week. (Before I continue, as a warning, I will tell you now this piece of writing will involve the mention of certain bodily fluids, nothing too graphic, but I understand if you’re squeamish and would rather not read on.)
Leo has a stomach bug and our washing machine is well aware of it.
It all began on Sunday night, in bed with Leo, when I looked over and noticed a dark puddle next to his head. Having ear plugs in means I literally cannot hear a thing, including the sound of my son puking. Of course the smell alerted me to the presence of the puke before I’d even turned the light on. Change of bedding and clean up operation round one.
All clean and dry about thirty minutes later, I decide to stay in bed with him incase of the inevitable. Ear plugs back in. I begin to drift off. Judging by the sheer volume of vomit, there couldn’t possibly be anything left in his stomach to bring back up? Nope. Still plenty. Sure enough, a few minutes later, I detect the whiff. I turn the light on and remove my ear plugs. He is still mid-puke. (The earplugs work a little too well, had my sense of smell been off, I’d never have known the poor boy was regurgitating at all.)
Change of bedding and clean up operation round two.
A day goes by and Leo manages to keep all his food where it belongs. Though his appetite is small and he’s noticeably clingy.
Then Tuesday arrived and Joel and I began to feel concerned about the dryness of Leo’s, usually sodden, nappies. Dehydration being our main worry.
“It’s hard, but I have to tell you to go to A&E” the GP said.
“I mean there is a bit of wee, just not as much as usual..” I say.
I’m not even sure we need to be here I think to myself as we take up a seat in the packed A&E. I feel a bit silly. It’s a stomach bug.
I got chatting to a woman whose daughter had been hit in the hand with a hockey ball.
“I was just in the middle of a painting when the school called..” She said, referring to her hands, which are covered in paint. She tells me she is an artist and has three daughters.
“Of all the times I’ve been here with them, twice it has saved their lives.”
Leo’s name is called. The nurse asks me a series of questions and says we’re fine to leave.
“If he vomits a lot again, come back..” she said.
I arrived home feeling weary yet comforted. Joel had ordered pizza and I naively sat down to tuck in. It would be bedtime soon and I could finally exhale. I’d barely opened the pizza box before being interrupted:
“He’s just puked A LOT” Joel calls from the front room.
I will refrain from describing the horrors of what I walked in on that evening. It was not a scene I wish to remember. Casualties of Leo’s regurgitation include: the sofa, the rug, the doormat and both mine and Maia’s trainers.
Still unsure whether to take the nurse’s words literally, we returned to a rammed A&E. Not everyone had a seat.
After about an hour Leo was examined by a doctor and given the all clear to go home. A mother herself, the doctor assured me I did the right thing bringing him back in. This, I immediately feel, is something they say to parents who absolutely did not need to bring their children in. But either way I am once again reassured.
72 hours, three clean up operations, one tired washing machine. All par for the course.