Wait. What? Yes, you read that correctly. Our holidays since 2008 have been measured in amount of general malaise, or overt suffering, and when you think about it, it’s morbid, but sustainable. Ask any ecologist or economist, and they will tell you that not only is perpetual growth not sustainable, it is downright not possible, despite what every corporate sales target implies.
When you start at the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up, even if it is a great holiday because no one was puking up their toenails. Honestly, how many “Greatest Christmas EVER!!!” can you have? That gets expensive and silly by the time the kids are 10, but “No one had to go to the hospital this year” is always a good holiday.
Let me take you back to 2008 for some perspective: a few days before Christmas, Hubs had an outpatient procedure done, it should have been a rather quick heal, and life would be back to normal in about a week. Enter the plague to end all plagues. Less than 12 hours after having the procedure, he begins vomiting, and when I say vomiting, I mean vomiting. This was a GI bug for the books. Know what happens when you are heaving like that so soon after a procedure that involved some cauterization? Yup, that was a fun hematoma. Roughly the size of a plum, and solid. Also problematic: being less than mobile while having gastric distress.
Now we add in an ice storm. An ice storm means if you don’t have to be on the roads, don’t be on the roads, don’t make life difficult for first responders because you needed some shampoo or a loaf of bread. It also means that there are some serious value judgments that come into play when deciding just how bad a situation is. This is my segue to my youngest spawn.
Youngest spawn (YS) was 15 months old, and didn’t weigh much at all. Guess who started with the GI Bug from Hell a few hours before his daddy? Oh. My. Crow. He was unable to keep anything down for more than a few minutes for over 12 hours. His diaper was bone dry. That young, no wet diapers, unable to keep anything down, I had to decide: ER or no? I went with no, because his eyes were not sunken in, he was responsive, no high fever, and still willing to try fluids. Not worth risking anyone’s life on the roads, and we kept a close eye on him for signs of dehydration.
One more bit of fun to add to the mix: we were in the process of revamping the basement because it had flooded that summer, thanks to a sump pump that went kaput while we were on vacation. Bare floors, minimal plumbing fixtures, and then an ice plug formed in the ejection line, so the new pump was running like crazy, making the water in the basin hot. Fortunately I noticed the constantly running pump, checked, and took the shop vac down to empty the basin. Every 30 minutes.
I am not sure I have ever been so damn exhausted in my life. Three flights of stairs, two barfing family members, a sump basin that had to be vacuumed out… the saving grace was that my parents were with us for the holidays. My dad, bless his heart, spent hours with YS on his lap with a barf bucket. My mom jumped in and helped with meal prep, pain management, and keeping oldest spawn (OS) entertained. Can you guess where this is going…?
After the vomitfest began, and I had been cleaning up barf buckets for hours, YS and I wound up on his bedroom floor at about 4 in the morning, both of us in tears. Me because I was so damn exhausted, him because he was so damn tired and thirsty. I know when I have been barfing for hours, all I want is to chug something cold, but as an adult, I know I can’t. You can’t explain that to a 15 month old. All they know is they are thirsty. My folks were up by this point, and Mom relieved me of YS, Dad said he would get the sump, and I should go grab a quick nap.
I planned on an hour. Four hours after that, I woke up and panicked, but there was no need. Shortly after I went to bed, YS stopped barfing, and Mom got him a popsicle. Know what is great on a really sore, thirsty throat? Yup. Cold, with the added benefit of calorie-laden, slow fluid intake.Dad had been taking care of the sump pit, too. What an absolute relief to have that done.
The ice storm eased up, temps went north of freezing, and the ice plug moved out of the sump line. YS was on the mend, though he refuses chicken and noodles to this day, horking a meal up and following it with hours of sickness means you will not look at the first food on the floor for a damn long time. Hubs was on the mend. Dad and I hit the store and got the external sump pipe insulated to prevent further ice plugs. Life was good again.
Then came Christmas Eve and Dad wasn’t feeling well…
Instead of the Beef Wellington with creamed peas, herbed potatoes, crème brûlée, and excellent wine for Christmas dinner, Mom, OS, and I had macaroni and cheese with fish sticks. Dad, YS, and hubs were happy with jello and clear soda.
That is the saga of The Worst Christmas Ever for our family. Start there, and it pretty much goes up. Next post… cooties. Again. But this time for Thanksgiving!