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Flu and The Lightning Thief

At 1 p.m. yesterday I was still in my robe.

I couldn’t take the time to get dressed, much less take a shower, because my son was busy throwing up every 20 – 30 minutes from 6 a.m. on.

At one point, around ten, I think, I said, “Cole, do you think you’ll be okay for a few minutes while I get dressed?”

He considered. “No.”

“Well, you’ve got your bowl and a washcloth. Don’t you think you’ll be okay on your own for a few minutes?”

“No. I won’t have you.”

Good point.

At eleven we got tired of his room. And I admit it, my energy was flagging. I was reading The Lightning Thief to him – this is our second reading. If we ventured downstairs, I could bend my no-tv-on-sick-days rule … because clearly, this was not a Faking sick day.

Guiltily, I ate a piece of toast while he watched a movie. But even Shaggy and Scooby in Monsters Unleashed could not stave off the regular regurgitation.

At noon I called the advice nurse. “Yes, every 20 – 30 minutes. No, he can’t even keep down a spoonful of water. No, he doesn’t have a fever. Yes, his eyes are starting to look a little sunken. Three o’clock? Okay.”

(For those of you who are not parents, the smaller the body, the faster dehydration becomes a problem. You have to worry about kids much sooner than an adult. And my 9yo hasn’t topped 60 pounds yet.)

Around 2:00 I managed to change into actual clothes and pull my lank hair into a ponytail. I helped the little dehydrated guy into clothes and shoes. We drove across town, with one eruption en route.

By 3:30, two nurses and a phlebotomist were in the room, and I was holding Cole’s hand while they started an IV.

“Look at me,” I said. “Not at your arm.”

Getting an IV is not as quick as getting a shot. It requires someone to insert a fat needle in a receptive vein, then fit a tiny tube in the vein. If you’re dehydrated … your veins are shrunken: welcome to hell. This can mean someone sticking you with a needle four or five times before they get a good vein.

Luckily, it was just one stick … but seemingly endless wiggling and maneuvering of the needle-and-tube gadget.

He yelled. I told him to squeeze my hand as hard as he could.

The wiggling and maneuvering continued.

“Cole, remind me: who’s going with Percy on his quest?”

“I don’t know! Aaarggh!”

“It’s Grover, right?”

He nodded. “Yarrrgh!”

“And who else?”

“I don’t know!!!” (I think we can accurately interpret his unspoken meaning as “SHUT UP!! Who cares?!!”)

“It’s Annabeth, right?”

Squinchy-faced nodding.

The tube was nowhere near all the way in. As a matter of fact, I could almost swear the nurse’s damn hands were shaking. Grrrr.

“And remind me: where do they have to go to find the entrance to the underworld?”

Pause. He opened his eyes. “Los Angeles.”

“Oh, right, right.”

More inching the tube in. More yelling.

“And then what, Cole? What do they have to do once they get there?”

“I don’t know!”

“They have to take a boat to get to Hades, right? What’s the river called, again?”

“The River Styx!” he yelled, then looked at me, waiting for another question.

I swear it felt like this went on forever. The nurse messing around with my sick kid’s vein while I tried to distract him and not toss my own toast.

Finally it was finished. The IV was securely taped in place, and Cole was studying it in disgusted fascination.

Except it wasn’t really finished.

Now the huge phlebotomist guy planned to draw blood.

Thank the gods (!) he was good with distracting questions, because I was done.

“Do you play any sports? Really? Me, too. I played football for seven years. Now this is a really thin needle, so it won’t hurt much at all, compared to the IV. What position do you play? Oh yeah? Cool. There. All done.”

Thank you, Huge Blood-Draw Guy. I really wanted to ask him to show Cole some of his tattoos (like a reward?), because I could see them peeking out of the sleeves of his white coat … but I faltered at the etiquette. Maybe he didn’t feel like whipping off his coat for every curious kid. Maybe, um, it wasn’t the time or place.

We spent the next couple of hours there while the fluids dripped into Cole’s body. It was amazing how quickly he started to look better, and perk up.

I had the book I’m reading in my bag - The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. We got through the first two chapters (they’re really long) before my voice was tired.

Even with a captive audience, however, I’m afraid the story didn’t grab my son. The writing is lyrical, but the plot gets off to a slow start. (I think you mentioned that, Kelly?) Maybe when we’ve finished with our good friend Percy, we’ll try Will Stanton’s story again. I will keep reading it – I’m not 9, so I don’t mind a slow start to a story.

Before we left, the doctor reported that the blood test revealed nothing scary, and that this was probably just a nasty virus. She gave me the post-visit instructions, and we made our way home.

Parenting is a rollercoaster in the dark – sometimes the heights are Olympian and sometimes the depths stink of Cerberus’s triple dog-breath.

I was so drained I was in bed by 9:15.

Cole is much better today.

Now we wait …

… to see if we are going to get it.


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Dec. 9th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Poor Cole, and poor you. But mostly, poor Cole -- being that sick is scary, and it sounds like he handled it like a champ. Ask your pediatrician for the suppositories you keep in the fridge -- they go up the bum, so that kids who are vomiting will stop (hopefully before they get dehydrated).

And the Dark does rise a bit slowly, with lots of lovely lyrical description. And it's true of all four of the books I've read so far, but being in my 40s, I don't mind so much. (And hey, it's still less description than, say, Tolkien.)

Has he read Sea of Monsters yet?
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
We did read Sea, and I'm guessing it will be next on the list (again) after Thief. I really love it when a book can crack up a kid, too, and Rick Riordan manages that with some passages.

I ordered the first Jimmy Coates book - I think that was your rec, too, right?
(no subject) - kellyrfineman - Dec. 10th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 9th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
poor kid, poor YOU!

Hope you don't get those cooties!
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Gah. Me, too.
Dec. 9th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
I swear it felt like this went on forever. The nurse messing around with my sick kid’s vein while I tried to distract him and not toss my own toast.

Ooh, I do not envy you that. I'm terrified of needles, no matter who's getting stuck with them. And IV needles are the worst. I'm glad you two got through that okay.

But the agent-wait is on my mind.

Maybe your son can distract you with questions about Percy & co. When he's feeling better, that is. ^^
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC)
I got over my fear of needles a long time ago ... I wish I could have gotten the IV for him. Or at least started it with steady hands!

I'm up for any and all distraction. ^^
Dec. 9th, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC)

I was WAITING for the agent mention in that post. :)

And, I would've been in bed by 7. The fact you lasted until 9:15 is astounding.
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC)
Hee ... I think you've got my number, bay-beh.
Dec. 9th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry about Cole, and hope today is a better day and that you hear good news from agent

Dec. 10th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks, M - he's doing much better now.

And my blog will scream down the information superhighway if I get good news.
Dec. 10th, 2006 12:08 am (UTC)
Your poor baby! I hope he is feeling better! He is a trooper to go through that as well as he did, and you are an even bigger trooper for being such a great mom. I hope you are all feeling well now!
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, darlin'.

We moms do the best we can.
Dec. 10th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC)
Ahh! I don't know how you people turn out such brave children. I'm pretty sure that if that happened to me, they would have had to blow a tranquilizer dart into my fleeing body BEFORE they could put the IV in.
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)

One thing you can be sure of overhearing at almost every visit to the pediatrician's office is ... screaming.

Dec. 10th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
Oh! What a rough day you both had! I certainly hope the rest of you don't get it . . .

I just finished the Lightening Thief! Isn't it wonderful?
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC)
Yes! We really love it, to read it a second time. My son doesn't have much patience for slow books.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Susan.

I wish I could have gotten the IV for him. From reading your blog, I'm guessing we never get over that desire, do we?
Dec. 10th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
I had a few episodes like that when son#2 was little. No fun at all, but the IV fluids really make the difference.
I hope you don't get "it", but I hope you get your acceptance.
Remember to take care of yourself when they are sick. Not only do you need it, but it's good for the kids to see you doing it. If you need to walk away, walk away. You'll be coming right back.
Poor little guy, I hope the barfs stopped and he starts bouncing back.
My best,
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Angela. He's not usually that clingy ... but the constant spewing really did a number on him.

I DID find a few minutes here and there for the all-important email-checking!
(no subject) - azang - Dec. 10th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 10th, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)
I am so glad that Cole is feeling better. It's so hard when the kids are sick. I'll be sending healthy vibes for the rest of the family.
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

*gathers up vibes*
Dec. 10th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
When my kids were that sick a couple of years ago, my oldest counted the number of times he "got sick." It was every 30 minutes like Cole, and it went on SO long. He got up to #23 or some outrageous thing and I gave him one more hour and then I was taking him in to the ER. Thankfully, it stopped and I never had to. The whole IV thing sounds terrible, but wow, you are one expert distractor!!!
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I think I was in my 20s before I ever had to get an IV. If it had been socially acceptable for me to yell, I think I would have. At least people expect kids to yell - and thanks, I did my best to take his mind off it.
Dec. 10th, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC)
Oh MY! I'm so sorry you and your son had to go through that. My daughter had an IV for dehydration at age 5, and they ended up having to put it into her leg. She remembers it vividly.

Big hugs to both of you for being so brave.
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
Ow! An IV in the leg? No wonder she remembers it.

Honestly? There's NO good place for an IV!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
Please! I'm open to all kinds of distraction!

And you're right - LJ is wonderful for diverting me for a few minutes here and there.
Dec. 10th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
Poor, poor Cole. I hope he is well on his way to recovery.

Take care of yourself, too.
Dec. 10th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Sheela.
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