Friday, March 13, 2015

The Plague

On Wednesday, February 25th, a storm broke. But before you keep reading, I warn you, this post involves illness and references to all things gross thereabout. If you read on, do so at your own peril, and not while eating. :)

After I had read Brigid her bedtime books and tucked her into bed I laid down with her for a bit to help her fall asleep. And she tried. She lay still only tossing here and there. And then, after about 30 minutes of this, she sat up and threw up all over her bed, herself and a few of her stuffed animals. She had eaten 3 bowls of rice at dinner and downed a full cup of water before bed, so I desperately hoped she had just overdone it and it was over. But it was just beginning.

9pm that night began 13 hours of vomiting for my little 22 pound 2 year old. She was so miserable. She would hide under the covers so I couldn't wipe her face afterwards. She whimpered for her beloved stuffed panda bear that was being washed. The next morning, when she still hadn't stopped, I took her to the doctor, who warned me this was not going to be a quick and easy virus. He prescribed one dose of Zofran to help stop the vomiting and try to avoid a trip to the ER for dehydration. Fortunately, it worked. And then began 4 to 5 days of explosive diarrhea diapers and exhaustion. Brigid would fall asleep at any moment, sometimes while eating and kneeling. It could be frightening to watch her fraile limp body barely conscious while I changed her diaper, even as she would whimper and moan at her sore bottom or how it pained her to be moved.

By Saturday, the 28th, around 2pm, Teresa had begun throwing up. Our desperate hopes that we could contain this to 1 child were dashed but we had some idea what we were in for, though we hoped she might have a lesser version than Brigid did. She threw up for 12 hours as well, though she stopped on her own, not needing a doctor visit. Her diarrhea was shorter lived though she too would lay on the sofa for 4 or 5 days drifting in and out of consciousness. To save washing bedding, scrubbing mattresses or carpeting and the washing of stuffed animals and baby blankets and pillows, James camped out with Teresa in his office, her on the floor on towels and with a blanket, and James on a cot.

Sunday night, Elizabeth was complaining of stomach pain and had a fever. So we put a towel in Teresa's bed as diaper insurance, and set Elizabeth up on the floor of James' office. Around 1am, Cecilia got up and began throwing up. She was relocated to the floor of James' office. Then, around 3am, Felicity got up and threw up and she was relocated as well. Although Elizabeth only threw up once that night, Felicity was about half a dozen times over a 6 hour span and Cecilia, true to her sensitive stomach, didn't stop for 20 hours. (Even the Zofran, about 13 hours in, couldn't stop it.) So, by Monday, Brigid was just starting to feel better but with a very sore bottom, Teresa was lamentable sprawled on the sofa, and the oldest 3 either vomiting, recovering from vomiting, or exhausted with a fever. (Even though she only threw up once, Elizabeth's fever wouldn't go away.)
We tried and tried to get them to drink Pedialyte. Brigid actually loved the Cherry flavor but we couldn't get the other girls to drink cherry, blue raspberry or even the flavorless watered down. Next time we will try the ice pops, but it was definitely a challenge getting any electrolytes or sodium in them. Although the fact Cecilia would drink fruit punch Gatorade definitely helped. 
 Monday night was mostly uneventful and Tuesday was fairly calm. The oldest four were still feeling awful but Brigid was showing markable improvement. The only incident was that afternoon, after a nap, Teresa threw up once. The doctor warned us it might happen, particularly after waking up. He explained the virus tries to build up again while they are sleeping and throwing up is part of the body's attempt to get rid of the regenerating virus. You know a 3 year old is feeling awful though when she is offered a french fry and says, "No, I rest." But while Cecilia had seemed to move on to the diarrhea phase, Felicity and Elizabeth whined they felt better and I had to scold them not to dance and bounce around.
 Wednesday, March 4th and Thursday the 5th were low points though. Despite apparent improvement, Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth all regressed into a second round of vomiting, each one going 14-16 hours before stopping. James had to take Cecilia to the doctor because she couldn't stop throwing up again and we just could not keep the fluids in her. Dark circles were forming around her eyes and she was constantly cold. I won't get detailed but the contents of what she was throwing up was also worrying me. The doctor prescribed another dose of Zofran, which, thankfully, mostly worked. She still threw up but it did slow down and gradually dissipate.

Unfortunately, by then, I had gotten it. I was freezing cold and physically exhausted. The bodily aches could be quite painful, particularly in my hands, and I got a fever. Since it took Brigid a full week from beginning to the end of this wretched virus, we weren't surprised that it took Teresa until that Friday to feel better and the older girls until the weekend. Just after I go it, so did Thomas, but, fortunately, his case was limited to explosive diarrhea diapers, poor sleep, and constant nursing. I turned out to get the mildest form of it recovering after a few days with just some nausea and weakness. I suspect it was the breastfeeding that saved us both the harder form of this thing.

Obviously, neither I nor any of the kids were going to Church on Sunday but even James couldn't go when it hit him late Saturday/early Sunday. While he never threw up, he got the other end of it in spades. And while the kids were all feeling significantly better, it left me to care for all of them by myself. The most difficult part of that was that, coming off the illness, they were all insanely, crazily, constantly hungry and, I, still being nauseas simply did not want to deal with food.
 In the end, it has taken us 2 1/2 weeks to go from start to finish with this virus through all 8 of us. During that time, I was in touch with another local mom who's little girl had the same thing. She told me she had spoken to another local mom who's daughters also had it and that mom had said our local hospital had issued an alert for a Norovirus epidemic in the area. Norovirus would make a lot of sense for what we had and went through and, to be honest, it would make me feel better to have a name for it. I don't mind assigning a generic "stomach bug" to those 24 hour bugs or even 48 hour ones. But this one really did take a full week for everyone except Thomas and myself and, frankly, after what we went through with this virus, "stomach bug" simply doesn't do it justice.

Needless to say, our Spring Break was lost among misery, so I postponed school this week and we have just taken the week to take it easy, catch up on laundry, play outside and enjoy this gorgeous Spring weather.

Our bought with "The Plague" as I call it, has had one positive though. True to homeschoolers, it has led us down a rabbit hole about the human body and illnesses, but that will be another post.

Stay Healthy! And, for the love of all that is holy, wash your hands. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, that sounds HORRID. So glad you all are feeling better!