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Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I've learned from the flu

I used to think that the very worst part of sick kids was the idea of cleaning up all the messes - vomit, diarrhea, and whatever other nasty bodily fluids you can imagine. Now that we've faced the last five days of exactly that, I've learned there is something far worse than the messes.

For us, it all started Monday night. I went into the birthday boy's room to check on him, after he'd been asleep for a couple of hours and before heading to bed myself, like I always do. I was shocked to find my sleeping baby with his head right next to a pile of vomit. Ben hadn't even cried and we hadn't heard a thing. I gently lifted him out of his crib and carried him to the bathroom so that I could assess the situation. He was surprisingly mostly clean, with just a bit of vomit - in his hair and on his pjs. As I was starting to undress him to get him in the bathtub, Ben threw up again - into the bathroom sink. He had the most confused, helpless, sad look on his face. My heart broke.

While Marc bathed him, I cleaned up the mess in the crib and changed the bedding. We comforted him and soon he was settled and asleep again. Luckily that was his only episode with throwing up, but the diarrhea has been a bit worse. Overall, though, at this point Ben has mostly recovered from this little bout with the flu.

Hugh is a different story. The night after Ben had thrown up, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to Hugh and what sounded like dry heaves. As soon as I pulled him out of his crib, he immediately cuddled against my shoulder, which is totally uncharacteristic of him. (Usually he's trying to squirm his way to the nearest source of food.) He ended up throwing up twice before the sun came up on Wednesday morning. It was pretty bad the first couple of days - vomiting, diarrhea, slight fever. I was doing laundry, it seemed, every couple of hours.

Then, just when Hugh was starting to seem like he was on the mend, things got worse. Today was day four, and by far the worst. He was hardly able to keep anything down all day. And, while I know he must be feeling completely miserable, he has still managed to have his super duper cute moments of cooing and crawling and smiling with his nose all scrunched up. He is such a trooper, that little guy. He's sleeping peacefully at the moment, but I'm prepared for a long night and an unpredictable day tomorrow.

Over the last few days, after watching both my babies suffering through their first case of the flu, my heart has hurt and I'm pretty sure my forehead has some new permanent worry lines. Today was especially hard. Four days (and counting) is much too long for a baby to be sick like this, and much too long for my heart to handle. I hate seeing him so uncomfortable and at moments feeling like life has been sucked right out of him. I'm glad, at least, that those lifeless moments have been brief and fleeting.

That's been the biggest surprise with dealing with the flu - handling the emotional stress of watching my babies suffer. The messes have been a cinch to clean up. I haven't even gagged once, to my surprise. But, my heart, oh my heart, has just about broken at least two dozen times this week. I've been unable to lay Hugh down the last two nights without crying. I just want him to be better.

And, in the back of my mind, through all of this, I find myself amazed at what moments like these teach me about the same heartbroken feelings that are experienced by a perfect Father in heaven as He watches us hurting and in pain. If my feelings are this intense and at times nearly unbearable, His feelings of love and concern for us must be at least a million times greater.

I'm comforted with the knowledge that He is watching over me in my moments of greatest need, even this moment right now as I go to watch over my littlest one for the night.


brossettelewis said...

I'm sorry your boys are sick. The sad little whimpers and sighs, as they sleep while sick, are worse than any mess.

Allred Mom said...

I hope they feel better soon! Not fun seeing babies not feeling good.
Hugs to all of you!

Liz said...

I am so sorry that your boys are suffering, but I'm glad they have a wonderful mother who loves them through the illness. I love your thoughts at the end of your post about Heavenly Father and his feelings for us. You're an amazing, spiritual woman and I love your blog!

Happy New Year and I hope your boys are better soon!!