Literally, one year ago, I (half-heartedly) confessed that my radar for determining whether or not my husband was truly sick or faking it for attention was a tad defective.
In fact, I even nick-named myself the clueless caregiver when my neglectful bedside manner landed my husband in the hospital.
You’d think that in a year’s time, I would have learned a thing or two from my mistakes, right?
It all started three weeks ago on a cold, Sunday night. My husband returned from Home Depot and asked, “Did the food we had for dinner make your stomach feel weird?”
“No!” I shot back at him. “My new recipe was great, and so is my stomach thank-you very much.”
He limped around the house trying to finish up some things until he meekly said he was going to retire in the newly renovated guest room because he thought something was wrong and didn’t want to disturb me in the night.
2 am: I was awoken by the gentle sounds of a 31- year-old man emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl.
2:15 am: After I had fallen back asleep, I was awoken again by the sounds of my husband whispering sweet nothings into the toilet.
This continued a couple more times throughout the wee hours of the morning. And I felt bad, truly I did, but this also happened to be the second night in a row that the baby was sleeping through the night, so I admit, I was more pissed off that he disrupted my slumber than I was concerned over his well-being. I figured: He’s a tough guy, and sure enough all fell silent around 3:45 am.
The next morning, I woke up to check on him only to find him lying on the floor next to the bed.
“Uh…Are you OK?” I asked, kicking him slightly to confirm that he was alive.
“Ya, I just felt a little weak and fell down.” He replied, adding a little cough for dramatic effect. “Once I was down here, I didn’t have the strength to get back into bed, so I thought I’d just sleep right here.”
One trip to the ER and two IV bags of fluid later, my husband was hydrated, medicated and well on the road to recovery. I sheepishly apologized for not taking him seriously, and we lived happily ever after.
Well, at least that’s how I thought the story would end, but oh no.
Karma’s a bitch.
As luck would have it, my loving husband passed that miserable stomach bug onto me (on purpose for me not taking him seriously, I’m sure). The next day and night we were trading turns worshiping the porcelain throne until I finally mustered up the strength to drive myself to the ER at 1 am. I had the same IV fluid treatment, then crawled back into bed feeling much better around 2:45 am.
Now here’s where Nikki Flores’ life really get’s interesting…
The next day, my husband and I quickly dropped the baby off at day care in the morning, so the two of us could get some much needed rest at home.
Three hours into a deep sleep, the phone rings.
“You need to pick up your child. She’s breaking out everywhere in a rash and has a fever. We have a hunch that it’s chicken pox,” the day care director told me.
“Wha-?” I sat straight up in bed. “You’ve got to be joking!”
We picked up our feverish, rashy baby, (who looked like she was on the losing end of a boxing match, mind you) and called the nurse line. Together, my husband, the nurse and I tried our best to determine over the telephone whether or not our baby’s leprous-looking rash was indeed chicken pox. Yet, in the end, it took a quick visit to the pediatrician to determine that our baby was actually having an allergic reaction to Penicillin.
And just in case you’re curious about what an allergic reaction to Penicillin looks like, here’s a snap shot:
So there we were…Two clueless parents, incredibly ill by what could only be described as the stomach virus from hell, who had to pull it together to take care of our puffy, red-patchy and very itchy baby.
Now under normal circumstances, my husband and I do a pretty good job of backing each other up and pitching in when the other needs help. But neither one of us knew the best course of action in this scenario. Somehow, in-between small sips of ginger ale and taking turns napping, we made it. The baby’s fever went down, her rash cleared up, and we stopped vomiting.
Life went back to normal.
Only…36 hours later, I coughed. Then I sneezed. Then I coughed again. And again. And again until my coughing fit got so bad that I swore I heard a rib pop.
In pain, I thought to myself: This can’t be happening, and surely it couldn’t get any worse given what we just went through.
Then I heard my husband cough downstairs.
And then the baby, who had been happily playing in my lap up to that point, opened her mouth and promptly vomited all over me.
Great. Just great.