Well, it finally happened.
Last weekend will officially mark the first time that an illness has rampaged through our family home, hitting every single one of us simultaneously.
I still shudder when I think about it.
You realize that this parenthood thing is no joke when you have to simply ‘put aside’ your own violent vomiting episodes and dehydration, in order to take your six month old into the ER to deal with theirs.
I knew motherhood could be uncomfortable at times (obviously. Birth anyone?), but this was something else entirely. The worst part is I was completely unprepared. Like ‘desperately dragging a half-eaten, stale bag of animal crackers from the back of the cupboard’ unprepared. By the end of the week, my toddler walked straight to the front door, calling out to a non-existent pizza delivery guy when I announced that dinner was ready. My bad.
So here are my hard-earned reflections and tips; one week, one ER trip, three doctor visits, two prescriptions, and 9 lbs. weight loss later:
1. Stock the darn cupboards
We learnt the hard way last weekend — don’t ever overlook the basics. Chicken soup, saltines, Pedialyte, infant/kids’ Tylenol AND Ibuprofen, essential oils (Thieves is a dream for sickness!), cough suppressants, thermometers and batteries, popsicles (Pedialyte-pops anyone?), and frozen dinners for hands-free cooking when the crazy comes crashing down.
Which it totally will. Just so you know.
2. Do a deal with the neighbors
We were beyond blessed to have our friends and neighbors step in and walk a whole host of sickie necessities down the road to us, when hitting up the grocery store was no longer an option. Now that I’ve learnt my lesson (ahem) and plan to stock up our own pantry with some just in case items, I’ll be ready to return the favor. Just one of the million reasons I love our little house, in our little neighborhood.
3. Note dosages and timings ahead of time
This goes doubly if you have more than one kiddo in the house. All it takes is for them to fall prey to the dreaded lurgy simultaneously and you’re scrambling through pediatrician handouts and Dr. Google to work out how much of what each can have, who can’t have certain products, and how often and how interchangeably they can have said medications. Do yourself a favor now, write it all down and stick it to the inside of the medicine cabinet so it’s close at hand when puke comes to shove.
4. There’s an app for that
Thank God for fever apps… note it in your phone and let the app worry about tracking, timing, alerting, and remembering all the nitty gritty for you to recite to your pediatrician later on. Personally, we like Fever Tracker on Google Play.
One. Less. Thing. To. Worry. About.
5. Contact your own doctor… fast
Don’t be like me; leaving it until stupid o’clock to call my own doctor in a desperate bid for Zofran, so I could suppress vomiting long enough to actually help the rest of my entourage out, only to find they won’t fill it over the phone due to an insurance loop hole.
Sigh *vom* sigh.
Call at the first sign of onset if you know something is rampaging through the family home, that way you have a little time to come up with a back-up strategy (i.e. beg some off your recently pregnant neighbor. No shame.)
6. Prepare your ‘hardware’
What I’m trying to say here is make sure you have enough vomit vessels for each member of the house to, erm, deploy into, at the same time. Not everyone can squeeze into the bathroom (who would want to?!) and little ones can’t always reach the sink, so count your trash cans and keep a bucket or two in the garage. You’ll be glad you did.
7. STAY. HOME.
Seriously. Not only is it pure misery trying to get some public-facing task completed when under the influence of the Great Family Misery Maker of 2016, but it also slings germs at anyone unlucky enough to come into contact with you. So stay home, phone the doctor if you can before you head in in-person, and call in a favor from those awesome neighbors up the block.