As he was tucked into bed last night, he began vomiting.
"It's not the turkey meat," I said, after he was back in bed. "The stomach bug is going around."
Henry agreed there had been a few kids gone from his classroom every day. The same is true for the school where I work. Even so, he never wants to eat turkey tacos again. I told him next time he can have peanut butter.
Noah was paralyzed by fear, index fingers jammed into his ears to muffle the sound, when Henry was in the bathroom. I have found Noah physically unable to move while someone is vomiting. I have crossed off "nurse" and "doctor" from the list of his potential occupations. In the middle of crisis he is frozen, eyes closed, ears plugged, yelling, "What just happened? What just happened? Is it going to happen again? Is he going to sleep in a different room tonight?"
Last night Henry was up on and off until about 2:00 a.m., visiting the porcelain god. I felt bad for the little guy, who took it all in stride, which is a contrast to a few years ago when he used to come into our bedroom when he didn't feel good, even though the bathroom was just around the corner. I still have nightmares about lying in bed and being woken by a little child who was whispering, "I don't feel good" while he was leaning over me, his face about three inches from mine. I always had to ask him to repeat himself since I was in a comatose state. It never ended well.
I got online last night and requested the day off today due to family illness. Is it nice to have a day off work? Absolutely. Is it nice to spend the day at home taking care of a sick child? It depends. If the child is sleeping, it's a pretty good gig. When I was growing up, I only wanted to be around my mom when I was sick. She knew best how to make me feel better. I guess it's an honor to be the one who can comfort a sick child, wipe a sweaty forehead, wipe butts, clean up the hazards, and carry on.
Assuming I'd have time today for me (good news!), I made a list of things I wanted to do while Henry was (hopefully) zonked out:
If you listen to the lyrics, you realize this is a cry for help . . . Lord, take me to heaven! Spare me from this illness . . . "I want to be in that number when the saints go marching in" to the gates of heaven. Oh, Noah.
Every morning Isaac has a certain routine: he opens the blinds, makes coffee, gets out bread for toast, is irritated if I check my e-mail, loads plates into the dishwasher . . . the list goes on. While Noah is outside singing, I realize the blinds are still down, the coffee is not brewing, I'm checking my e-mail and Isaac is in his bedroom, curled up. Isaac is not worried about his routine. This is not good.
Then Isaac ran to the bathroom. A few times. No vomiting for him. Just diarrhea. I wanted to cry, but I didn't because he was crying.
"YMCA, YMCA, YMCA!" he cried, with tears streaming down his face. I assured him he would be able to go Sunday, which is a few days from now. When I asked if he wanted to go to school, he said yes. Then he said no. I called the bus garage. I called the schools. Then I peeked in at Henry, who was still sleeping.
Isaac heard the computer keys and wandered down the hall. I am typing in the bedroom because he is a light sleeper. He can't sleep through much when he's down and out. He just crawled into bed next to me. He said, "Computer off! Sleep!"
I'm pretty sure I'm not doing yoga today, watching a documentary, or sorting a few piles of paperwork in the office. Nope. I'm going to lie down next to my 12-year-old son and repeat to myself, "All is well, all is well. We are all healthy and happy." If anyone gets sick, I'll clean it up.
It's 9:30 a.m. and Henry just woke up. He said he feels much better. He said he's not game for a banana; he just wants something to drink. Isaac is telling me to log off. I think his energy is coming back. So much for my "me" time.
What's the silver lining?
Noah, clueless about Isaac's illness, is at school. Ignorance is bliss. I can eat leftover turkey tacos and bean salad for lunch. I am able to skip my three recess duties at school. This isn't a terminal illness. And I have a person lying next to me (at least for a few minutes!) who just put his hand on my arm and said, "Sleep." I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in . . .