I used to think I was lucky. I almost never get sick. I have allergies pretty much constantly, but I practically never get sick. So on Saturday night I dealt with Stella vomiting. Then on Saturday night Julie woke up with her. But of course I woke up too. Because I’m a Dad now, and I’m hardwired to shoot up like someone’s applied electricity to my genitals every time I hear the slightest sniffle out of her. Julie handed me to her yesterday morning so she could get a few more minutes of sleep and she immediately vomited on me. I’m really done with being vomited on. Last night Stella woke up every hour just to whimper a bit. I have no clue what that was about, but I got to get up with her.
Because last night Julie and my mom both got the stomach bug. Which is really kind of ironic. I’ve been swimming in vomit for the past few days. If anyone should have gotten sick it should have been me. I was pretty decent about washing my hands, but how good are you going to be when you’re giving your kid her seventh bath of the night at 5am?
And I still have gotten no sleep. You don’t want to be the one who doesn’t get sick. Because you’ll never get sleep again.
I have had almost no sleep. Last night after we came home from the show Stella began screaming at about 3am. She had vomited all over herself. She has been vomiting every 20-45 minutes since. It’s getting better, but still no fun. I stopped counting after the 7th load of laundry I did. I stopped counting after the ninth bath. I’m very, very tired.
Stella is, as always, looking cute. Cause she’s a big sweety.
Thankfully she’s been fairly easy to keep hydrated. She’s been eating food the rest of us have been eating lately so I don’t think it’s food poisoning. I’m blaming it on the little girl she sat next to on the bus who was sneezing in her face and sucking on her toys.
Stella was having a rough morning. She got up at 6:50. This really sucks because I’ve already gone out running at that point and that means Julie has to get up with her. Her grandparents were stirring so I think all the wandering around woke her up. We went through our usual morning routine. Including the “Daddy does not have time to feed you breakfast/gnashing of teeth/winging routine”. I took her back upstairs and told her to go see mommy. She wandered down the hall, but detoured into her room. There she picked up a book, and her blanket and headed back down the hall to Mommy’s room.
Friday evening we were going to see the Buttons and Bows Show. Brandon had recommended it and I was really looking forward to it. We had the grandparents lined up for babysitting and everything was going great. Julie picked me up from work at 6pm and we headed over to Waterloo for some hamburgers and a pint of Firemen’s #4 before the show. As we were about to leave Julie looked at her cell phone for some reason. We had 3 missed calls. She listened to the messages and my mom was asking that we giver her a call back ASAP. We called her and she said that Gideon had bit Stella, but that everything was ok. I asked if she thought we needed to come home (since at this point I’m imaging that Stella got nipped by the dog and maybe drew a little blood, but nothing major). She said yes, that they had already tried to take her to urgent care and been turned away because they didn’t have permission to get health care for Stella.
We headed home. Julie feeling horrible that she hadn’t gotten the cell phone messages the minute they arrived. We got to my parent’s house to find a very calm Stella, and two not horribly calm grandparents. The first thing my mom told me was that she was going to have her dog put to sleep. Being an animal lover I begged her not to do that yet.
Stella it turned out had 3 bites. One small slice on the edge of her ear. One big gash on the inside of her ear, and one puncture wound on the back of her neck behind her ear. The bleeding had stopped when we got there, so we called our pediatrician to see if it needed immediate care or could wait for a doctor’s visit on Monday. The on call physician told us that it needed to be cleaned so we should go to a hospital. I called my insurance to locate an Urgent Care. After about 10 minutes on the line they told me there were no Urgent Care Facilities within 30 miles of my zip code. I thanked them for their time and told them I’d go look it up on the Internet. She told me she could forward me to someone to get gap coverage. Right.
I went upstairs and found 2 urgent care facilites within 2 miles of our house (and probably hundreds within 30 miles of our zip code). Fantastic customer care. We headed off to one that was open until 9. At the urgent care they got to us pretty quickly. They took Stella’s temperature and looked at her vital signs. Then a doctor came in and said they couldn’t help us. Apparently they would have wanted to use a topical anesthetic to put in the stitches and they can’t do that because they don’t have resuscitation equipment. They did refund our $50, however.
So at about 9:00 we headed over to Seaton SouthWest’s emergency room. It was pretty small, but there was no one really in it. They got us in pretty quickly. They checked out Stella’s ear. We had a nurse come in to clean it. We swaddled Stella in a sheet and for about 20 minutes they worked on cleaning out her wounds and putting on some of the smallest steri-strip stitches you’ve ever seen. Stella cried a lot, but mostly she was a trooper. It was after her bedtime and she was drooping. We did get to spend some fun time with her reading while waiting for the doctors, though.
They gave her an antibiotic, and took her temperature again. We got to talk to a social worker before we were discharged. She seemed intent on making this into a life lesson.
Her: “Well, I guess you won’t be letting her play with stange dogs”
Us: “It wasn’t a strange dog.”
Her: “I guess you won’t be leaving her alone with a dog anymore”.
Us: “She wasn’t alone with the dog. The dog was under the table. Stella was right next to her grandparents who were eating.”
Her: “I guess you wont’ be letting her have food around a dog anymore”
Us: “She didn’t have food. She was done eating.”
Her: “Well, I guess…”
We got discharged at about 10:45. We were at home around 11pm and in bed soon after that. Some time before we went to bed I asked Julie if she really wanted more kids, after that kind of a night…
A little before 2am Stella cried a little bit. I went in and she was lying on her injured ear. I flipped her over, patted her on her back and she went back to sleep. As did I.
At about 2am, she starts crying again. Sobbing crying. With no lead up to it. I had just started to drift back off to sleep so I found it hard to get back up. Julie immediately hopped out of bed and went in there. I hear her call me over the monitor, then again, and then shout my name. I ran in there and she told me to call 911, that Stella was having a seizure. She had Stella cradled in her arms. One of Stella’s arms was stiffly at a 30 degree angle from her body. Her eyes were focused, unseeing above and to the left of us. Her fists were balled up tight. Her body jerked rhythmically every half second or so, and each time she let out a sob. Eventually she started frothing and drooling.
It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen. I’m really surprised it has never been used in a horror movie. I can see how in the middle ages they thought people having seizures were being tormented by some unseen demon. That’s exactly what it looks like.
911 told me not to restrain her, and that once she stopped seizing,we should roll her on her side. So we just watched. I had Julie go get dressed. And we watched. And then I went and got dressed. And we watched. And I ran up and down the stairs. Like 12 times. And I’d watch Stella. Then I’d go run down and look for the ambulance. We were both shaking. We were so powerless.
Stella’s seizures stopped after about 3 minutes. We rolled her over on her side. She was completely unresponsive. Her fists were still balled up, but she was breathing. About 30 seconds later the paramedics and fire truck arrived. Which was fast. Ridiculously fast. They came upstairs and it seemed like there were 100 of them. There were really only 3 paramedics and 4 fire fighters, but that was still a lot of people. Julie was inside the room, and I was outside. Trying to peer in, around all the firefighters. One firefighter had me get a wet towel to help lower her body temperature. She was at a 104.3. They put in an IV, and I saw them do the heel prick test. She cried at that, which was a tremendous relief. It was the first time she’d really responded since the seizures.
One of the firefighters in the hall told me what was going on. That it was a febrile seizure, brought on by a fever. He suggested I get Julie’s purse and any paperwork on Stella’s first hospital visit of the night. I got everything ready and they took Stella downstairs. They put her on a full-size stretcher and took her out the door. I got out her carseat and they attached her it to the stretcher in the ambulance and then put her in it. Julie got in the ambulance and I got in the car to follow her. It looked like half of our neighborhood was up watching what was going on.
I sat in the driveway with the car on for about 10 minutes as they got everything settled in the ambulance. I was shaking. I called my parents, but their phones were off. We finally started going after 10 minutes. I kept up with the ambulance until we got on IH-35. At the stoplights I could see Stella’s little body looking back at me from her carseat on the stretcher. Framed in those small ambulance windows. Lit by the sickly fluorescent green lights. I could see Julie to her side. Looking at her. White as a sheet. Not really moving. It was the hardest drive of my life. Thankfully the radio was on 90.5. I didn’t even think about it, but it happened to be during Lauri’s show. I’ve never been so glad to here a friend’s voice in my life. I’m not sure if I could have made that drive without completely loosing it, if I hadn’t heard Lauri talking. It was very lonely.
They took Stella to Dell Children’s Center. I got lost on the way there, due to a lack of signs. I ended up a gas station that pointed me back in the right direction. When I got there, Stella was checked in and responsive. We settled into the waiting room with her, and just cuddled. She was soaking wet from sweat and it was wonderful to have her in our arms. The episode of Roseanne where they won the lottery was on the waiting room TV. And really not funny. After about 10 minutes of waiting they had a room for us.
We went in and waited for the doctor. He came in and explained that they used to think febrile seizures were caused by untreated fevers, but now they thought it had something to do with the speed the body temperature went up. It was pretty obvious to us it wasn’t an untreated fever, since Stella had had her temperature taken once at the urgent care, and twice at the previous emergency room and had been normal. The best we can think is that the stress of the day and not going to bed until very late had allowed an opportunistic virus the chance to really take over.
We were in the hospital until about 6am. They took x-rays since her fever had been so high. They took blood. The wouldn’t have normally, but since the iv had been put in and they didn’t have to actually stick any more needles in Stella to get the blood, they figured it wasn’t a bad idea. They also put in a catheter to get urine. Which was pretty horrible. The first nurse couldn’t get the catheter in. About 30 minutes later she returned with another nurse, who couldn’t get the catheter in. About an hour later they returned with a third nurse who finally got it in. Poor Stella kept getting woken up for those. At about 5am she no longer wanted to sleep on the hospital bed and wanted to be held. Unfortunately if we moved she’d start sobbing. It was pretty uncomfortable, but it was nice to cuddle with her all the same. At some point during that Julie brought up my question about wanting to have more kids that I posed after the dog bite. We both agreed that nights like the one we’d just had made it very hard to think about having more kids. Of course, memory is short…
We got discharged with no real answers about why any of this had happened and headed home. We put Stella to bed. Turned up the monitor really loudly and passed out.
When we woke up at around 9:30am, Stella still had a fever. We treated her with ibuprofen. Julie had to go to a rehearsal so I asked my parent’s if they’d come over and help out. I was still horribly tired and just didn’t know how much more care I could provide. At least competently. They came over and I got a shower and some food. I started calling my sister’s who were all on the warpath about the dog bite (they had left me messages mentioning shotguns for the dog), but they knew nothing about the seizure. My little sister Christine decided to come up, just so she could be there for me, and hug on Stella. She ended up bringing her husband Brian (who is really fond of Stella), and my sister Caroline. It was really, really nice to have my family around after such a stressful night.
Oh, and at 2:30pm on Saturday we had an offer presented by our Realtor. We sent back a counter offer and by 4:00 we learned that they had accepted. So in less than 24 hours we had gone to the hospital twice and sold our house.
So the spaghetti I made earlier this week is out. It is a mess. I stripped Stella down to eat it last night. She was just in her diaper. Which she promptly unfastened. Because that is what she does. And it’s comedy gold. Toddlers think it’s really funny to undo their diapers. That’s why you make them wear pants.
So she at the spaghetti. It was a complete mess, and she’d tucked quite a bit into her diaper, so I took her upstairs for her bath completely naked leaving her diaper in the high chair. Once I got Stella bathed and in bed (and the bathtub cleaned out), I went back downstairs. Only to discover that the diaper was no longer in the high chair, and Lucy was under the couch. Looking oh, so very ashamed. I found the diaper proper on the back door mat. Apparently, even dogs are not that into spaghetti flavored urine. The diaper cover was under the couch. Licked clean. Oh the shame Lucy! The shame!
So this weekend was pretty nice. It was fairly relaxed and we got to spend some time doing little to nothing. We even checked out some model houses just for fun. Because we have time to waste on such things right now. Really nice after our how hectic our life as been.
So, first off, have you seen this ad:
Does it make you tear up a little? I’ll admit it does me. I know, that it will help Wal*Mart’s profits immensley to sell millions of pairs of organic pajama pants. But they’re still the only major retailer making these kinds of statements on TV. They’re the only ones saying if you buy product ‘x’ you can prevent ‘y’ gallons of pesticides from being dumped on the earth. I still don’t really like their products, but I’ve got to support a major corporation making a statement this strong about the protecting the environment. I wish Target would do something…
I’ve been trying to figure out ways to give Stella better meals lately. I really believed before we had her that we’d somehow get her to stay up later than 8pm and she would just eat the same food Julie and I do. How wrong I was. We’ve been feeding her warmed up frozen vegetables and chicken for quite a while now, but she’s recently balked at this bland meal. Probably because she’s had a few meals at restaurants now, and realizes how food can actually taste. I tried making extra portions of all the meals we eat, but that gets thrown off if we eat out, or if I don’t make enough extra (translation, I get hungry and eat too much). So that wasn’t really a solution.
So this week I’m going to try to make her 4 reheatable meals. Whole Wheat Chicken Quesadillas, Hamburger, Tortilla Pizza, and chicken Spaghetti. All have far more vegetables than normal for those food types. Hopefully she’ll dig them. And hopefully they’ll be fast. I’ll try to post the making of the meals in case anyone is curious.
So, I’ve come to the realization that I now live with another person in the house. It’s funny how they really only become little people once they start walking. Yesterday, I kept seeing this little person zipping around just outside of my peripheral vision. A midget person. Too small to be real. Moving like a Jim Henson puppet circa 1984. Like the little Alien that bursts out of one’s chest and starts zipping around.
Anytime I actually catch her eye, she gives me this mischievous smile and wobbles off in the other direction. Sometimes she claps as if to say, “Soon, I’ll be free of my tyrannical overlords!” She can still crawl faster than she can walk, but even she can tell that the real power is in walking, and she’s almost there. Almost, there…
I’m going to have to build one for Stella. The best thing is that you can stack books on the other side and see-saw alone. How awesome is that? Also I suppose it can become a game as you try to balance it out into a flat bookshelf while trying to load the exact same weight of books on both sides. Not to mention that jumping on one side can catapult all of your books across the room. Fantastic!
and dinner, really. We’ve finally hit the wall. I knew this wall existed. I knew I had it coming, but I was just hoping if I ignored it, it would go away. But Stella is really, really sick of our pretend “meals” we feed her. We’ve been feeding her basically the same thing since she starting eating solid food.
Chicken (cooked weekly and slowly growing more slimy over the week) or Cheese
Frozen Vegetables (mainly corn and peas because that’s what she likes
Bread or Toasted O’s
She’s finally started getting a little antsy about this same boring food. Especially when she goes out to eat and gets hamburgers and cheese omelets. So last night I was making Grilled Chicken Breasts with Tomato, Olive, and Feta Relish for dinner. Usually dinner gets made after Stella goes to bed, but I made the sauce early and spooned it over her chicken breasts. I even put a piece of mint on there for garnish.
It was very artsy. And Stella had another first.
It was amusing. She pulled out the mint. Looked at it. Chewed on it a bit. Then dropped it off of her high chair as an offering to the dogs (who learned about garnish quite a long time ago and were not deceived).
She devoured the food. Which was excellent. And it had vegetables and cheese, so it was sort of healthy.
This led back to the fact that I really need to start cooking for Stella. I’ve been inspired by the past by the site Vegan Lunch Box, even though I could not be less vegan if I tried.