These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Under the Weather

Jack,

This title seems appropriate because of the bad weather we've had lately (although not today... I think it's in the 50's and melting the snow right now).

But mostly because you aren't feeling well.

We had a fun evening yesterday after school. We headed over to play with Aunt Erin, Cal and her longtime friend Kelsey and her 25 month old daughter, Harper. Since we are all bloggers (Erin's blog is here: http://momommy.blogspot.com/ and Kelsey's blog is here: http://mdwestmom.blogspot.com/), I figured this meeting of all of our featured kids may be very well documented... :)



The kids played together and had a good time.


Here you are "talking" on the phone:


You played on opposite sides of the door with Harper

and had a little trouble when you disagreed on whether the door should be opened or shut.



Once we got past this, you fast became friends.

Harper showed you and Cal how to play hide and seek and you also played the piano together.


By the time we left, you were crying because you didn't want to stop playing with your friends but I could tell from your level of sensitivity that we needed to head for home.

Unfortunately, as a parting gift, we may have exposed both of your friends to the Rota Virus.

Yes, I said "Rota Virus" and as these words leave my mouth, the sky has become dark and demons circle the house in an ominous way.

No, but seriously. All joking aside. This virus scares the hell out of me.

If you GOOGLE Rotavirus, you will find details like this:

"Rotavirus is a viral infection in the digestive tract, the most common cause of severe and potentially fatal diarrhea in children. Rotaviruses belong to the Reoviridae family. They are segmented, double-stranded RNA viruses. To survive and cause disease, RNA viruses must directly replicate their RNA in a living host. The virus is replicated in the lumen of the small intestine causing the villi to fuse and the mucosal layer to thicken."

"Rotavirus is extremely easy to catch and is transmitted mainly by the fecal-oral route. It is commonly passed directly from an infected person to another person, or by a contaminated surface. It can be passed before and after the onset of diarrhea."

"Patients with rotavirus are infectious from 1 day before the onset of symptoms, to 8-10 days afterwards. The onset of the illness usually begins 3 days after exposure to the virus. Rotavirus usually starts with fever, upset stomach, and 1-3 days of vomiting, followed by 5-8 days of watery diarrhea which has an extremely foul odor. "

"Children can lose body fluids and electrolytes very rapidly with this disease. This is especially dangerous for children under 2 years of age. Without rehydration and restoring the electrolyte balance this disease can be life-threatening. The most effective treatment for rotavirus is rehydration with an electrolyte-balanced fluid supplement. A diet of bland foods, such as bananas, applesauce, cereal and toast is also recommended."

"Rotavirus is the primary cause of severe diarrhea young children and infants worldwide. In the United States, four out of five children will develop rotavirus in the first 5 years of life, approximately 50,000 children are hospitalized each year due to the life-threatening loss of fluids caused by this virus, and another 500, 000 are seen in physician's offices. Rotavirus is responsible for one-third of all hospitalizations in children under 5 years of age. Though it occurs in all age groups, it occurs mostly in children 6 to 24 months of age. It is responsible for one million deaths worldwide each year."

So, I am worried out of my mind as you can well imagine. Plus, this is the SECOND time you have come into contact with this virus.

Since last night you had been having diarrhea episodes one after the other after the other throughout the night and into this morning. You bottom has become blood red and you writhe and scream in pain when I have to clean you up now. When another diarrhea episode occurs you start to whimper and my heart wants to break in a thousand pieces for you.



I wish this goddamn virus had an ass so I could kick it.

Lately, your diarrhea episodes have spaced out to about once an hour, but I'm very worried because I can't get you to take the electrolyte drinks (Pedialyte - one in every flavor, just in case you might like one over another). I don't know what to do. You are obviously thirsty because you cry and search the room for a cup containing the murky white color of your milk, but we have put these away in a desperate attempt to get you to take the Pedialyte.



I have snuggled you most of the day and been the catcher of vomit and baby-washer and Daddy has been the devoted father who has run to the store for anything we could think of that might make things easier for you. Multiple flavors of Pedialyte, butt cream, bananas... anything. Daddy has also been cleaning all surfaces and clothes that have been soiled by vomit or diarrhea and that has been quite a lot.



Our front room doesn't have a carpet anymore.... Coincidence? Oh, no!



Your highchair is stripped bare



and your Daddy has had to scrub the tub no less than 5 or 6 times today.

But the worst worst part of this is to hear your cry of pain when we clean you up and put on the ointment that will help your poor burned and horribly discolored skin on your sweet baby bottom to heal. You cry desperately for me and Daddy while I am the one that is causing the pain - true - I'm only cleaning you up so the diarrhea won't do more damage to your poor skin, but you don't know that. Simply that you need to feel better and I can't do anything about it.

Please, please let this pass quickly. I'm hoping since this is our second encounter, that it will be briefer than the previous one and perhaps less intense. I just want you to feel better, Angel.

We love you, Jack.

Love,

Mommy

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