After dinner out, it was just all downhill from there…

It is no secret that my Dad is not a University of Kentucky basketball fan. In fact, if there were a sports fan term for “the exact opposite of a University of Kentucky basketball program fan,” he’d be at the top of the list of that membership. Maybe even the president. And it’s gone on for many years. He tolerated Rick Pitino, respected Tubby Smith, and despises Coach Cal. It’s tough to compartmentalize my love for my dad and my love for UK, but no time is more difficult than when we play during one of my parents’ visits. His official position of “I stand with and cheer for anyone who plays against UK” can be infuriating at times (“Did he really just commend UConn for kicking us out of the tournament!??!”) and can seriously test my patience. I think he secretly loves the entire situation.

His hate/hate relationship with UK has not come without some entertaining consequences, however. Last spring, when March Madness was about to begin, I stumbled up a website called CelebCalls, where you can send a phone call to a loved one from a celebrity. Of course I couldn’t resist sending one to my dad from his favorite coach of all time, John Calipari. It was worth 25 times what I paid to get a call from my dad right after he got a “call” from Coach Cal. “I just got the most OBSCENE phone call!” he joked with me. I was tempted to send him one after every NCAA tournament win.

With apologies to the Big Blue Nation, my dad was here last night when we played Duke of all teams. Trying to defuse the situation that made me a lot more crazy than he, I asked him if he would mind wearing a National Championship t-shirt and pretending to cheer on his least favorite team (thanks to my cousin Monica for the genius idea!). Of course, he was such a good sport, he did everything I asked of him. We actually had a lot of laughs over it. Here’s a shot of him just getting used to being in the shirt:

Then he started getting silly, which was hilarious. I mean, give just about anyone pom-poms and how can they not start jumping around?

See what I mean? Really. good. sport!

Hannah and Patrick had the chance to see their Papa have fun with us all. I’m glad they know he doesn’t take himself too seriously. (I will say that he quietly and swiftly removed the shirt once the pictures were through, though. Can’t convert anyone THAT quickly, I suppose….)

(By the way, I didn’t make him sleep in the car!)

So, we all had our fun getting fired up for the actual game, each in our own way, trying not to let Dicky V’s “diaper dandies” comment grate on our nerves too much, even when he used it as his only moniker for the UK boys. For me, the game wasn’t the only action that demanded my attention that night. It probably wasn’t two minutes into the start of the game that Brendan, our self-proclaimed “Informer” from the Bill Cosby skits of yore, ran out and announced with a mix of pride and disgust, that Ben had “just puked all over the bedroom.” NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! I screamed on the inside. I can do a lot of gross things in the name of mommyhood, but cleaning up puke has to be the most horrible job imaginable. And yet, the deed was not only done, but in need of cleanup.

I hurried back there to meet the wave of stench that can only come from the efficiency of the human stomach acids. Good night, it is terrific. Terrifically bad, that is. First, I try to understand how a person can NOT make it to the bathroom. That is beyond my comprehension. But seriously, what can I say now but “ick,” and get to work. Patrick jumped in and ran to get carpet cleaner and towels while I tried not to add to the neat little addition to the boys’ room. Meanwhile, Ben was in the bathroom wretching. Why did we go to Culver’s again? I’m thinking to myself. In fact, why do we even eat? What’s the point really, except to make messes that I have to clean up? You can probably tell that I was not in a good place mentally at this point, but honestly, can you be when you’re on your knees with wet socks because you couldn’t avoid stepping in the vomit, forced to whiff the foul odor?

Not only am I equally as upset to be missing the UK/Duke game as I am to have to clean up partially digested food, but the slow thought is dawning on me that if Ben has a stomach bug, who else would get it? The dread and fear that sweep over a mom when they think about battling barf for an interminable amount of time is unparalleled. I start praying, not only for Ben’s health, but for the protection that the other nine of us in the house will need if we’ve touched anything Ben has. Or breathed on.

Meanwhile, Ben is in the bathroom trying to vomit up his duodenum. Or, at least that’s what it sounds like to the untrained ear.

Patrick and I got the mess cleaned up, and Hannah helped to get the dirty towels and blankets into the laundry. (The definite silver lining: older kids who think outside themselves to help with even the dirtiest of jobs. Blessed may they be!) I was able to sit down for about five minutes at a time and watch the game, until I heard Ben run to the bathroom again. He probably did that until midnight before settling down for the night.

You all know the end result of the UK/Duke game. I won’t add my personal thoughts on it, but I will say that I hate to lose. Ever. The thought of puking sort of crossed my mind, but I think I’m just highly impressionable. Thankfully, my good sport of a dad and mom went to bed before the end of the game. I think he knew the outcome. His powers are too strong for UK just yet…

The next morning, although he hadn’t upchucked (as Brendan called it just now over my shoulder…”What are you blogging about today, Mommy? Ben’s upchuck??”) all night, Ben was in rough shape. His stomach hurt him terribly, and he didn’t feel well at all. He reported that he hadn’t slept well, which wasn’t a surprise, either. After laying on the couch for a while, but not being able to sleep with all the activity in the house, I sent him to bed where he did sleep for a while.

As it worked out, I had scheduled Ben and Chloe’s annual visit for this very day. How fortunate! How exciting! To have the chance to take two kids, one actively sick, to the doctor, well, I can’t really express my feelings. On top of the trip itself, we had to wait to even see the doctor for over 40 minutes. Poor Ben. I even tried to sing him the Timeline song as a lullaby, but he suggested that my singing was making him sick again. Well played, Ben.

The visit went well–or as well as could be expected. Ben’s doc couldn’t tell if he had managed to win the salmonella lottery at Culver’s or had contracted a stomach bug. Either way, the course was the same: rest, little bits of fluids over time, and more rest.

While we were on our way home, however, I received a call from our doctor with a possibility I hadn’t even considered. She wondered if somehow Ben’s food had come into contact with peanuts or peanut oil at the restaurant. Before she called me, she put in a call to Culver’s to see if they used peanut oil in their cooking. They do not, but they couldn’t guarantee that Ben’s food hadn’t been accidentally contaminated by the evil peanut. His symptoms made total sense, but we agreed that time would tell as to whether it was that or the other two we had already discussed. Secretly, I selfishly hoped it was the peanut, for the simple reason that peanut allergies, though genetically passed, are not contagious. Drowning the house in bleach and Lysol is not necessary with a peanut reaction. Just saying.

As of tonight, Ben has been puke free for about twenty-four hours. There’s no way to tell if the night will be a restful one for him, or if he passed on the petrifying puke to his family. (I’m no help; if anyone even breathes the words “throw up”–even if it’s in the context of “Joe threw up the ball for an easy lay up,” I’m instantly shouting “I FEEL SICK TOO!! OH MY WORD, NOOOOOOO!!!!!”) In any case, I guess we will find out one way or the other soon enough.

I’m literally holding my breath.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Maria Gowin
    Nov 14, 2012 @ 22:16:20

    You are my hero in so many ways!!

    PS – I’m with your Dad on the UK thing!! 😉


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