A Big Ol’ Sickfest

Rough week. Puke, puke, more puke, sleep disruptions, illnesses, stress, fatigue… How can anyone function well as a clinician with all of this?

It all started last Sunday night, when we decided to re-sleep-train Babygirl. Over the past month, we’ve been back to getting up at 3 am with her for an overnight cuddle-and-bottle fairly regularly. Yes, we did Cry-It-Out successfully last year, and it worked. But every time there’s an illness or travel, we fall back into late-night awakenings, and need to re-train her.

So Sunday, we decided to let her Cry-It-Out. This is getting harder and harder as she is more verbal. She KNOWS what to say. She breaks our hearts. Her plaintive cries tug at the soul. Or crack us up. Either way, there is no sleeping when she is on a roll:

“Mommeee? Daddeee? I’m saaad. I need a hug!…….Mommy, Daddy! I have a booger! I need a tissue!….. Mommy! Daddy! I can’t find Binkie!….. Mommy? Daddy! Where are you? I need you! I need a hug!….. MOMMEE? DADDEE? I NEED YOU! RIGHT NOW! ………………..  Mommy? Daddy? Mommy? Daddy? Where are you? WHERE ARE YOU? I NEED YOU NOW! MOOOMMMMEEEEE!!!!”

So Sunday she was going through her roll, and we were determined to stay in bed.

Until she got herself so worked up that she started gagging and puking. We knew, that was that. No choice but to get up and clean it all up. So we did, stripped the bed and changed it and put the vomit-covered bedclothes and stuffed animals in the laundry; stripped her and washed her and cuddled her back to sleep. An hour later, we were back in bed.

Then, an hour after that, Babyboy woke up, calling out that he had a tummyache. He’s always been a good sleeper, and doesn’t wake up overnight very often. When he does, he’ll just get up and come to our room, so I met him halfway, and put him in bed with us in the hopes that he would just fall back asleep. About five minutes after he joined us, he sat up and cried, “I need a bucket!” I kind of patted him on the back. “You’re okay sweetie, go to sleep.”

Then, he started gagging and puking. In our bed. Babyboy was vomiting, right there. I jumped up and grabbed him and let him finish on the floor. We did another clean-up job, got a bucket, comforted the poor little guy,  and tried to, again, go back to sleep. But Babyboy was intermittently vomiting all night long. No diarrhea, just vomiting. We held the bucket for him, cleaned his face each time. He seemed to have the dreaded GI bug that’s been going around.

It was so very hard to get up in the morning, but we did, as Babygirl woke up bright and shiny, cheerful and chipper. Babyboy tried to drink some gingerale and vomited again. I managed to get dressed and to work. Slogged through the day.

Babyboy recovered well with plenty of TLC and gingerale. Monday night was fairly uneventful except that at 3 a.m. it was the cat gagging and puking on our bed. Both of our overweight fluffball felines sleep with us; and while both kitties are guilty of leaving hairball gifts around the house, they don’t usually puke on the bed in the middle of the night. Hubby and I woke from dead sleep, jumped up swearing and yelling, scared the bejeesus out of the cat, and then we had to do another late-night cleanup job.

Tuesday I somehow got up and slogged through work. At this point my clinical decisionmaking was suffering, I am sure.

Tuesday night Hubby and I went to bed, joking about how we better not have to get up and clean up anyone’s puke. Ha ha.

Then around 3 a.m., I woke up in a sweat, totally nauseated. I got up to go to the bathroom and realized if I stood up, I was going to pass out. I laid there wondering what to do, deep breathing, willing the waves of nausea away.

I was probably being dramatic about it, and so Hubby woke up. I told him I felt really sick and asked for a glass of cool water and a bucket. He said he was happy to, and went down to the kitchen. I continued deep breathing.


I listened and heard nothing else. I rolled out of bed and gingerly wobbled my way to the top of the stairs, calling, “Hon? Hon?”

Nothing. Then, Babygirl started stirring. Darn. I had woken her with my calls. “Mommeee? I want milky,” she called.

“Uhhh, Okay honey, I’ll be right back.” I knew I couldn’t carry her downstairs and I wasn’t sure I could make it downstairs myself, but I crept down and into the kitchen, kind of scared. Hubby was on the floor, just starting to come to, it seemed, holding his head and making mewly grunty noises. “Ohh. Myy. God. I think I passed out,” he said. “I don’t feel good at all,” he added.

I fussed over him a bit, but by then Babygirl was going mental upstairs, and Hubby looked at me and was like, “I can’t deal with her puke tonight, can you go to her?” So I somehow made her up a bottle and rocked her back to sleep. I felt totally awful, shaky, sweaty, chilly, sick.

And so Hubby and I spent the rest of the night in feverish headachey nauseating misery. All I could think was about my clinic that morning, starting at 7:30 a.m. How will I let patients know I’m not going to be there? What about that really sick complicated patient that needs to be seen? What about my lady who is being operated on? I fretted and stressed and finally got up, dragged my sorry sweaty ass to my laptop and logged into work. I sent emails to all the patients on my schedule that I wasn’t going to be in and they would get a call to reschedule. I emailed the admin staff to make the calls. And I emailed a colleague to beg her to see my sick lady, and I wrote up what I thought at the time was a pretty complete “signout” of all that patient’s issues.

Then I collapsed into bed again. My mom rescued us in the morning, came to the house and took the kids to school. Hubby and I couldn’t move until late afternoon. We really spent the whole day just knocked flat.

When I did log back into work, I was very thankful that my colleague had indeed seen the sick patient; she had taken ownership of the case and reached out to all the specialists involved and arranged followup. But it also came to light that I had missed some very key information when I sent her my signout, and that had created a problem for her. I felt so, so bad. As hard as I tried, my 4 a.m. clinical emailing was deficient. Probably not surprising, considering I was like, presyncopal. But, still, not good. Sigh.

Hubby and I got much better by evening, my mom brought the kids home, and we all went to bed hoping for an uneventful night.

But, no. Babyboy woke up all night long thrashing in pain. He said it was his stomach, but it wasn’t the GI thing. He would drop to sleep, then thrash around, moaning and holding his abdomen, crying out, “Mommy, it hurts. It hurts.” This is not like him at all, and Hubby and I were worried. But, Babyboy didn’t seem feverish at all, and his belly was soft, and he didn’t seem bothered by my mashing on it.

So, we agreed that I would go to work, since I had already missed a day, and Hubby would take Babyboy to the pediatrician, and my mom would again rescue us by taking Babygirl.

I slogged to work. I was exhausted, and also stressed. What was wrong with Babyboy? All morning Hubby sent me text updates. I was distracted. Not at my best. By 11 a.m. we had an answer: Strep. The pedi had spent alot of time poking and prodding and trying to figure out why Babyboy was so miserable. The rapid strep test was positive. He said strep can often present with belly pain in kids.

Okay. I was late at work trying to get through my notes, all the mail and results from the days I had missed, plus calling people back… all with half a brain. Then I went and saw my sick inpatient, who was on surgical service but needed some medicine attention. I spent alot of time with her. I was so late coming home.

But home, Friday evening. Babyboy was better with a few doses of Amoxicillin and Ibuprofen. Babygirl seemed fine. Hubby and I were totally spent. We went to bed, again hoping for an uneventful night….

But no. Now it was Babygirl up intermittently thrashing around in pain, “It hurts! It hurts!” and so now both kids are on Amoxicillin.

Tonight? I am really, really hoping for a quiet night…… 


4 thoughts on “A Big Ol’ Sickfest”

  • Oh god that sounds horrible, I’m so sorry. I wish it were easier in our lives to take a day off when we need it because, as you said, clinical decision-making DOES suffer.
    Also, we gave up on sleep-training after our younger son became more verbal, I’m fine with ignoring crying, but I can’t ignore “mooommmmy, HELP ME!”

  • Holy shiz! This reminds me of when I had appendicitis(but didn’t know it) and my then two year old got sick for the first time with major gastro junk. I ended up stumbling into the ER…

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