Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tis The Season to Hoark Your Guts Out

Picture it. Christmas 1997.

Todd and I had been going out for six months. For the holiday I went home to Connecticut to see my family for Christmas Eve. During the day I babysat my niece Maggie (then three years old) and nephew Krystian (then 1.5 years old) during the day while my brother and sister-in-law ran a few last minute Christmas errands. They dropped off Maggie and Krys at my parents house and I watched them while Mom cooked the Christmas Eve dinner. I changed a few diapers on Krys in that time, wiped a nose or two, and of course hugged, kissed and cuddled the stuffing out of my niece and nephew. I was thrilled to be an aunt at Christmas. I was also thrilled to be going to Vermont the next morning to see my boyfriend for Christmas. The plan was to do Christmas day with his family, and then we’d ski for another day of the long weekend. Life was good.

I left for Vermont from my Uncle Joe’s house, where my insanely huge Polish family congregated for Christmas breakfast after church that morning. “Merry Christmas!” I called out as I put my jacket on before leaving Joe’s house. “I am going to Vermont to see my boyfriend now!” I cranked up the radio and headed north up interstate 91 as fast as the snowy conditions would allow. I arrived in Vermont, and was greeted with hugs, kisses, an “I really really missed you” and a beautiful ruby ring from my boyfriend. We sat down to a lovely Christmas dinner that his mom made. I was still a vegetarian then, and I sampled the non-meat options from the table. We sat around and spoke about what we are all thankful for, we toasted, and we began to dig in to dinner.

Then I felt it.

The quease in my stomach.

The sour taste in my mouth.

The sudden loss of appetite.

The need to just lie down flat for a moment.

I excused myself from the table with barely two words and made my way through the house to Todd’s old bedroom. Instead of the bedroom I stumbled into the bathroom, kicked the door shut, planted my face into the toilet and proceeded to get violently ill. I remained in the bathroom for the duration of Christmas dinner and I am sure that hearing me hoark my guts out completely killed everyone’s appetite at the table.

Puke Fest ‘97 continued well into the night. Of course the bathroom is right off the living room at my in-laws house. Of course they could hear every retch clear as day as they sat in the living room trying to watch a movie. Todd wiped my face and brushed the hair off my forehead. The room spun around me. I was sweaty and peeling off my clothes, only to shiver and blindly pull them back on again. I held onto the bathroom floor with all my remaining strength, praying that the house would stop moving for just a damn minute.

Around midnight Todd drove me to the emergency room. He patiently waited while I answered the barrage of questions from the nurse. Then I was checked into a small room and given something to settle my stomach, which I promptly threw up, so I was given it again, just to throw it up again. Finally I managed to feel the drowsy side effect of the drug. The nurses turned off the light in the room so I could rest. But then I’d deliriously scream Todd’s name. He came into the room and sat with me until I dozed off again, just to have to come in again when I started to scream his name again. My boyfriend sat in a pitch dark room for hours on end and held my hand as I slept. I have no recollection of any of this happening.

I was discharged from the hospital at an hour I can only describe as a million o’clock. Todd drove me home, and followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter. I was forbidden from drinking anything more than a sip of fluid, for fear that I would just throw it up again. I begged for the whole glass of water, but he only fed me a spoonful at a time. I swore at him, and probably called him a Nazi, yet he spoon fed me water despite my insults.

I managed to sleep, and to hold in more and more water. Todd ventured out the next day to rent a movie and to get me some Gatorade. He made some toast for me, and set me up on the couch. He left the toast on the ottoman. I dozed off without eating it. When Todd came home the toast was gone, and he asked me if I managed to keep it down. When I told him that I didn’t eat any of the toast, the dog began to lazily thump her tail on the floor.

By the end of the day, I was able to form a more coherent thought. I called home to see if any of my other family members were sick. It turned out that a stomach bug plowed its way through my family. My brother Kaz and his family were driving to Rochester, NY and both kids ended up sick in the car on the way. My brother Walter’s infant twins got it too, first one and then the other.

And somehow, after our glorious first Christmas, Todd still wanted to spend another eleven Christmases with me.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

I feel Todd's pain - that one has happened to me a time or three, most notably as we joyously prepared for a week without our kid. We drove to West Virginia to meet my parents, who were going to take him for a week, staying a night in a hotel before everybody went their separate ways...only to have my wife get violently ill during the night. I told my folks to go ahead and take our son so he wouldn't be upset, and we spent the afternoon in the ER - her getting an IV, and me watching the 49ers play the Jets on a 10-inch TV on a boom in her room.

Luckily, the hotel folks nicely let us stay another night, so we got a little rest and drove home the next day. But every time we pass that exit in WV, she still gets the shivers.

December 10, 2008 at 9:02 AM  
OpenID prayingtodarwin said...

Another eleven Christmases after that? Well THAT'S love! (BTW, nice Sophia Petrillo moment at the beginning :) )

December 10, 2008 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

That's how you know you have a keeper. He takes care of you in the worst hour and signs on for even more.

So far, no illnesses in our house yet *knocking the wood of my desk because if I don't, you know I'm going to end up sick as a dog for Christmas* but I'm sure the time will eventually come for this particular test.

December 10, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Awww, that's true love if they're willing to hold your hair when you get ill.

December 10, 2008 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger HockeyNut said...

What a keeper - but then you knew that anyway. :)

December 11, 2008 at 4:34 PM  

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