Erin and Adrian Go to Virus Town

05/31/2010 By Shawn Burns

The moon rose over the small family home, blessing the inhabitants with its wishes for good fortune and happiness. The inhabitants gave it the finger.

Adrian began having a little…digestive…trouble on Thursday. Along with this he developed a mild fever. It had been about a week since his last round of shots and the doctor had warned that a fever was possible even a week later, so we weren’t really concerned.

On Saturday night I had a dream that someone was barfing and Lo! What foresight! Because as I awoke from my prescient vision in the dead of night there was Adrian in his crib revealing that he swallows mushroom pieces whole despite having seven teeth of his very own now.

Afterward, he settled down and was able to sleep again. He continued to have…digestive…trouble throughout the day on Sunday but he could keep milk down and ate a little solid food, though only a little.

Erin fared worse, and her plight clued us to our mistaken assumption: Adrian had not been fevered from his shots, but rather had contracted some toddler-dropping stomach bug toward the end of the week and was working through it. Erin’s adventure was only beginning, though.

When Erin is sick she is small. She shrinks to actual size and it is only when she is still that I realize how much space her personality takes up. She is four fifths spirit and energy. I hate seeing how small her body really is, a normal three year old instead of a force of nature.

My tiny Erin spent all afternoon and evening revealing that she swallows pieces of cheese whole despite having twenty-two teeth of her very own now.

She couldn’t keep juice, water, or Pedialyte down and she couldn’t even think about food. Emily sat with her, held her hair back when it needed to be back, ran baths and carried her around like the baby she had suddenly become.

Dehydration became a worry, and it was only at 10pm that Erin’s body began to accept even minimal fluids, in the form of Pedialyte freezer pops and eventually sips of water.

Emily was awake with her throughout the night, dosing our little girl with small amounts of water and trying to explain to the now-thirsty toddler why she couldn’t chug the water bottle like she so desperately wanted to.

I remained on Adrian duty, settling him when he woke, discomfited with more stomach gurgling, and waking up with him at 5:30, pulling him into the spare bed with me to get him to fall back to sleep for a little while. He still eats only sparingly.

Emily and I deal with our impending illnesses (because we know we will be the next victims of our viral little friend) in completely opposite ways. Knowing that I won’t be able to keep anything down in the very near future I get incredibly thirsty and voracious. I eat and drink everything in sight, as though my body is stocking up on fluids and calories to get through the illness. Emily, on the other hand, stops eating and drinking, knowing that she’s just going to have to watch it go to waste if she tries. This just proves the adage: opposites in barfing attract.

This morning Erin and Adrian both seem to be recovering. Erin is seven feet tall again and Adrian is back to smashing toys against the wall. Emily is exhausted, and preparing for the worst and thanking, though wretchedly, whoever is responsible for the illness coming on a long weekend rather than in the middle of the work week. I’m not sure if she’s feeling the bug hitting yet, but she’d better not be.

Because I think I’m about to spend the day revealing that I eat blueberries who despite having twenty-six teeth of my very own now.