Go here for parts One, Two and Three.
We pick up the story with Mom calling at 3 AM to tell me Emma has been getting sick every 15 minutes for a few hours.
Saturday, May 5th, 3:15 AM
I’ve gotten myself ready. I’m awake for the most part and in shock.
And the question that keeps running through my mind with ferocity is, “Why in the middle of the night? why not during the day, after I’ve slept and recovered from this insane day?”
I tell you the truth, it sounds funny now but it was really horrific at this time of day. You see I hate everyone at 3 AM. When I was a youth pastor – that is after my first gig – I wrote it in my contract I would not do lock-ins. I don’t like hating people. And at 3 AM, I get crazy. Not even God escapes my irrational fury.
Plus, I like to sleep.
Now I have to wake up Knox. This is surprisingly easy. I grab him a change of clothes and we get in the van.
“Daddy, where are all the cars?”
“In their respective garages, buddy.”
The fog was thick and we were indeed virtually alone until we merged onto the interstate. This is the same interstate we were on earlier. No longer is it a parking lot. We are traveling in a different direction. And Knox is no longer sick. In fact, he is wide-eyed. This is really an adventure for him. He cannot stop smiling and asking questions about the fog and our inability to get away from it.
Finally, he just declares it “creepy.”
We pull up to my parents. The street is dark – the house darker. But my mom is waiting and she ushers us both upstairs. Emma looks terrible. Just like Knox did about 15 hours earlier.
A suppository always works for Emma so I decide to use one.
I know what you are thinking but you have to understand we have had to admit Emma twice to stave off dehydration. And I’ve already been to the ER once in the past 12 hours. This madness has got to stop.
The suppository has been, errr, administered. Knox is on a pallet at the foot of the bed Emma and I are in.
Now, we wait.
No change at all. This virus is having it’s way with her just as it did with Knox. Every 15 minutes a nightmare.
I’m having to come to grips with the fact this looks exactly like what happened with Knox. And the result is going to be the same. I call the ER at Children’s. The doc I get tells me the exact opposite of what I was told by the pediatrician earlier in the day.
Dear Doctors, Can y’all get on the same page, here? OK, thanks!
The sun is up. Lights creeps through the blinds. For some reason this brings relief and resolve. It’s around this time, I realize I feel fine. No nausea and no achey joints. Just worry over Emma.
I’m going with my gut. I let my mom know, Emma and I are headed back to the ER.
So I dress my beautiful little girl, pick her up and carry her down to the van. Bowl in hand.
She also gets sick on the way to the ER. The drive is twice as long as when I took Knox. But she does well. She sleeps most of the time.
I should probably admit that if there had been no free valet parking at the ER I would not have been as ready to go. Feels good to admit that.
We walk in with a couple of nurses who I assume will be starting their 7 AM shift. No one is waiting in the waiting room. We go back at once and are helped by the doctor who I talked with on the phone. He takes vitals and is nothing but kind to Emma and myself.
We are in a private room and in walks a nurse – one of the nurses who helped us yesterday. She wonders what is going and realizes it is a different kid.
“It spread, huh?”
I explain that she reminded me too much of what I saw in Knox. And she responded by telling me they would take care of it.
They may think I’m insane but they did not say it to my face.
I am now famous throughout the ER for being the Dad to bring in two kids in two days while mom is on vacation. They know she doesn’t know. There is often 3 to 5 people in our room – nurses, doctors – some helping, some just talking and hanging out.
I’m kinda one of them now. I mean, I know where the bathroom is, how the TV works and where the Pharmacy is. I belong.
Thankfully they give Emma some Zofran. It works like magic. I make a note to invest in Zofran and hoard supplies of it.
They finally let me know I made a good decision in bringing her in. She was “very dry” according to the awesome young lady Doctor.
She does not do quite as well as Knox with the IV but once it’s in, she goes right to sleep.
I’m glad to see Emma already doing better. There is much more color in her face after an hour of fluids. But now I’m wondering how Bethany is.
She sends me a text –
“How are y’all?”
“We are doing good. How are you?”
“Woke up feeling normal!!! really hope that continues. So glad y’all are better.”
“I feel totally normal also. I’ll call you after I get the other two and get home.”
Phew. I don’t like lying to her and leaving out the fact I am in the ER for the second time in 24 hours but she is about to have an epic day at the beach with two of her best friends. She deserves this.
The truth can wait.
“Ummm, can we get some red? And maybe some eggs benedict?”
She barely wakes up to drink a little every 5 minutes or so.
Doc says she is looking good, so we are free to go. I make all the calls necessary letting the in-laws and my folks know we are leaving the hospital soon. My mom says she will have the boys ready when we get there.
I start calculating – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – OK, all of us have had it now…
We pick up the boys, thank my parents for the heroic help, and head home.
Sat. 12 PM – Sun. 6 PM
It was pretty much sleep, sleep, Phineus and Ferb, Spider-man cartoons and more sleep. There was one point not long before bed time where Emma said her tunny hurt a little. So I quickly called my father-in-law who lives around the corner and got him to run down to the Pharmacy and pick up a prescription for Zofran. He made it just as they were closing, like a hero. I was stoked to see this was a drinkable version and she was feeling better within minutes.
Wait, I need to back up.
Sunday 5 PM
Bethany is about an hour from home. And so I decide to tell her the whole story before she gets home. She didn’t even know Emma had gotten sick. So I started by telling her that because I didn’t want her to worry about her getting sick. She can relax knowing we’ve all had the disease now and lived to tell.
She was thankful but could not believe it.
And to be honest, I lived through the whole thing and I still have trouble believing it.
So crazy! I have to admit, I got excited every time I saw the next post of this story, and have loved reading them! What a crazy adventure you had! So glad everyone is okay.
You are a very good dad and husband. May your tribe increase.-René
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I also waited in anticipation every day for the next segment of the saga. What an exhausing weekend and you are a real trooper! Your kids are lucky to have a dad like you and your wife is also blessed. How wonderful you so unselfishly let her have her weekend! Awesome story and thanks for making my last 4 days more interesting! Glad you're all healthy now.-Beth
So as I read these I realized that Friday night as I tried to bring you into the political surrealism of my evening, you were just beginning your time in hell. I was sitting there thinking "what the heck?, all I get is some casual shovel comment". Remind me sometime to fill you in. Glad you guys survived and thanks for the wonderful re-tellingHank
Wow. Nicely done, superdad. I think my hubby would have broken down at the word 'suppository'.
Matt, we just went through the same sickness, we call it "the Dragon" and it is not done with us quite yet. It started May 1st with Levi, 16 months and went to Abbi, 9 years old, then to Anna, 11 year old, to Stacey then me. But wait! My parents flew in spent on night then went on to Nashville and came back 2 days later and they were sick ,mom then Dad. This last week Stacey, the kids, Stacey's Aunt, cousin and her cousin's 10 month old all went to the beach together. You guessed it the 10 month old got it then Stacey's cousin, then the Aunt and now that they are back husbands and siblings are being attacked by the dragon. So glad to have it out of my house. I was getting tired of cleaning up and having to find bowls for everyone.