Monday, May 07, 2007


For a variety of reasons, last week was a trying one here in St Charles…and I blame liquid in every case.

Liquid From My Daughter’s Mouth

I awoke Monday morning, showered and then lifted Norah from her crib to supply her breakfast bottle. She downed about half of the eight ounces offered and promptly expelled each of the consumed ounces right back at me. After a quick sopping up and removal of soaked items of clothing, she was happy and seemed interested in the remaining 4 ounces in the bottle. So I let her have it. She finished and then crawled over to her toy shelf where she again spewed all fluid from her poor stomach. Within seconds, she was a smiling child sitting in a pool of white.

Luckily, we already had an appointment with the doctor in the afternoon for her nine-month check-up. So, as I went off to work for the morning, Moonshot continued her attempts to trick Norah’s body into accepting nourishment of any kind. She happily consumed…then just as happily rejected. Norah’s first illness was, while disgusting, being handled with remarkable pleasantry.

The doctor said that she had seen many cases of this virus making the rounds. We would spend a few days with the fluid shooting from the mouth…then we would spend a few days with the fluid shooting from the other end. We were to pay special attention to hydration and were given several methods for testing Norah’s moisture content. We were also to be wary of the latter half of this disease since it was during that process that it could spread. Hand washing and disinfecting was to be a priority if we had any chance of escaping the same fate as our daughter.

I didn’t have high hopes. Don’t get me wrong…we’re pretty clean people. But I have what I feel is a fairly realistic appreciation for just how much poo is in my environment. Sure, we’re not medieval city dwellers wallowing in our own filth, but the clean, sterile environment that we like to pretend we inhabit…is a fairy tale. I stood in the doctor’s office thinking about the episode of the Mythbusters in which they attempted to see if a toothbrush kept in the bathroom would get fecal matter on it. At the end of the experiment the answer was, of course, yes. But more so, even the control group kept “safely” in the kitchen was contaminated. It’s everywhere. And for the next few days in our home…it would be virus-laden as well.

Tuesday continued with little or no food making its way into Norah. Her multiple chins disappeared and we had to tighten the safety belts on her high chair in order to secure this suddenly skinny child. But her spirits, aside from an occasional moment of self-pity expressed in squirmy moans, remained high.

Liquid From My Daughter's Rear

It was on Wednesday that the evil virus put its escape plan into action. By enflaming Norah’s intestines, it ensured that she would be unable to filter out the fluid used in the digestion process, thus creating its own soupy escape pod that was far more likely to come in contact with another victim. Clever little virus.

We took this as a personal attack.

And so it was that our home became a battlefield. The virus launched volley after volley of mortar rounds…explosions of such volume they made me jump on more than one occasion. Outfits were lost in the struggle, cut off Norah rather than risk pulling them over her head. Bath time because perilous business: Lather, Rinse, Contaminate, Evacuate, Scrub, Refill, Repeat. Our hands became pruny brillo pads from excessive washing. And our brave, little daughter lost her smile amidst the brutal fighting.

Slowly, her appetite returned and the diapers returned to normal. By Sunday, we had our Little Lutine back. She’s crawling happily and eating almost as much as she did pre-illness. Her little immune system has overcome its first major skirmish and she should be proud of how it handled itself. And, as I type this on Monday…neither Moonshot nor I have shown signs that the virus made the leap. I blame 1 part awesome immune systems, 1 part strategic cleanliness, and 1 part blind luck.

No Liquid in the Faucet

On Friday morning, Moonshot called me at work. “They wouldn’t shut off our water for being a couple days late, would they?” We ran out of checks last week and pushed a few bills further than we should have while we waited for a new box to arrive. I told her I was pretty sure they wouldn’t. I had her check the basement just to make sure there was no lake down there that could explain our empty pipes. When the basement proved dry, we called the water folks and discovered that the road construction over on Elm Street had hit a water main and that they hoped to have water back on later in the day.

“How,” my wife asked, “am I supposed to clean up diarrhea with no water?”

Jugs of frozen water were pulled from the freezer and general preparations were made to deal with sanitization sans faucet. Luckily, the water was returned by noon or so and the issue faded into the background as simply another brick in the wall of a frustrating week.

Liquid From the Sky

To better set the mood for the mental weight we labored under last week, it feels significant to mention we didn’t see the sun through all of this. Clouds rolled in on Monday and stayed until Saturday. Drizzle and downpours alternated all week and downed our already damped spirits. Tuesday even found some small bit of that rain in the unfinished half of our basement…soaking into our Halloween decorations and reminding me that I was supposed to clean the gutters last month.

Quarantined due to sickness, we were denied even the sunlight that could have streamed through the windows to cheer us. So we sat in the house and nursed Norah. I, at least, was offered the daily escape of work, but my wife was granted no such pardon. So each night I would offer to let Moonshot go out…anywhere…but my exhausted wife would decline, opting instead to just prop her feet up and relax for a while. By Friday, she had not left the house all week. She couldn’t take Norah among people due to the clever virus. She couldn’t take her normal walks nor even sit out on the back patio due to rain. On Friday evening, her birthday, she finally cracked. In a storm of loud, foot-stomping, door-slamming frustration she left to get some groceries and pick up a meal from a restaurant. I, for my part, did my best to comfort the still sick Norah while pondering how I could be failing so completely to deliver a happy birthday to my wife. Moonshot returned in a better mood, embarrassed at her loss of control…I could only answer honestly that I was shocked she held out all week.

Liquid on the heart

Behind the scenes in all of the damp grayness of the week, hovers my Aunt Gimpy’s health. I’ve mentioned on this site before that her body is in rough shape and it seems like it just keeps getting worse. I’ll not go into her entire medical history, but they are currently having grave difficulties with her heart and the massive amounts of fluids that have accumulated there. I, and the rest of my family, have our ears turned toward Kansas City awaiting news. Encouraging thoughts are welcome.


In short, there was much ado about liquid last week and we could have happily done without every one of the issues listed above. But aside from my Aunt, it seems we’ve come out on the other side of it. The sun is shining, a healthy and happy Norah smiled and waved to me as I left for work. And Moonshot ended up having a good weekend. We were even able to go play some Bunco on Saturday night with the O’Fallon Crew.

Hmm, I’m trying to find a way to end this post with an insightful comment about liquid-based problems and evaporation or maybe something poetic about the water cycle, but all I can think of is Little Orphan Annie. And I’m not closing with a musical number. Since my lunch break is over…it doesn’t look like I’ll get my clever wrap-up. Ah well…you, my fine reader, deserve better than a bad water analogy anyway.

Here’s hoping a dry week.


Elsa said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who occasionally runs out of checks at bill time.

I'm glad things started looking up by the end of the week.

JET said...

I am surprised you guys use checks, you both seem like an online bill pay type people.
The rain was real nice for my 1/2 mowed back yard that I had to quit last Monday due to darkness. so 1/2 my yard went un-mowed for over 2 weeks, it was about a foot 1/2 high, which fit in nicely with some of my neighbors!

Mark said...

Ouch! So sorry the Lutine had to go through that, but glad it looks like her parents dodged it.

My aunt used to empty an entire can of Lysol in the house every time my brother and I came over. Not because we were dirty or known for carrying disease, but because she had an 8-5 job and three daughters. Having any of them miss school would throw a major monkey wrench in the works.

Of course, they were much more likely to get sick from people at school, not blood relatives, but her home was the only place she could control, so she did what she could.

Go paranoia! Sometimes it just works!

Simon said...

You're a strong man for being able to avoid any references to "Nightmare Near Elm Street", or other really bad clichés.

Like Monty Python: "Dennis! There's some lovely filth down 'ere!"

We've never had to resort to cutting clothes off one of the boys, but there have been many times where we've bid farewell to an especially soiled item or outfit. Sort of along the lines of, "Screw that, I'm not cleaning it."

Reminds me of the time I was changing a diaper at 2 AM and was bequeathed a liquid brown rainbow all over my hand and change table and laundry basket... Good times!

hokey said...

I wish I could say that my household was as fortunate as yours. About a week and a half ago all three of us were hit with the bug going around. It's not pretty. Our daughter Sarah (2 y.o.) would throw up and then literally 10 seconds later just be talking about and singing and running around. I don't know how they do it.

Speaking of Lysol, I went around the house with lysol wipes and a can of aerosol lysol and we still managed to pass it around. Crafty little bug.

Oh well, glad your house didn't get hit any worse than you did!

Émilie B. said...

I was reading this, thinking you have a way with writing, and then you go mentioning you've jotted this down during your lunch-break!

Seriously though, good for Norah if she was able to keep her morale up (and Moonshot, too! I expect Norah's good mood would help with that), but it's too bad she had to go through this. We all had the stomach flu after the holidays - I had a real bad case and was still breast-feeding, too - but, by some miracle, Xavier dodged it, and I was soooo glad for that. Sickness aside, I don't think I was psychologically ready for that yet. Norah and her parents are tough!

Good thoughts are going to your aunt's health.

PS. I was surprised to read you guys down south would have frozen water jugs to hand. We have so much water here in Qc, and free, that we waste too much in general, and the concept of freezing water for keeping... it's strange, from where I'm standing (though there's certainly a good reason for doing it... just not sure what. Reserves?).

Moksha Gren said...

Elsa - Oh I'm pretty sure we could replicate just about any silly mistake you can make.

Jet - We have now, due to this crisis, set up online bill pay. So, we're now stocked with a fresh box of checks and online capability. An dI have no idea why we didn't sooner. You're all rights we should have been on this technology years ago. I guess we just have high inertia.

Mark - Typically, we avoid the attempt to create a sterile environment. We're fan sof the idea that a nice healthy does of bacteria leads to a stronger immune system. We clean, don't get me wrong...but we just don't worry too much about spraying things down with Lysol or get too upset when we catch Norah chewing on a dog toy. So, the sterilazation craze last week was a bit difficult given our natural propensity to trust our immune systems a bit more than average.

Si - Oddly, I don't tend to think of Freddy in realtion to the Elm Street two blocks away. However, in the town where I grew up, Elm Street was an off-shoot of Sesame Street. Tell me that doesnt bring some fun images to mind...

Thanks for the vivid imagery there. Though the Mars Corporation woudl be disturbed by this..your rainbow has me thinking about Skittles.

Waste: The Rainbow

Hokey - Sorry to hear your family got socked by this one. It is amazing though, how resiliant kids are on these things. Just too busy to mope about puking, I guess.

Emilie - There was a line or two that I had constructed in the shower or during the commute to work...but for the most part it was just rambling. Hell, I couldn't even come up with a good ending. Trust me...I write much slower when I'm trying to craft something. But, thank you for the complement.

As for the mysterious frozen's to make our top loader freezer more efficient. We clean out our old milk jugs and freeze water in them to maximize our freezer and give our food a longer safety net when the power goes out (which happens far too often). Plus..those jugs come in handy from time to time.

Simon said...

I had guessed that about the water jugs, having heard that about making top-load freezers more economical. Ours is mostly empty, and second hand beater to boot, so I daren't guess how much power it wastes.

I was also surprised to hear that you write cheques, er, checks. Whatever. It's a rare occasion that causes me to break out my own cheque-book, and it's normally when Amy goes off to a candle / stamp / sex-toy party and bats her eyelashes at me, turns on her feminine wiles and politely asks for a blank signed one.

We long ago gave up on any sort of sterile environment, subscribing to your own thoughts about immune systems and the like. Heck, as long as we can see a higher ratio of green carpet versus white dog hair in the living room, we're ahead of the game.

mouse said...

Poor Moonshot. She has a childhood history of not having a good time on her birthday. She had the flu on both her 9th and 10th b-days, as I recall. I think there was another birthday of hers when Mom was at night school and Dad was at work and there just wan't an opportunity to have cake and candles or anything (we did have a little family party the following weekend, if I remember right.) I still feel bad about these occaisions, although I was the baby of the family and not really able to do anything about it in any case.
Put me in the online bill pay camp too (well, ok, Freddy actually does the bill paying, but I bring home 1/2 the money!). We calculated that the few dollars it costs per month is easily offset by having to buy less stamps, and it takes way less time.

Mark said...

Yeah, Mokker, my parents never went for that douse the house in disinfectant approach, either. Nor do we.

Simon, I was trying to think of a name for the rock band that Josh, Alvis, and I are going to form, and thanks to your comment, I now have it:

Candle Stamp Sex-Toy


Mike said...

Great story! What a week.

Hope your daughter gets better soon.

Alvis said...

Words I never hoped to see in a blog, "Liquid From My Daughter's Rear." Now my life is complete, or something...

Can I be lead singer? I can't play any instruments, anyway. (I can't sing, anyway...either.)

Sorry to read about your misfortunes. Allen had a some kind of bug a couple of weeks ago. He yacked a few times, but he was fine by the next day. Semi-digested apples are not nearly as gross as some things. Just thought you would want to know for future reference.