In spite of my insistence on eating together as a family, I don’t always succeed in having everyone eat the same meal. For instance, 48 hours ago, it seemed totally reasonable to let Maya eat almost a pint of cherry tomatoes for dinner. Hey, at least they’re nutritious. But alas, malicious rhymes with nutritious. Oh, the foreshadowing I missed.
So 24 hours ago, when I had fed the family early, poured a generous glass of Whiskey and settled down with my wife to watch the Superbowl, the cherry tomatoes made their wrath known. Maya had started to complain that she had a tummy ache but all in all had no fever, no lethargy and there was certainly no decline in noise. If I was to worry about every stomach ache she got, it would be like when we first had Milo and I thought a night out was best spent in the Emergency ward. And for the last couple of days she’s had it in her head that being sick might be fun and she’s been carrying a bucket about the house, just in case. But about 10 minutes before kick off, she dashed to the bathroom and within seconds began screaming.
As I dashed for the bathroom, I was praying that the emergency trauma first aid I learned in the army would be sufficient to the situation since nothing short of a gut wound should be producing the reaction I was running towards. Crashing into the bathroom, the triage was very straight forward. Maya stood in front of the toilet, pants around her ankle, making a combination scream-sob that would have put Florence Nightingale’s nerves on edge. The toilet was filled with material that was once tomatoes but had since been fermenting in a closed, oxygen deprived system. Now anyone with any experience with diarrhea knows enough to stay sitting even after the first violent wave has passed. Not so Maya. Nor would she accept or even acknowledge my gastronomic folklore. She just kept up the scream-sob and added some incoherent babbling.
As I heard Kelly Clarkson belting out the National anthem, I pushed her back onto the toilet and quickly explained runny poop best practices. Now, I must digress to explain that I, like all of us descended from my paternal grandmother, am a hypochondriac. I tend to specialize in the heart disease symptoms that have killed all of the men in my line, while my sister likes to broaden her scope out to nasty tropical syndromes, but the result is that I can read bodily excrement with the accuracy of a medieval Arabian doctor. (that’s pretty good, if you aren’t aware) I can also characterize pain into enough sub-types to fill a decent medical journal, but that’s besides the point. So I was able to explain to Maya, with what I felt was sufficient empathy that while her poop was runny, it had none of the characteristics of e-coli ridden excrement nor did she have a fever which may have pointed to an enteric bug like c-dificile. So, Daddy was going back to the football game and she should just hang in there until she had gone 5 minutes without passing anything else.
Perhaps not empathetic enough. For the whole first quarter, it was run to the TV, then run to the bathroom. Provide moral support, provide sage advice on wiping technique, scrub my hands, disinfect and run back for a sip of sweet whiskey. Repeat… and repeat again… Mercifully, by the end of the first half, the bathroom trips had almost run out. She snuggled up with Mom and fell blissfully asleep.
So the game finally ended in the same way it had begun for me. In fact in the way that all professional sporting events I watch do. The team that I had randomly chosen to support at the beginning of the game had lost. Shit at the start and shit at the end. That’s the way it goes.