Saturday, November 10, 2007

our first brush with cooties

Last year's cold and flu season was pretty brutal to I've been trying to gear myself up after a long and healthy summer. Last week we had a small taste. Maria, John, and I had a bit of cough/sore throat, and my cough settled in my chest where it has wrecked havoc with my asthma for days now.

Today Maria, Jack, and I went to Hobby Lobby because Maria had some allowance and tooth fairy money to burn. Jack had woken up twice the night before for undetermined reasons, but he seemed fine by morning. He started doing this little coughing thing while we were shopping, but nothing too dramatic. Then, while we were in the check out line....he blew chunks of curdled milk everywhere. It was all very sudden. He just kind of gave a little cough and up it came. I stood there helplessly, my hands bowled under his chin trying to contain it all (being a nurse gives me a high tolerance for wading in body fluids). On a burst of brilliance, I barked at Maria to get a diaper out of my bag and open it up. She did, and reluctantly held it under my hands while I emptied the contents into the diaper and wrapped it up. That saved the floor, but Jack was still hit pretty hard. I left Maria to pay for her purchases and moved Jack out to the car. I striped his messy shirt and wiped him down, thankful for the unusually warm day. On a previous burst of brilliance, I had stashed several empty walmart sacks in my trunk and used these to hold Jack's shirt and the wipes.

On the drive home, I felt a little irritated that no one in the vicinity had offered to help or even a kind word. But then I realized that I had done the same in a very similar situation. What is it about other people's sudden catastrophe that freezes us to the spot sometimes? For some, it may have just been repulsion at approaching the puke, but not for everyone...not for me. Somehow when something like that happens right in front of me, my first reaction is to feel like the person would resent my interference for some reason. That's rarely the case of course, and times when I have stepped in to help someone they have always been why do we still hesitate to jump in and help others?

Jack, anyway, seems fine now. Once home, he had a cautionary lunch of saltines and water, took a long nap, and hasn't thrown up since. When I was changing his diaper and finishing his clean-up at home, he said, "Hobby Wobby". I said, "Yes, did you throw up in Hobby Lobby?" And realizing that he didn't really know what that meant, I acted it out for him, much to his amusement. He got it. He nodded seriously and said, "Yes, it got spilled."


mysteryhistorymom said...

What a day! I'm glad Jack is feeling better. I completely understand about your feelings. It's kind of like a car accident, people just don't know what role they play. Some people stop at the scene of the accident and others feel like it is none of their business so they look the other way. I am so thankful for those people that step in to lend a hand. They are kind of like angels on earth.:-) Lori

mel said...

I know...after feeling irritated, I remembered an almost identical situation, a woman with a puking toddler in the doctor's office. At first I was just kind of paralyzed, and then realized I should be helping, and then felt embarassed that I didnt' jump up right away to help so I continued to do nothing instead. Sane, right? lol

Kelly said...

Bless his heart! I hope he's doing all better. My son used to puke like that, no warning, just a cough and up it comes. Hard to predict for sure! LOL!

I'm a "help the mom with the puking kid" kind of person - sometimes to a stupid degree. I helped a mom in Church with her actively vomiting child one time and got covered in vomit ... and my family and I all got rotavirus the following week or so! What a nightmare. [But I'd do the same again ... crazy is me. :) ]

I wish I'd been there to help you though - I think it is a shame that nobody offered to help at all!

Despite your experience in the doctor's office, I think you are also a "help the mom with the puking child" kind of person. I probably wouldn't have stepped in at the doctor's office because I would have assumed there were trained professionals that would come help at that point!