Last Thursday we were struck by one of those terrible stomach bugs that takes no prisoners. The only saving grace was that we didn’t all get it at once but it staggered itself over the course of several days.
Thursday morning started off wonderfully. My sister-in-law and nieces came to visit and it felt like a holiday to have an adult to talk to and to entertain the children while I finished baking my banana bread. But the signs were already there if I could only have read them. Poor Anthony threw up once while they were here and then once right after they left; but other than a little listlessness—sitting on Auntie Pattie’s lap for half an hour is not really like him—he seemed fine, running and playing. But as the afternoon wore on it became clear that he had a stomach bug as he began to vomit profusely every time I tried to nurse him.
Fortunately the bug was short lived. Anthony was back to his normal self by Friday morning so we went grocery shopping and all seemed well except that suddenly at dinnertime Bella wasn’t hungry and wanted to go lie down in bed and I suddenly realized she hadn’t eaten much that day. Oh I knew that was a bad sign and fully expected where it was going to lead. At bedtime she became violently ill all over the laundry room floor and then proceeded to vomit every twenty to thirty minutes until about 1 am. By that time Dom and I were both exhausted and poor Bella was sobbing miserably and desperate for sleep. We put her on a pallet on the floor by my bed and crawled into bed ourselves.
Just a few short hours of sleep were granted, however. At 4:30 Saturday morning Sophie woke us up vomiting. I was exhausted and could hardly stay awake to care for her so poor Dom had to bear the brunt of it. I tried to get up every time she was sick but had to crawl back to bed in between to try to catch more sleep. But Sophie didn’t get it nearly as bad as Bella or even Anthony. She was sick until about 8:30 or so and then seemed to feel fine and ran outside to play with Ben. Ben threw up once midmorning but after that he too seemed fine except that he had diarrhea for the next couple of days.
By Saturday night everyone seemed to feel better but poor Bella, who had spent the entire day on the couch and had eaten almost nothing. On Sunday morning, however, she seemed fine except that she was a little afraid to eat (the poor thing had never vomited in her life before this and was very traumatized by the whole experience.) and everyone else seemed fine so we went to Mass and then came home for our usual pancake brunch. I spent the rest of the day feeling listless; but figured that was due to the lack of sleep Friday night plus the usual pregnancy exhaustion and nausea. On Monday Dom went to work but came home feeling awful and didn’t even eat dinner. He stayed home from work on Tuesday and we both spent the day dragging ourselves about only when the children demanded our attention. Tuesday night I was violently ill at bedtime but I couldn’t tell if it was the stomach bug or pregnancy related nausea.
On Wednesday morning I felt weak and feeble. But after a sound breakfast—hot tea with cream and a toasted whole wheat bagel with lox and cream cheese—I felt quite human again. I roused myself to make chicken stock, which I’d been meaning to do for more than a week. I also caught up on laundry from the weekend’s sick fest. And then I made soup for dinner with the homemade stock and put the kids to bed by myself since Dom was going to the Red Sox game with a bunch of people from work. I did leave the sink full of dirty dishes, though. Even Dom wouldn’t have had enough energy to deal with making dinner, putting four kids to bed and then do dishes.
On Thursday we went grocery shopping, which usually wipes me out. Thursday afternoon found me full of energy and helping Bella make maps of the continents and fetching finger paints for Sophie and Ben and then puzzles. Just last week I’d have said no to the paints and puzzles because I’d have been too tired to get of the couch to fetch them off the shelves and supervise the inevitable mess and cleanup. Friday I baked bread and then vacuumed and cleaned the kitchen and dining room floors and made meatloaf and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner.
It’s like after I was so sick on Tuesday a switch was thrown and suddenly the nausea and exhaustion are almost completely vanished. Suddenly the acedia is gone and I care about cooking and cleaning and activities with the kids. I have energy to do more than one thing where before I might have managed to do laundry or bake bread or make meatloaf but not all in the same day. So was it acedia at all? Is it acedia when you can trace back numbness and not caring to a physical debility? In retrospect I wonder if I hadn’t been fighting the stomach flue since Friday and the extreme lethargy I was feeling wasn’t that instead of pregnancy. Or that on top of pregnancy. Now I feel I can conquer the world. Oh I do hope this feeling lasts.