Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Earn My Metal of Motherhood Honor


I have traversed the depths of Hell.

Today, I had the most disturbing and traumatic experience of my life. It has psychologically wounded me beyond repair and I am certain that I will never be the same.

This narrative begins at a small vet's office in northern Chamblee. Our dog, Sammy, has been acting oddly. He has not been his usual, playful self; instead, trudging about with a melancholy expression. We thought that he was just sad because we had wounded his pride on Saturday, taking him to the groomer to be shaved. The groomer actually reported that she could not finish Sammy because any time she got near his behind, he got very aggressive. Sammy is always aggressive with groomers and I imagine that exposing one's anus to the enemy is a pretty vulnerable position, so I figured he was just being his usual self. But as the days continued, he showed other signs- whining, not jumping up onto the couch or bed like normal, snapping at us- to indicate that something was wrong. Last night, when he came in from his evening walk, he seemed to be in pain as he slithered to the ground and laid there shaking and whining. This morning I was able to schedule him at a low-cost emergency vet clinic- WellPet Humane in Chamblee, GA. Cheapest place in Atlanta; folks come from all across the city to get their pets looked at here. The vet examined him and ruled out a broken bone or any problem with his legs- quite a relief! I would feel such wrenching pity if Sammy had to have a leg amputated or cruise around with a little wheel cart supporting his lower body! The problem was identified as pain in his back. She prescribed medications for pain and inflammation and instructed me to keep him on strict bed-rest. No jumping, walking, prancing, heavy-lifting or operating construction machinery. If it is a muscle problem, it should improve. If not, it's a disc problem and we'll have to go back for x-rays. Poor little guy! Natalie behaved decently at the vet's, thanks to a pouch of yogurt and a few pretzels.

We packed up and headed home. I drove the back roads instead of the interstate to stop at a grocery store. After driving farther, I hear Natalie throw up. The noise continues for a while. I am suddenly in a state of deep alarm. We're almost home, and I figure that we can make it there and then I can clean her up. But then, after the retching ended, it remained oddly quiet. I expected screaming and tears. Terrified that she was choking, I immediately pulled into a neighborhood and run around to see Natalie. She was sitting in her carseat, alert and content, picking out bits of regurgitated food and putting it in her mouth. Completely covering her from head to toes was approximately 7 gallons of vomit. Perhaps it was slightly less than that,  but the amount was staggering. I had to act fast, I could not allow her to put another particle in her mouth. So I ripped off her buckles, pulled her out, (held my breath as vomit sloshed off of her and onto the carseat,) ripped off her clothes, pulled the blanket from underneath Sammy and began to wipe every part of Natalie, ran out of clean areas of the blanket, turned her clothing inside out and continued to wipe, saturated the clothing, pulled out the wipes from the trunk, all while Natalie dangled curiously by the arm. I finally ran out of wipes and had to admit that I could do nothing else until we reached home. I had vomit-covered-raiment scattered about me on the curb. A school bus approached and I notice the parents waiting at the corner across the road. My disgust is now compounded with embarrassment as well as pity for the disgust that I am certainly causing others. Natalie, in nothing but a half-wet onesie, cries as I strap her back into her carseat, probably having found the entire event quite entertaining. I gather the debris and search for a container to carry it home. I might have found a plastic bag in the emergency car kit- come to think of it, I had more wipes in there too!- but I felt strongly compelled to get home as fast as humanly possible, so I gathered it up and set in on a piece of paper in the pack seat. I sped home, settling on a half-down window after balancing my need to breath with my concern for my half-naked daughter on a cold winter day. Words cannot describe the stench. I expect I shall live my life never knowing it's equal.

I arrived home and whisked Natalie into the bath, where I undressed her, set her clothing aside to be burned, and turned on the shower. She didn't like it, but I had to rinse away all of the puke bits that her clothing had shed as I undressed her. Finally, the tub was clear and I ran some bath water. I washed her thoroughly, brushed her teeth and finally took a second to breath. She was clean, contentedly playing in the water. I took the calm moment to text Micah about the incident. Cue: Massive Diarrhea. I look up, and the bathwater is clouded with defecation. I plunge my hand in to immediately unplug the tub- forgetting my phone is in my hand and drenching it. I tear all the bathtoys away from Natalie, throwing them in the sink. I rip up the textured bath mat, now with chunks of poop sticking to it. I stare at my now poo-covered baby in the poo-covered tub and have a moment of panic before remembering the shower. On goes the shower! Natalie begins to cry. I try earnestly to rinse away the poo from Natalie and the tub, afraid that she will take interest in any remnants. I soap her again. As soon as she is rinsed, I whisk her out of the tub and get her into her pajamas and, thank heavens, she agreed to take a nap.

This gave me the time I needed to collect the items from the car, start a load of laundry and cry. I left the tub, mat and bathtoys for Micah.

I had to remove the carseat's liner and scrub the plastic base to get it out of all the crevices. I could never have imagined such pervasive, evil vomit! It was the most horrific thing I have ever experienced. The smell was and is so disgusting that I think we may need a new car.


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