"I've never known ANYBODY to cough until they puke..." says Michael.
"...until you met me" I finish (because I'm always finishing sentences; I'm impatient).
Apparently Mother Nature is totally ticked off at my family this year (so sorry about all those banana peels I threw out the car window...and for hexing you for all of the snow...and for using too many plastic water bottles...) so she dropped a pollen/mold/animal dander bomb RIGHT ON OUR HOUSE several weeks ago. Seriously; we've never been so sick from allergies. Allergies turned into ear and sinus infections...treatment turned into Morgan having a severe penicillin allergy (surprise!)...and now the kids and I have this AMAZINGLY FUN cough. Michael doesn't have it, because he 'doesn't believe in allergies.' I tried that method but it appears allergies believe in me.
So we've been to the doctor 4 times in the past 2 weeks, gone through several prescriptions, drained countless bottles of OTC cough syrup, and I take the honor of finishing off a bottle of whiskey alone(what?! the kids can't help, it's apparently illegal to give whiskey to underage children).
We've spent so many sleepless nights trying various methods to get the kids to stop coughing. Vicks on the feet with socks, Vicks on their chests and backs, sniffing eucalyptus essential oil from the bottle, sucking on ice, using saline nasal spray, and as a last resort; giving cough medicine. Why is this a last resort? Because they ALWAYS PUKE IT UP!!! I don't blame them. We need a petition going to send to Robitussin about their flavoring. 'Nuclear power plant runoff' doesn't quite cut it.
Every fall and spring since I was a child I've had this cough. It's post nasal drip, allergy induced asthma, growing up in chemical valley, somebody has a voodoo doll with my face on it, can't sleep until I'm sitting up with a cough drop in my mouth praying I don't wake with it in my hair after I've had a combo of syrups with dextromethorphan and codeine, WORST COUGH EVER. I remember sitting up in bed fighting the urge to cough, because I knew just ONE MORE cough would make me throw up. I remember my mom stomping down the hallway exhausted because she needed her sleep and couldn't rest with me barking like an asthmatic seal all night, hissing at me 'for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY is there NOTHING you can do to stop it?!'
Well it appears I've passed the coughing hex on to our children.
Michael has to sleep with 3 asthmatic dying seals in the house. What's really fun is having to treat my own cough and then try to wake myself up from a codeine dextromethorphan whiskey haze to take care of a coughing child. I've literally walked into a wall on my way into their bedroom.
So we've been dealing with a lot of what I call 'coughing fits' where something triggers our lungs to try to escape out our esophagus. After years of practice I can keep a fit under control and not throw up, but my kids have yet to reach mastery level.
Let me share the highlights of recent events:
Several nights ago I was trying to pee. All you moms out there know there's no point in closing a bathroom door. If you lock them out, something terrible will happen, like they will end up in the car on their way to McDonald's for those 20 nuggets for $5 and then you'll get arrested for letting them drive at age 2 and 6 ('but officer I swear I was trying to pee...yes...I locked the door...I know...bad choice'). So the door was wide open for all children and cats (and several stinkbugs) to run in and out. Jack ran in, whipped off his diaper, shrieked "bath time!!" and threw all his bath toys into the tub. Half second after this, Morgan runs in coughing with her hand over her mouth, sees me on the toilet, turns and vomits in the tub. All over the bath toys. And then naked Jack tinkles in the floor a little. All of this happened in a matter of like 2 minutes. I sank to my knees and cried to the heavens "can I NOT EVEN PEE?!!!' Actually I didn't because I was too busy trying to clean up vomit and pee.
This evening I bathed both kids and was ready to chill out with a crochet project for the rest of the night (ya know, for the whole extra hour I'm awake after the kids go to sleep). Michael got Jack out of the tub (because I got distracted by laundry that needed hung up) and during the dry off Jack started a coughing fit. I shut my eyes and prayed...and then I hurt Michael scream "HE JUST THREW UP EVERYWHERE!!!!" So I ran to the living room where Michael always dries Jack off and Jack is sitting in the floor with his towel around him, wringing his hands flinging vomit everywhere and Michael has his hands cupped under Jack's mouth filled with brown liquid and chunks of everything Jack has eaten today. Michael takes off for the kitchen sink to empty his hands (dripping the entire way) and I grabbed Jack and ran back to the bathroom (dripping all the way) and dumped him, towel and all, back into the tub. I scrubbed him down. It was in every crack of that boy's body. I got him out and as I was drying him off I found more vomit so I had to put him back in the tub and scrub some more. I quarantined the kids in Jack's room (because Morgan said he wasn't allowed in her room while there's a high change of vomiting) and found Michael scrubbing the carpet. I grabbed some cleaner and started working on all the drippings...which were hard to see since our living room is dark...most of them were found because I stepped in them. Cold, wet, squishy vomit drippings. And then I had to clean the sink where Michael emptied his hands. And then I had to rinse out the bath towel that was covered in vomit and still hanging out in the tub. And then I had to clean the bath tub.
As one of my friends once posted about being a parent dealing with vomit: goal achieved; new level unlocked.
That's how it feels in this whole parenting thing; you learn as you go and get better with time. Michael and I do not enjoy dealing with vomit one little bit, but we CAN deal with it; we KNOW what to do. Goal achieved indeed.
And now it's time for my nightcap of cough syrup and whiskey. I told our doctor I was taking Robitussin DM, half a narcotic I had left over from Jack's C-section, and a shot of whiskey every night to get 4-5 hours of sleep without any cough interruptions. He howled with laughter, clapped me on the shoulder and said "Can I come to your house?!"