Poor, poor Sean-Peter. Have you ever known anyone who suffered from e-coli? It ain't pretty, especially when you don't yet know why your child appears to be expelling half his bowels. Poor, poor Peter. Don't he look pitiful?
We started out at the ER on base, where they tested him for everything under the sun and ruled out what they could. They then transferred him to Dayton Children's Hospital where they continued to run tests and I couldn't have been more impressed with the care. Seriously. If I'd had nurses in the hospital like that when I'd had my babies I never would have wanted to go home.
Sean-Peter went through so much. You know how it is when a child is so sick and pathetic and lethargic and weak and so, so pitiful?
He cried so pathetically when they put in the I.V. which, really, is so much more than a shot. (Have you ever had that tube stuck up your arm?) I soothed him and assured him that the worst was over. Then they taped a sack around his nut sack (ahem) so they could collect some urine to test and when they had to tear that off he screamed and wailed and I said I'm so sorry I was wrong because I was sure that was the worst.
The little guy got his first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride, with the nicest people ever, two confident, take-charge women who must be saints to spend their lives helping hurt and hurting children.
They transferred him from the base ER to Dayton Children's by ambulance "just in case" -- the little guy had been so dehydrated and of course they don't know me, his mom, from Eve, so why take chances?
While sitting back there in the ambulance with those lovely ladies, and a wane little boy so unlike the one I know, one of them attempted to spark some life out of him with some idle questions.
"So, you have an older brother and sister?"
"Uh, huh." So, sooo pathetic. You could barely hear him.
"Are they nice to you?"
Sean-Peter suddenly looks alert and starts shaking his head.
"My brother is mean to me and calls me stupid and a loser." Then he lifts his hand and makes the two-finger loser L sign.
The woman laughs appropriately and I am a bit taken aback at the biggest display of life he has shown all day. She asks me how old his brother is and when I tell her 13, she rolls her eyes appreciatively. But still.
Oh, Conner. We have told him time and time again what a powerful role model he is to his younger brother and sister. They look up to him so much and everything he says affects the dynamic in their relationship. No matter that he thinks he's being funny or that he thinks they're annoying; they are not his peers and being the oldest bears a certain responsibility.
I wasn't surprised by Sean-Peter's response -- just by his animation -- but apparently Conner was. Surprised and hurt. I think it made quite the impression that his brother -- his sick, little brother, thought of him this way in his most vulnerable moment. What, you going to accuse a sick little four-year-old of making this stuff up?
Partly in redemption? But mostly because he really is a kind-hearted soul, Conner helped his sister make a card for their little brother.
"Jellyfishing isn't any fun without you, Peter."
"We love you, Peter.
Hey, Peter, can't wait to see you, it's really boring without you! I miss you and I hope you're feeling better!
You will get better."
I especially like the last part.
The country song didn't go into full effect until yesterday, though, when I managed to break my toe -- running to change out laundry? Answer the phone? I really can't recall. But it was sometime after Olivia threw up but before Public Health called with Sean-Peter's diagnosis: I vividly remember massaging my foot with a bag of frozen peas while attempting to process "your son has e-coli" and intelligently answer her formula questions.
Is anyone else sick?
Is your son in daycare?
When did you go to Kansas?
In all honesty, we'll probably never know exactly how or where Sean-Peter contracted the e-coli. He simply doesn't fit the standard profile (e.g., he won't touch hamburger) nor does he have any connections with any other cases. It is sobering to note that, at the same time Sean-Peter was in the hospital, at least two other small children were there for the same thing -- and they're still there. Public Health called again today with more questions, desperate to rule out any and all correlation between our son and the other cases, and a bit credulous that he was home and doing so well, as the other children are still suffering so much. We are very fortunate.
My broken toe notwithstanding. You all can feel sorry for me now.
And I apologize for this photo in advance, I just couldn't resist.**
Before the whole e-coli, Thang, I started uploading photos for a Trip to Kansas post. I will recommence on that shortly.