In other breaking news, the grass is green and the sky is blue! Fish swim! Birds fly!
This time is a little different, though. No matter how sick KayTar has gotten, she never really acts all that sick. Even when she was so sick that she has been hospitalized, she is still a little firecracker. She chats up the nurses, the doctors, the child life specialists. She smiles and laughs and plays silly games with me. She tries to stand up and gurney surf. She uses the angled part of her hospital bed as a slide. She's bursting with life, all the time. Except that she isn't right now.
Yesterday morning I woke her and dressed her to go to the pediatrician's office and she only opened her eyes briefly. She slept in the car. She slept in the stroller. She slept in the waiting room. She slept in the exam room. She barely opened her eyes when the pediatrician started the examination. She didn't fight the strep swab. She didn't fight the nasal swab. After the exam, she whispered, "Put me back in my stroller." She didn't chat with the nurse or the receptionist, she didn't talk the pediatrician's ear off. She woke briefly to vomit. She didn't even muster the strength to cry. Everyone noticed. She's a frequently flyer at the clinic (of course) and she's never been so subdued. It was very sad. It was not, however, strep or the flu or bronchitis or pneumonia or anything else treatable.
She was only awake for maybe four hours total yesterday. She felt too sick and exhausted to be up and around. It is all very unlike her. The quick and dirty summary of the day is: 4 vomits, 1 mega-huge-up-to-the-shoulders diarrhea, 21 ounces of Pedialyte in (some of that back out), 2 wet diapers (in the evening, hooray for OUTPUT!), and 1 mostly unconscious and feverish little girl. I feel a bit like I'm chasing my tail, managing symptoms and trying to keep her hydrated. Little by little it is working, we're not in the hospital yet, she urinated a couple of times yesterday evening. But each time I start to get ahead of it, something else happens. She gets enough fluid that she wets a diaper and then suddenly she has the mega-diarrhea (you know it is mega-diarrhea when you can hear it happen from the next room). We sigh with relief that it was only one mega-diarrhea and then the vomiting returns. KayTar is a boat with many holes and we're not sure which one the fluids are going to come rushing through next. If it wasn't for the g-button, we'd have already been in the hospital for a couple of days now, though.
I've danced this dance, carried this load, many times before...this time it feels clumsier, heavier, because she is feeling it all so keenly. It is easier to bear it, to smile through, when she is dancing and laughing in spite of it all. This time, she is not dancing and laughing and the resulting stillness and silence echoes through the house and in my bones.
She woke up today at noon, about an hour ago. Her diaper was wet and her nose was bleeding. I cleaned her up and gave her some Pedialyte through her tube. She said, "Mommy, you can watch your show in the bed and I will sleep next to you." So that is what we did for a while. She actually felt good enough to get up for a while and she's sitting next to me, playing on the Noggin website. She'll be wiped out in a half hour or so and we'll go back to bed, the land of snuggles and snoozes. I'll give her more fluids and lay beside her watching her small chest rise and fall while she sleeps, content to know that even if I can't fix this for her, I can make it a little easier just by being within reach.