Yup, it's our old archenemy, Rotavirus. We're all pretty happy, though, that it was diagnosed so quickly. Since the docs in Peoria know what they're dealing with, it's unlikely that they'll need to move her to Chicago, as has so often happened with her. This means that it's much easier for Joerg and I to just trade off shifts staying with Annika. Our plan so far is that I will stay with her evenings and nights, while Joerg will stay mornings and days. Frankie and I will be driving to Peoria (about 45 minutes, so not too bad) around 4 p.m. It's a great thing not to have to go all the way to Chicago, so we're all in a pretty celebratory mood, considering how much poop we're going to be seeing in the next few days.
As soon as Joerg and Annika left this morning for the E.R., I swept into high gear--five loads of incredibly stinky laundry (isn't it funny to realize that learning to vomit is really something you have to learn to do? She's getting better about anticipating it, and we made it to the bowl several times, anyway.), and then out came my little bottle of bleach cleaner. I used half of it up before the morning was done. When I think of my Grandma, I remember the smell of her homemade bread baking in the oven. When I think of my mom, I remember the smell of the chocolate-chip-coconut-peanut-butter cookies we made together nearly every weekend. When my kids think of me, they'll be fondly remembering the smell of clorox and the feel of my unnaturally red and rough hands, bleach-chapped, but loving.
Last night before the vomiting and diarrhea hit, Annika was screaming and crying with the pain in her tummy. I tried every possible position to help relieve it, but nothing helped. At one point she was sitting in my lap, and she arched her back and began beating on her stomach yelling, "Out! Out, mean hurty tummy! No! You stop! Shoo! Shoo!" Once the stinky fountain started flowing, she began to feel better and was even able to sleep a bit (although this meant that she slept through several diarrhea outbursts, which left the bedsheets none too lovely). She took a lot of baths last night. After the second bath, she climbed onto the potty and leaned her exhausted head onto my thighs as I stood in front of her, stroking her head. "I very, very, very, very
love you," she said. Rota is bad news, but not so very terrible if you've got someone to stroke your hair while you poop.