Monday, November 21, 2011

Patient Zero

When we first became parents, we were flooded with advice, so much that I probably only retained a small amount. One that I remember crystal clear was “Just wait till Elliot brings home the first stomach flu and passes it around the whole family.” Of all the great things people told us about parenting that I quickly forgot, this stuck with me due to my extreme aversion to vomiting. Although I have mellowed since becoming a dad, the act of vomiting is still among the things that I loathe the most.

Vomit was the last thing on my mind Tuesday morning, mere days away from my favorite weekend of the year (my wife gets mad when I say “favorite,” so let’s amend that to “one of my favorite”). In less than 48 hours, my dad and I would be on a plane to Las Vegas for a weekend of professional drag racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and reservations at the new Aria Hotel and Casino. If that wasn’t enough, the Rangers would be playing game 6 of the World Series the night we arrived! Needless to say, I was counting down the hours.

Our flight was leaving the first thing Thursday morning, so I had a little extra spring in my step Tuesday when I was getting Elliot ready for his day. It never occurred to me that something might be off when he wasn’t particularly interested in his bottle or when he was unusually whiny as we were driving to the babysitter’s house. He finally got my attention right as I was turning on to her street when he vomited all over the back seat of my car. Perfect. I was in a rush for an early meeting. He’d had some big throw-ups before, and nothing was wrong and I was in a hurry, so I ran him in to the baby sitter’s, cleaned the seat the best I could and was on my way.

Later that day I received a call from my wife, who was leaving work early to go pick up Elliot. Apparently he’d developed some other symptoms associated with a stomach bug, and the baby sitter thought it best to send him home. The next day was Wednesday (one day from our trip), and my mom was kind enough to stay with Elliot so that we could work. My dad was also kind enough to stop by in the afternoon and bring my mom lunch and visit his grandson (you can probably see where this is headed).

Fast forward to Thursday night. Things are going great, we are in Vegas, and we’d snagged some prime seats in the Aria sports book to watch the Rangers win the World Series. Throughout the playoffs I’d been very nervous during the games, so I didn’t think too much of it at first when my stomach started to feel odd. As the game progressed, I was becoming more and more aware of it, but was honestly much more focused on what was happening on the field. The Rangers were winning, and I was counting outs. Then the 9th inning began. We had one out, and my stomach would not be ignored any more. Suddenly I sprang up and broke into a dead sprint for the bathroom, I didn’t make it and vomited right in the middle of the sports book ¬– in front of the hundreds of people who had assembled to watch the 9th inning. Not my finest hour.

Now I knew something was really wrong. I made my way back to our room as quickly as possible, only to turn on the TV and see that the Rangers had surrendered the lead. Could things be worse? Well, at the time I didn’t think so, but they were about to.

Not long after my abrupt departure from the sports book, my dad came back to the room to make sure I was ok. I was already under the covers of my bed, shivering with bizarre chills. About an hour later I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not when I swear my dad was telling me that he too was in bad shape.

This was bad. I’m going say this next part very delicately – two men, sharing a room, both as intestinally sick as you can be is not a pretty picture.

That was Thursday night. The next time we left our room was Saturday to try and eat something for the first time. We had some oatmeal and quickly retreated to the room, where we didn’t leave again until Sunday. We never made it to the racetrack, and those prime seats went empty. When we left for home Monday, we found out that we’d somehow managed to rack up $300 in room service and mini bar charges for oatmeal, bananas, PowerAde and water – not the way we’d planned to blow our money on this trip.

To make things even crazier, we were getting reports from home that my mom, who watched Elliot Wednesday, and Lauren’s mom, who came to visit on Friday, were both also in the same predicament as we were.

Elliot had the starring role in our own personal version of Outbreak.

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager for Texas Health Resources and first-time dad who is working his way through all of Elliot's firsts.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Jordan. Been there, done that - Sam came down with his first tummy bug at his first big family Hanukkah gathering. Daddy and I both got it 2 days later (me, at work). But, I think your story "wins" (by not really winning at all, of course).