Last summer I experienced one of the most hellish car trips of my life. But before I begin the story of this particular journey from hell, let me provide a little background to set the scene.
A scheduled trip to the river. A scheduled birthday party with non-refundable expensive cake ordered. A fever. A Tylenol suppressed fever. Birthday party. Strep throat diagnosis. Antibiotics started. Doctor’s office cleared scheduled trip to river.
Made it to the river without incident. Made it through the afternoon and the first full day without incident (swimming hole and tubing), but by the evening of the first full day, something was lurking. Something evil… Complaints about an achy stomach. Maybe it could have been antibiotic side effects, not sure. By the next day after that, achy stomach turned into full-blown sick stomach. There were six of us in that tiny little cabin, and it’s just not a good thing when one person pretty much stakes their claim in the only bathroom.
And that there was the prequel for the ride home.
It was late afternoon, and I really wanted to get my son home. I got the car packed up and then had my son get in, and I threw in a bunch of plastic grocery bags to boot. I had barely started the car, and the first spew began. I cleaned him and the car up the best I could, and handed him more bags. Let’s just get home, let’s just get home. Little did I know I should have put a bunch of plastic bags under my son as well. I’m getting to that.
It was about an hour into the trip home. Son was sleeping. Smelled something. Prayed that something wasn’t the something I thought it was. About 15 minutes later, son woke up to tell me he thought he’d… Yes! I already know! Okay, now this is where I had to have a long, serious talk with myself. I had to pull it together. I didn’t have any option but to get through this mess. It was just my youngest and me. I finally had cell phone reception, but what was anyone able to do for us so far from home? I couldn’t freak out or break down (like I really wanted to), and I couldn’t get angry at my son, he didn’t choose to be sick. I decided we would get through this, and even be able to look back and laugh (and blog about it!) some day.
Unfamiliar with the area, I chose a gas station / convenience store / fast food combo type place that didn’t look too menacing. Grabbed a change of clothes. Got son into restroom. He tried to object to it being the women’s restroom. Don’t start kid.
Things coming out of both ends. Getting (totally unrelated) texts from friends. Not a good time, sorry, can’t talk now! Gave son forbidden Pepto tablets. Didn’t have to feel guilty for long when son promptly threw up Pepto tablets. Things were looking pretty grim, I didn’t think we’d ever get out of that bathroom. I told son to suck it up the best he could (figuratively and literally). Got son into clean clothes. Threw away dirty unmentionables. And once again headed towards home. A few more hurls, but at least these were strictly from the top end, and thankfully, most of it landed in a grocery bag.
We hung in there and We. Made. It. Home. We actually did live to talk about it (and after about what, nine months or so, we lived to laugh about it too)!
And that’s pretty much The End. Gerald got to work right away cleaning up the car’s interior, and my ill child took to the couch and was feeling better. I knew if we just made it home, it would be alright.