The Flu, The Emergency Room and The Hurricane

Some of you might recall that I began this post a month or so ago, as the first in a two part riveting tale of a mother, the flu and her toddler.

I never did get around to wrapping that story up, in part because of a minor emotional glitch, which I’ve detailed in my previous post, Disappearing Act, and also because the misery I had begun to document in Three Really Bad Days Part I, spiraled further downward into a whole miserable week.  Even as I typed.  So if you’ll kindly indulge me, I’ll now conclude…

To quickly backtrack, I’d opted to stay alone in NYC with my toddler, Luka for one week.  I had grand plans.  My husband Alex headed back to Maine and would return in six or seven days to collect us and bring us home.  I was full of the optimism and boundless energy that only New York, New York can produce in a body!  Within moments of his departure I fell ill with the flu.

I’m not sure how to put into words how sorry I felt for myself.  Perhaps I can best illustrate my torment with bullet points.

  • Have you ever wished, like really, really wished and hoped that a meteorite would smash through the ceiling and land directly on your brain?
  • I did.
  • On day one, Luka stuck a thermometer into a light socket.  The fire alarm went off.  Three times.  Luka spilled a box of elbow macaroni all over the floor.
  • During my entire convalescence, he was struck with an inability to find a suitable path onto or off of my bed that didn’t blaze straight across my face.
  • Days two and three I hired an emergency sitter from an agency.
  • She was sweet and helpful.  I liked her.
  • Not sure what she was thinking about the sweating carcass on the sofa.
  • Luka thoughtfully woke up at 4:30 every morning.
  • That sucked a particularly whole lot.
  • Day four I began to feel better.
  • Day five I emerged from my sickbed, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Then I strapped Luka onto the chair of death and was in the ER by noon.

I use one of those toddler seats that can be strapped onto to any chair.  And it’s been great- easy to travel with.  In our NY apartment, we eat at the kitchen counter, in high counter stools.  I’d many times buckled Luka’s seat and tray on to them.  On this morning however, I thought it would be so cute to remove the tray from the seat and push him straight up to the counter, like a big boy.

Clearly I’d forgotten about how he has arms and legs and how they can push against things like countertops.  I sprinkled his lunch down in front of him and turned around. There was a thump.  My stomach sunk.  I spun around and my ‘ big boy’ was gone.

Cue bullet points..

  • He couldn’t even twist his little body to even try to break the fall.
  • Oh, how I hated myself.
  • He Wailed and Wailed for a very long time.
  • So I flung us into a cab and to the ER.
  • He Wailed and Wailed in the waiting room.
  • I went all Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment on the nursing staff.  “Will somebody please take a look at my child!!!!”  I totally yelled it too.
  • I got my ass reamed out.
  • They don’t take crap in NYC emergency rooms.
  • Apparently I was causing Luka to Wail, not his life threatening head injury.  He could sense my fear.
  • A nurse forced me to sip a box of apple juice.
  • I’m not kidding.
  • Seems they were right.  I calmed down, he calmed down.  Eventually.
  • He was fine.
  • The ER doc who examined him had a mohawk.  He definitely fronts a punk band on his days off.
  • That was my fantasy anyway.
  • He was cute.

I’d come to Manhattan for a week of fun with my little guy and all I got was a dreadful flu and an anxiety attack.  What else was on the menu?  A massive hurricane?  Well, of course.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t leave beforehand, besides the issue of my backside being stuck to my bed for several days, the very day I’d planned to fly out, a certain trip to an emergency room happened…

Hurricane Sandy anecdote:

The night before the storm, the weather forecasts were becoming more dire, the forecasters actually seemed nervous and I decided to head back out to the market for a couple more bottles of water.  It was early evening and the sky was just beginning to darken.  I pushed Luka toward the corner and then stopped, like everyone around me, and tilted my head to the sky.  A disembodied voice was booming,  ” Attention.  You are in Evacuation Zone A .  By order of the Mayor you must evacuate this area.  You are in Evacuation Zone A….”  I felt like I was in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie and we were all staring up, in shocked silence, at the mothership, as the alien attack began.

Turns out our building was approximately twenty-five feet from Evacuation Zone A.  So I was safe?

Hurricanes do not mess around.  On the twenty- fifth floor, the wind slammed and shuddered us for hours.  The building swayed, the lights flickered and little Mr. Luka slept like a log in his crib that I’d pushed into the closet.   I huddled on a blow-up mattress that I’d positioned in the living room- still not sure what I  thought that was going to accomplish- and followed terrifying twitter tweets like,  “building just collapsed in Chelsea??!”

We made it through just fine and my heart goes out to all of those who have suffered so terribly in the wake of Sandy.

So in summary, in one week I got a four day flu, recovered and went straight to the ER which in turn caused us to miss our chance at flying home and left us stranded in the path of a hurricane that caused historic devastation.

And THAT my friends, was one shitty week.






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Heather Bogolyubova

About Heather Bogolyubova

Heather Bogolyubova has an un-pronouncable last name. A Maine native, she's returned to the Pine Tree state after several years in New York. Now, she's a newlywed, has a new baby, a new job, and lots of fancy shoes she can never wear in the snow. The job: Stay-at- home mother and wife. Its hard. She's going to tell you all.