So I get a text at work yesterday,
“Brandon is puking.”
My first thought was … “And?”
Brandon is a puker. (Is puker a word? It is now!). I think Brandon has puked more than any of us COMBINED. He has a weak stomach. Or a hyper-sensitive reflux action thing-a-ma-jig … I remember when Brandon was little and coughed at the dinner table, he would puke. And not just when he was little, sometimes he does it now, too. Though he’s better about holding it in his mouth.
Any sort of gag reflex, like shoving the toothbrush too far into his mouth, he would puke.
Brandon should have a t-shirt made with the slogan, “Beware – I puke.”
I called Kevin to find out what was going on and as per usual, because he’s a man, he downplayed the puking episode and advised me to stop by the store on the way home from work and buy some ginger ale.
When I got home and walked into Brandon’s room, I knew this puking episode was different.
He was lying in bed with nothing but his basketball shorts on. His skin was clammy and he was as pale as a ghost. His hair was wet from sweat and he was cuddling a mixing bowl to his chest to catch his puke. He had a bathroom towel and a wet hand towel close by. And the grossest part? The mixing bowl was pretty full.
When I tried to ask him questions, he just grunted and kept complaining of feeling dizzy. In fact, he couldn’t walk to the restroom, across the hall, because he was so dizzy.
I’ll be honest, the dizzy part worried me the most. I don’t ever recall him feeling so dizzy that he couldn’t walk.
He puked, off and on, for HOURS. I finally got him to take a sip of ginger ale and take a few bites of toast without it coming right back up. Once that happened, I took a chance and gave him a Tylenol so he could try and get rid of his crazy headache that I’m sure was contributing to his nausea. He finally settled down enough that he stopped puking and I felt it was okay to stop hovering so he could get some sleep.
He tried to call into work this morning, (he was supposed to work an 8:30 to 3:00 shift today), but when he spoke to his manager, the manager said he couldn’t call in sick without a doctor’s note.
Now. I don’t know about you, but we don’t go to the doctor – ever. In fact, none of us even have a primary care physician because, well, WE NEVER NEED TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. So the fact that his manager was asking him to get a doctor’s note, well, it wasn’t going to happen because we don’t run to the doctor for every little sniffle or if we’re feeling nauseous.
I was pretty furious but tried not to show it. Though he wasn’t puking this morning, he was still pale and nauseous. So the mom part of me wanted to advise Brandon to tell his boss to go F himself, but the more rational, been-a-manager-once-in-my-lifetime-and-worked-with-kids-his-age knew where he was coming from. I’m sure his employer has kids call in sick all the time that aren’t really sick so I could understand why he said that to Brandon.
So I was sort of stuck. This was a teachable moment and though I’ve always told the kids to never call in sick unless they were dying, I’m not completely heartless – he was truly sick. And he’s never called in sick since he’s worked there and has always worked the extra shifts whenever they’ve asked him so I thought his manager made a poor managerial decision considering his work history. But that’s neither here nor there.
I left it up to him. I said, “It’s your choice. I can’t make it for you. And you’re not a kid anymore, you’re your own man, so mommy can’t call in to work for you. You can tough it out and go to work, or stay home, against the advice of your manager and hope you don’t get fired. It’s your call.”
He went to work.
And then promptly came back home three hours later.
He was opening with his assistant manager and when his manager got to work and saw how pale Brandon was and how he wasn’t acting like his happy-go-lucky-easy-going self, he sent him home.
At least now his employer will know that when he calls in sick, he truly is sick and will hopefully take his word for it next time.
And I also made sure to caution Brandon not to abuse that employer-employee trust in the future.
I know it sucks to be sick but how many of us have gone to work feeling like warm death?
When I worked at Wal-Mart, I was feeling so bad that I finally grabbed a Wal-Mart bag, tucked myself into a corner of the office (I worked in the cash office at the time and I wanted to get out of camera range), puked my guts out and into that bag, then calmly walked that bag to the restroom, dumped it and went right back to work. *snap* Damn straight.
And recently, I must have ate something bad for breakfast because by mid-morning, I was having little throw-up-in-my-mouth episodes until I finally cried uncle and went home. I puked, felt better and felt so guilty that there were still three hours left in the work day, I WENT BACK TO WORK and finished my shift. *snap* Damn straight. I felt better. And I had work to do.
Everyone was pretty astonished to see me and I’m sure I made some people pretty uncomfortable because I was sort of setting a bad precedent for everyone else, but that’s my work ethic. If I ever leave work, or stay off work, THEN IT’S TIME TO READ MY WILL BECAUSE I’M DYING. (Actually, we don’t have a will yet but Kevin and I have been talking about putting one together – soon).
Anyway – I spent the day washing every one’s bedding. I started with Brandon’s (and won’t even tell you how nasty his sheets were since he lost his cookies on his bed at the very beginning of his sickness) and figured, what the hey, might as well wash everyone’s duvets, too.
He seems to be okay now. We had fried cod for dinner, (Kevin made it – he’s an AWESOME cook) and Bran ate his fair share so I think we’re back to normal. I have no idea what he ate that caused his food poisoning … the only thing he ate was (frozen) waffles for breakfast and then an almost entire bag of Cheetos.
We’re thinking it was the Cheetos since they had been in the pantry for a very long time. Then again, so had the waffles … so, we’re still stumped as to the cause.
I’m just glad he’s feeling well … life can resume again.