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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barf, Barf! Everywhere, Barf!

Greetings, KuKd/TTC Homegirls and Inquisitive Guests!

For the longest time, I've resisted the urge to pepper this blog with non-KuKd-related snippets of my personal life. I cave in and do it sometimes, but not too often. It's kind of like, what would be the point of that? Chances are, you're not here to read about the status of that hangnail on my left index finger, or which new recipe I screwed up horribly yesterday evening, or how I would rank my most recent bowel movement. Nuh-nuh-no, not you.

You're here to read about DEAD BABIES!

That is, you're here because you lost a baby or a fetus or a clump of baby-like cells, or because you have trouble getting knocked up, or because you've given up on getting knocked up, or because you're just oddly fascinated by dead-baby-related musings, or because you're a friend or family member who pops over to check out my online persona, or because you stumbled over here on accident after Googling "miscarrying hamster" or "does semen smell like brie cheese," as other poor innocents have in the past. For the most part,

you're here to read about DEAD BABIES!

Besides, rambling aimlessly about life in general was never the point of this blog. The purpose was, and still is, to write about - you guessed it -


and various aspects thereof.

All of that said, I've decided to allow myself a TEENSY-WEENSY bit more wiggle room to write about non-dead-baby-related topics from time to time - at least to include such things when they're on my mind. As some of you know, when you move along down that pipeline of time - away from when an event comprised about 110% of your total identity - it starts to comprise less of who you are. Which makes the urge to write about other non-KuKd topics more pronounced.

To put it differently (and I'd better switch to first-person pronouns here, for who am I to make general "truthy" statements about humanity): whereas stillbirth used to weigh down on my soul like a thick and heavy layer of cream on top of, larger than any other part of who I was, it's now sunk down and broken up, homogenizing itself into the rest of me. Which means that in real life, outside of Blog-i-stan, I am just as likely to talk about...oh...that awesome new thift store that just opened down the street, as I am to talk about my knocked-downage (for a more detailed discuss on where loss lives, click here or here.)


As you probably guessed, in the spirit of homogenization of loss, I'm going to focus on a personal snippet this morning, and hope that you'll indulge me, understand, and forgive. It does relate to your favorite topic


in a roundabout way, I suppose.

Last night, Tebow - my dog, aka Cheap Baby Substitute (see the connection?) - ate half of a tennis ball. That is: he chewed it into dime-sized bits and swallowed those bits, with a naively happy look in his scruff-fringed eyes. Now, I won't say I didn't know he was chewing on a tennis ball. He's a terrier, and terriers chew on things. What I didn't realize was that he was actually retarded enough to swallow those bits like a classic short-bus retard dog.

Honestly, I thought I knew my son. Um, I mean my dog. We brought him on this road trip from Seattle, specifically assuring Kevin's family that Tebow is SO WELL BEHAVED that you hardly know he's there. I thought he knew better than to swallow bits of chewed tennis ball, that he had some self-control, some survival instinct - like believing your teenage kid knows when to stop drinking, so you go ahead and let him keep that six-pack under the bed, just to allow him to practice being a responsible adult. Tebow has never done that before - or if he has, he's always shat out those foreign bits in an inconspicious way, not making an issue out of it.


Hours later, when everyone else was asleep (by "everyone else," I'm talking about Kevin and his parents, as we are currently on an in-law visiting trip in Phoenix) and I was awake like a caffeinated author-wannabe typing madwoman on speed, Tebow began to puke. Not just a little bit of heave-ho-ing, not a mere few tablespoons of fluffy-and-easily-cleanable-pet-vomit on the kitchen floor. No no. This was LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of wet, nasty, puke on Kevin's mom's carpet - here and there and everywhere. He was like this unstoppable vomiting machine: everytime I heard him barfing in one corner, I'd race over to grab him and set him in different room, and I'd hear him barfing again. Piles of doggy puke, here and there and everywhere!

I couldn't keep up, but was determined to handle this on my own, without rousting Kevin from sleep.

I should add that Tebow's vomit, not surprisingly, was full of little fragments of rubber tennis ball. Which - just to give you a clear image here - I only discovered by closely scrutinizing my dog's vomit from half-an-inch away.

Exactly what I wanted to be doing on my drinking-screwing-writing vacation: examining someone else's barf.

For the record, I hate barf. I really, really hate it - seeing it, smelling it, imagining it, stepping in it, sensing its nearness. Other bodily fluids I can handle - blood, puss, what have you - but when I see a puddle of someone else's throw up on the sidewalk, it haunts me for days and weeks, sometimes ruining my appetite. My worst fear is that someone might barf into my lap or directly into my face - it's like this weird phobia I can't explain. I actually thought for a while that the Person Controlling the Gears Up There (known to some people as God, but I call him the Big Asshole) decided not to let me have any babies, because He knew I couldn't handle people's throw up, and would therefore be an unfit mother (if that's true, then he does have a point).

Luckily, animal barf is nowhere NEAR as god-awful as human barf, so I was able to maintain relative composure as I raced from room to room, frantically scraping/sopping/sponging up puke puddles from my in-law's carpeted floors.

It soon got to where Tebow was dry heaving up nothingness - just air and a bit of that biley, yellowish nastiness that's left in the dredges of the stomach when everything else has been projected outward by force. I had a sudden image of my cheap-baby--substitute dog dying of over-vomiting, if that can really happen. Puking up an intestine or a spleen, or popping out an eyeball with the sheer force of his heaves, or - worse - of there still being shards of tennis ball lodged in his gut, festering, slowly releasing toxins of the modern industrial age into his bloodstream.

So, blinking back panicked tears, I rousted Kevin. That is: I conceded that I could not, would not, handle this by myself, while my feminist foremothers glared at me from heaven, condemning me for effectively undoing all they had fought for. We would have dealt with this on our own, without a man's help, because WE were stronger and more independent than you, Monica. But you know what? Screw it -it was late at night, I was tired and cranky and not making any headway on my book project, surrounded by vomit stains and a trembling, whimpering dog who was throughly confused and horrified by what was happening to his own body, and just not in the mood to play the military-wife-who-handles-every-catastrophe-on-earth-singlehandedly, like Kevin's mom always did.

(By the way, have you ever noticed the look that crosses a dog's face after he vomits? It's a look of, "can somebody please help me interpret this event for me?" and "what the crappity-crap is that mildly dinner-scented mass that just appeared before me, seemingly from nowhere?")

Parenthood is a shared duty, so I felt justified in seeking Kevin's manly help (as my friend George would say, what did I expect Kevin to do about any of this? use his penis as a vomit-vacuumer?). To make long story a bit less long: two hours of driving around Phoenix in the middle of the night with Tebow throwing up onto my lap (yes, my worst nightmare coming to fruition!), sitting in the 24-hour emergency vet and $250 later, Tebow pumped full of hydration and happy-tummy-meds, we all made it home and got to sleep around 3am.

I sort of wonder if this is practice for real parenthood, if the Big Asshole up there is testing me to see how I handle things, if I might be ready for making a baby someday. I'd rate myself...oh...a C+.


Living With Loss said...

I really get that...I have this phobia too! Hope he's feeling much better soon.

Bottoms Off said...

Everytime you type DEAD BABIES in all caps, I laugh. I'm going to hell for sure.

I have an elderly cat and much experience with vomit. The worst is when you are cleaning it up and you can feel through the paper towel that it is still warm. Sometimes I have to wait for it to come to room temperature, but then you have a pile of vomit on the floor that you are doing nothing's a real catch 22.

I prefer my husband to use his penis vaccuum to clean it up.

Monica LeMoine said...

Bottoms Off - wow, you're an easy crowd! Anytime you need a laugh, come on over and I'm happy to shout "DEAD BABIES" in your face.

Ah yes: the warmth of pet vomit thru a paper towel. Truly one of nature's greatests gifts of grossness.

mrsmoore08 said...

My dog ate 16 chocolate chip cookies last week so I know a little bit about dog and they sure do have that look on their faces! Way to put it into words!

'Murgdan' said...

Awwww...poor Tebow!!! Give him a tummy rub for me. :-(

Michelle said...

Wow hat sounds like fun. I am pretty impressed that you could handle all that doggy vomit. I have a fear of vomit myself and can't even hear someone doing it. I don't know if I would have lasted as long as you. Kudos. I am glad though that Tebow is better.

Sara said...

During my quest to have children many years ago I found myself suffering with ovarian cancer. And the chemotherapy I had to endure for seven months had me vomiting/dry heaving/nauseous for much of that time. I remember telling my husband that if we were lucky, maybe that pain and suffering would be good preparation for what would (hopefully) come next.

A year later I found the vomiting/dry heaving/nausea "practice" to be quite helpful. It was with me for 34 weeks, but in the end I found myself with beautiful identical twin boys.

Glad to hear Tebow is doing better. :-)

"numb_was_better" said...

Everything is relevent. Each experience I've had and every decision I've made over the past year has been altered by this loss. Most of all stress has been magnified.

AnnaMarie said...

Monica, you had vomit in your lap, you rate much much higher than a C+. Cleaning up puke, recognizing when your dog needs some medical attention (dry heaves from dehydration are not cool) and a happy ending where no one died rates as a solid A in handling things.

So glad to hear Tebow is ok.

Rachel said...

I loved this post, because our dog (also some sort of terrier who kind of looks like Tebow) recently threw up at my parents' house, in the guest room, in multiple locations, on new white carpet. I have never seen my little four year old (adopted from China) daughter look so horrified. She suggested that we "never ever tell grandma about this" which I briefly considered, while desperately mopping it up. But in the end we did confess (my mom definitely would have noticed anyway). She took it better than I expected. I did not grow up with pets and we've had this dog for about a year. I cannot explain my strong attachment to him, especially because throwing up all over my mom's new carpet isn't the stupidist thing he has done lately. But love him I do and I guess I will continue to put up with his more than occasional throwing up and/or diarrea related incidents. I won't be bringing him to my parents' again anytime soon though. I do really appreciate the way he (the dog) seems to just know when I am feeling sad and conveys that perfect sense of concern and affection. I'm glad Tebow is ok too!