(Warning do not read if you are eating or don’t want to hear disgusting stories about poop)
I left off in the last post talking about leaving Estes Park Sunday night on our four-day trek through Colorado’s most beautiful places and heading back home with some sick kids amongst us. I had no idea that it would get worse. Sunday evening, we decided to scrounge up things in our kitchen to feed everyone because we weren’t certain the kids were up for a restaurant type setting and I didn’t prepare meals in advance for this week very well. I knew we would be eating out a lot so I didn’t buy the usual stuff.
Anyway, we scrounged up meals and Braidy ate very little but kept it down. In the middle of the night though he hops in bed with us and as my hand brushed over his body he felt extremely warm. I run to grab the thermometer and his temp registers at 104. So I take him out to the couch to let Scott sleep and so I can monitor him better. I give him a fever reducer and then I start thinking about what his throwing up could be related to.
Scott came out to check on us at some point in the middle of the night so I told him that if Braidy still had a fever in the morning and still had tummy issues that I wanted to stay home with him. He didn’t like that idea and told me not to jump to conclusions, that he’d been fine since we got home and that it was probably out of his system because he didn’t eat much. Still, I knew the high temp was for a reason so I couldn’t let it go. After laying on the couch keeping an ice pack on his head most of the night, I decided at about 5:30 am to run to Wal-Mart and grab Dramamine and Yakult. Thank goodness for 24 hour Wal-Marts!
When I get back he is still sleeping in the same position so I curl up next to him until he wakes up, then I give him the Yakult that I hope will get the good flora in his tummy working properly. Braidy now seems to be his normal self as everyone is waking up. We discuss the day’s travels.
We plan on leaving around 9 am. So we slowly get ready. Right when we are about to walk out the door and load people into the SUV, Braidy gets a horrifying look on his face and says, “Oh no! I pooped!” He then started to cry. I try to get him to the bathroom to clean him up and realize that it’s a wet wipe kind of situation. I’m trying to help him slowly take off his underwear but in his disgust, he flung them off his foot, which was covered in poop and it splattered on the wall. My mind flashbacked to his toddler years.
I felt so bad for him. We get him new clothes and I tell Scott I think we should stay home. He convinces me yet again to give the trip another try. That he didn’t eat that much in the days before this, that this was probably the only time this would happen and we would regret not going if we didn’t try. So I grab Braidy a backpack with spare underwear and clothes in it and ask him if he feels okay to get in the car. He says he does and almost cried at the thought of missing this trip. So he wouldn’t panic or get upset I said if he felt up to it, we could still go. He said, “yes, ‘ let’s go!”
We head out to get gas and before we get to the gas station, he has another accident. We run into the gas station and let’s just say I thought everything this child ate from our Friday travels to that morning (four days earlier) probably escaped that poor little boy’s intestines. So I text Scott while I’m with him in the gas station bathroom telling him to just drop Braidy and me off back home, that they can go without us. He says, “no, he’s probably done. I won’t leave you guys behind.” I told him we should then go to Wal-Mart so I could get him in some 5T pulls-ups (the largest they make) in case it happens again. Scott poo-pooed that suggestion (pun intended) but said we could drive back to get even more clothes and underwear.
After getting more clothes, I think we are prepared enough so we head out again and get through most of Denver. We have to stop so Randy and Claire could take care of a bank issue before we got to Garden of the Gods and that is when Braidy feels like he needs to go to the bathroom again. As Scott is letting Randy out at the bank, we drive across the parking lot, leaving Randy there probably wondering if we were ditching him, to find the nearest place with a bathroom. It was a grocery store. We make it inside to the bathroom in just enough time. Certainly, this is the last time this kid needs to go right? I mean it has to be over already!
At least I hoped!
We get to Garden of the God’s visitor center where they have a little gift shop and informational galleries about the area and I end up taking Braidy to the bathroom four more times because he’s afraid that every time he farts, he’s going to lose it completely. I don’t blame the little guy at all, so most of those trips to the bathroom were fear based while at the visitor center. I told him it was okay, that it was better to be safe than sorry.
…but it doesn’t stay that way for long.
As we leave the visitor center we plan on driving up just a little ways to park at the entrance of Garden of the Gods so we can walk through it. Before we even park Braidy is begging to use the bathroom again. Thankfully there is one right at the entrance but its gross! It has no soap and the floors are brown and disgusting with who knows what smeared on them and it smells to high heaven! I ask Braidy to not touch a thing as I hold him on the toilet. Surely he’s finally done with this intestinal escapade. HE HAS TO BE DONE RIGHT?
We start walking down the winding path through the giant rock formations and he says, “I have to go to the bathroom again, right now!” So we walk back and decide we are staying near the bathrooms and everyone else can go enjoy the Garden of The Gods and we’ll just miss it. After all, I’ve seen them already, so other than being with everyone I won’t miss seeing anything I hadn’t seen before.
I decided before we left the house to also bring the travel potty chair that had disposable inserts in them that allowed you to throw away the insert after use. Braidy hadn’t used a potty chair in like 3 years but I was glad I held on to this thing. We head back to the car so I could give him more water and just let him lounge in the back of the SUV. He says he had to go again, but this time instead of taking him into the gross bathroom, I thought we should use the travel potty chair. I get it set up for him in the back of the SUV and hold a blanket up over the windows for his privacy. It was much better because I was able to access some wet wipes for him. I think he’s finally done so I ask him to get his clothes back on.
This is when he pooped through his third outfit.
At this point, I’m feeling like the worst mother on the planet who should have advocated for him more. I got angry that I agreed to come despite his stomach issues and that poor Braidy was being dragged all around the state but couldn’t keep his bowels together for longer than 10 minutes. I understood Scott’s feelings that seeing family may only happen once or twice a year and that we had to try to make this work because the opportunity might not come around again…but at the same time my baby was sick and it just wasn’t fair to him. Every time we thought it was the last time, it wasn’t.
I text Scott and tell him that I am done and Braidy and I want to go home! We finally see him walking back to the car as I help Braidy get on his fourth and final spare outfit and toss the third one in the trash. We have no more clothes and I’m angry that we didn’t just go to Wal-mart to get pull ups for him. When Scott gets back to the car, I tell him the day is done, we need to go to the nearest Wal-Mart because Braidy has no more clothes to poop through.
We get to Wal-Mart, hit the bathroom again, find the pull-ups (which happened to be pink because I grabbed the first package I could find. This I’m sure humiliated Braidy even more than he already was feeling but at least we get him in a pull-up so we could make it home in a better more cleanly state. I’m still upset at the situation I should have just said no to from the beginning. So no one is talking for most of the one hour trip back home. We also end up getting stuck in Denver’s rush hour traffic that makes the trip longer than one hour. Time would prove that the pull-ups were useful. I also kept replaying that in my head. Why couldn’t we have just stopped to get them when I suggested it the first time? It made me angry that all the things I tried to prevent from happening happened because I didn’t put my foot down.
We get home and Braidy’s tummy issues are far from over but at least we are home to deal with it, not on the road. Scott heads out to get him Imodium to stop this craziness while I try getting Braidy to slowly drink 16 ounces of water in between bathroom trips. Scott is feeling terrible. It was never his intention to drive his ill son around Colorado and make him miserable. Scott’s viewpoint on it was different from mine. Mine was focused on Braidy, while Scott was focused on having us all together because he didn’t know if there would be a next time. His thought was that anything could happen in a year’s time and planning a trip can be put on a back burner because other things in life get in the way, or God forbid one of us isn’t here the following year. So I understood his persistence but couldn’t help feeling like a terrible mother.
That day will go down in the Jones’ history book as the 2nd worst and grossest travel day ever! Yes, there has been a day worse than that day that involved my oldest son and a hot car ride down to Phoenix and a back seat full of vomit. Parenting…its fun I tell ya! And if you’ve been thinking about becoming a parent, this is the real deal. I won’t sugar coat anything for ya. Parenting is a shitty experience sometimes….but leaves you with stories that you’ll share for a lifetime.
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