Chris Ryan’s holidays (and bowels) are shaken up when his kid gets hit with gastro.
I spent my first Father’s Day in Far North Queensland but it was no holiday. A trip away is more misadventure than holiday when you have a 10-month-old kid as your carry-on.
A child doesn’t decide to sleep through the night or eat without throwing their spoon across the room because they’ve been on a plane for two hours. They don’t stop loading their nappies to bursting point because they’re interstate.
The best thing about being an away-from-home stay-at-home parent is that your partner is dragged into the monotonous tasks that eat up your life. A three-turd day, normally a hassle, is a source of glee as you hand the soiled bub to your partner so they have a chance to “bond” over a nappy change.
Our small family spent five days at a resort in Port Douglas. Much of the time I was by the pool nursing a beer and my baby – while I judged parents who were drinking too much (more than me) or letting their kids scream “Marco” and “Polo”.
Maybe it was there our baby fell ill. There was a poolside bar where twenty-somethings drank for hours on end. Disturbingly, they never left the water for a toilet break.
If swimming in diluted urine didn’t make our son sick, it might have happened when we stayed in a kid-friendly caravan park in Cairns, where dozens of children ran riot in the waterpark. The kid was almost as excited about the waterslides as I was, and he swallowed more than a mouthful of suspect water when I was stupid enough to carry him down one.
That night my wife and I woke at midnight to coughing and spluttering. Stewed apple had been spewed all over the place. We cleaned and calmed the crying kid so he could vomit again in comfort, which he did promptly.
Two vomits later it was bright yellow bile coming up. After calls to a national health helpline and the local medical centre we were advised to head to emergency at Cairns Hospital.
Regular readers can rest easy. A doctor looked over the bub and said he was in good shape, considering. He didn’t vomit after the visit and we’ve come home to Sydney and he’s sleeping happily in his cot.
For my own part, things aren’t so good. I had to rush ahead of the family to get home after we got off the train from Sydney airport. It was a frantic race to the toilet because, unlike my son, I don’t have the luxury of wearing nappies. Just now I had my first vomit. The way my guts are feeling another isn’t too far off.
It’s made me feel for our munchkin even more and admire how the tough little guy managed a smile in between spews. Though part of me wonders if he was grinning because he had an idea of what was heading my way.