There is a well-known quote about how a person’s true character is revealed when no one is watching. However, some of us would prefer that solitude to a train full of people who, poor creatures, just happen to be there when the revelation of your true nature is made known.
As most of you know, we traveled back to Indiana for Christmas. What I may have forgotten to mention is that we decided to travel by train. My husband was a little skeptical, considering the outcome of our last train trip. But we both decided it was the better of our options and still within our price range.
The ride back to Indiana went great, although we started out three hours late. But that’s the nature of train travel, so you must take that in stride.
|The Three Wise Men|
Christmas was wonderful with time at each of our parent’s place and our children getting to play with all their cousins. But about halfway through the vacation, Wyatt begins to get sick. Really sick. As in vomiting for 11 hours followed by 2 days of diarrhea, fever, and lethargy. He became like a rag doll and all he wanted was to be on Mama’s lap. So there he went!
On the day we thought he as getting better (as in he ate more than 3 bites) he decides to throw it all up again. The next day we were scheduled to leave for home.
And here’s where it gets really interesting.
Dad’s drive us 3 hours to Chicago where we board the train for home. Within minutes of sitting down, Wyatt’s diarrhea starts in full force. On the double decker trains, the coach seats are upstairs and the bathrooms downstairs. So with every time Wyatt yelled “poopy” we had to make the trek past the other passengers to the downstairs bathroom. And this happened very often. More times than I cared to count.
But that was good, compared to what was coming.
Night came and we laid the children down, some on the seats and some curled up on the floor. We all slept pretty well – a simple blessing I was to thank God for many times before the next day ended. But partway through the night, Wyatt’s diarrhea decides to let loose in his sleep and he wakes up completely messed.
For a little guy who is potty-trained, this was not only degrading, but very traumatic. So down we went to change into the one set of clothes I had thought to bring in our carry-ons in case something like this happened. I had not thought that by the train ride was over, I would be needing a new set of clothes myself.
About 14 hours out from our destination of Libby, Montana, Wyatt decides that now would be a good time to start the nightmare. He proceeds to vomit all over himself, the blanket, the floor, my boots, and, yes, me. Grabbing him, the blanket, and myself, we hurl ourselves downstairs and leave Lowell to clean up the smelly mess we left behind.
Now Wyatt and I are both traumatized as we find our suitcases and pull on new clothes. I shiver even now just thinking of how many germs we left in those tiny bathrooms. You do the best you can, but your choices are very limited.
After getting cleaned up, we head back upstairs to try and recover a bit. Not to happen.
Megan leans over and whispers, “Mom, my tummy hurts.” You have got to be kidding me!!!
I watch for a while and the moment I can see she’s about to erupt, I drop Wyatt on the seat and nearly push Megan down the stairs to the bathroom. Sitting in the biggest bathroom we can find, we wait for the eruption.
Meanwhile, Lowell is procuring makeshift barf bags. I’d like to know why Amtrak doesn’t come equipped with their own cute, logo-stamped barf bags like airlines do. Lowell had to empty out the gallon ziploc holding our party mix and we used that instead. It worked.
After Megan vomited and was falling asleep, I decided we’d try to go back upstairs. The thought of spending the next 11 hours in that bathroom was more than depressing. We’d take our chances upstairs.
Over the next few hours, she continued her barfing spree and I’d do my best to catch it in the ziploc. While I wiped her up, Lowell would empty the bag and procure more paper towels.
Then my stomach began to hurt. I tried my best to explain it away with morning sickness, too much coffee, or the swaying of the train. But it wasn’t working.
I also had my eye on Logan, who was beginning to look and act strange. One good thing about being with your children 24/7 is that you will notice when they are about to erupt – even before they know they will. He kept declaring he was not sick and that he would not throw up. But I knew better.
Grabbing the last ziploc bag we had, I dumped its contents of elk bologne straight into the cooler, and shoved the bag under his mouth. Yes, I know it was a loss of food, but bags were more important than food at the moment.
Within seconds after he admitted that he was sick, up it all came. I will not describe to you where it all went because this post is turning really gross with all its descriptions. Suffice it to say, it was awful. And Lowell was the one who had to go empty it, wash it out, and bring it back to us for round two.
I need to say here that my husband deserves a medal of some kind as Father of the Year, or at least Barf Bag Emptier of the Year. He was magnificent – if one can be magnificent under such conditions!
Soon after Logan was cleaned up, I dropped Wyatt in Lowell’s lap and said, “I gotta go.” He knew what this meant. It was my turn, but at least I wouldn’t make him clean it up after me. However, this left him with holding bags for both barfing children.
Coming back upstairs, I felt some better and was able to help him once again. We soon got a routine down where we’d take turns holding the bag, cleaning up, and he’d let me go down to vomit in the bathroom once again before starting all over.
While holding the bags, the wipes, and the kiddos, we’d look at each other and say, “We can do this. We’re going to make it.” Neither one of us could fail the other now – we were a team and we had to make it until we got home. And then we’d count the hours again.
But we were also thankful that our train wasn’t three hours late getting to Libby or that more of the children were sick, and also that we’d had a good rest the night before. These were things that could have made it even worse!
Finally, the lights of Libby come into view and our little, tired, sickly crew stumbles off the train holding ziploc bags and paper towels. We could have cried to see our Toyota Sequoia sitting there waiting for us – away from prying eyes and a train chock-full of holiday travelers. It was just us and nobody else. We’d almost made it through this trial.
Less than half a mile from the train station, Derek cheerfully says, “When do you think we’ll ride the train again?” It is important here to remember that he was one of the healthy ones.
I beat Lowell to the reply, “I don’t think we’ll ever ride the train again – at least not for another decade or until you all can hold your own barf bags.”
Lowell just laughed. I was now finally as skeptical as he was.
On the way home, he tells me that his mom used to say such moments build character. However, he was of the opinion that the past 14 hours held way too much character all in one sitting.
So there you know our story, and while you may be laughing, we are still shuddering. Next post we will put up some pictures of the wonderful memories we have from Christmas!
May God bless you all this New Year as we purpose in our hearts to love and obey Him.