Daily Archives: November 30, 2008

Not for the queasy – where to get sick

If you’re not a parent or don’t want to talk about the logistics of sickness, move along… nothing to see here.

You’ve been warned.

So after Thanksgiving dinner was over and we were all about to head home, my nephew got sick. Really sick. Suddenly and explosively. And voluminously. It was very surprising, so for a second everyone just stood there not sure what to do. (I feel bad for my nephew, too. Not only is it not a lot of fun to be sick, but to have your entire extended family standing there staring at you when you do couldn’t have helped.)

When people got over the shock and reacted, and it was obvious it wasn’t over yet, the first snap decision that had to be made was where to take him to continue his purge. It’s here that I want to dwell today.

So the options were:

  • Stay where he was: in the dining room, which he had already soiled, with its hard-wood floor.
  • Move to the next room, the kitchen, where the dishes were mostly, if not completely, done.
  • Try to make it up the split-level stairs and down the hallway to the bathroom. The entirety of that trip is carpeted.

On the way home, my wife and I were debating the best action to have taken. My vote was for the kitchen. Her vote was to stay where he was (which, incidentally, is what happened). We both had valid arguments to back up our positions.

My position is: contain as much of the mess as possible with minimal movement and maximum “cleanability.” That means getting to a toilet, sink, or trash can as quickly as possible. In this case, given that the kitchen was one room away, I’d have gone with the kitchen sink. The kitchen trash can was also a possibility, but given the situation it was probably full. Speed is not the hallmark of someone getting sick, especially a child, so it would be the adult’s job to move him/her, even if that means picking them up or dragging them (safely, of course).

My wife’s position is to stay where he was because the mess is already there after the first explosion. Better to clean one location than two.

Her problem with my position is that there’s a real chance the next spew could happen in transit, plus she thought there would be splashback that could escape the sink and cause a larger cleanup. Both valid points, but I stand by my preference.

My problem with her position is that you’re creating a deeper, and probably more significant, mess in the one location. I’d rather clean smaller messes in more locations than a huge, saturated mess in one. It’s also more likely that a significant amount of material will end up coating the sick person and their clothes, which completely grosses me out. As the sick person, one of the worst things to have happen was finally to be done with the unpleasantness and then get a nose full of soiled shirt wiping itself on my hair on its way by. Getting to a container minimizes, if not completely avoids that problem.

So, I leave it to you, the brave few who got through this post, to settle our dispute. Which way would you handle the situation? Vote below, and support your decision (or propose other options) in the comments.

[poll id=”5″]