I bet your Christmas Eve was better

By Mir
December 26, 2008

Well, hey, I have some good news and I have some bad news.

The good news is that it turns out that I’m not a hypochondriac! That’s good to know.

But, uh, the bad news is that I’m not a hypochondriac.

I published that post a couple of days ago at about quarter after nine in the morning. As I wrote it I was still wrestling with the whole “Am I actually sick or am I just FEARFUL of becoming sick and also something of a drama queen?” Honestly, I was ready to believe I was MAKING myself sick with fear ABOUT getting sick. As I’ve discussed here before, I’m extremely emetaphobic and easily freaked out about any sort of stomach ailment. So I totally COULD’VE been upsetting my stomach with just worry and fear.

Except that by 1:00 in the afternoon, we were on our way to the hospital.

I don’t know if it’s because I have a particularly rotten immune system or because—as my dad says—I don’t ever do anything halfway or because I’m just not a very large person, but almost every time I get a stomach bug, I end up in the ER. Sure, my brother-in-law had this bug the day before me, and as I was laying on a gurney getting three bags of IV fluid he went to work because he was feeling much better. I don’t get it.

People who bounce right back from these things make me a little suspicious. Of course, I may just be a delicate flower. A delicate flower who alternated laying on her husband and crying “What is taking them so long?” and running to the bathroom in the ER waiting room, that is.

The ER did not appear to be terribly busy, but I guess it can be hard to tell (it’s not like they work the traumas in the waiting room or anything), and besides, I’m pretty sure it’s a law that you have to wait in the waiting room for at least an hour or two. Once they finally took me in for triage, my 102 fever and the fact that my blood pressure was bottomed out won me a place to lie down, at least, until they finally took me back to a little not-quite-a-room that looked like it may have been a converted closet.

Then they took me for abdominal x-rays (apparently “I have a stomach bug” is not enough evidence for them), removed half my blood, and finally hooked me up to an IV. I spent most of that time quietly weeping because it was Christmas Eve and I wanted to be with my kids and also not to feel like I was dying. Otto had just about calmed me down from all of that by the time they got the IV hooked up, and then I cried for the next hour until the nurse finally came and gave me some Zofran and I no longer felt like I was going to puke up my toenails at any moment.

It was not entirely their fault that it took so long to get me the Zofran. Like I said, it was pretty quiet there, at first, but by the time they took me back two things had happened: A trauma came in, and Francine arrived.

I don’t know what was up with the trauma… I mean, you know, other than that it was a trauma, and also that my nurse disappeared for a long time and then came back wearing a different set of scrubs (eek), but I know what was up with Francine. As did everyone else in the ER.

Francine was… not happy.

Francine is apparently a frequent flier to that particular hospital, and I was able to gather that she lives in some sort of group home. And also that she was extremely pissed at everyone.

“NURSE! NUUUUUURSE!” she would bellow.

“I’ll be right there,” my nurse called back, mildly.

“YOU MUTHER****ING A$$HOLE!” Francine would respond, before letting loose with a stream of even more creative insults. (My favorite was when they finally stationed three security guys outside her door, and she started calling them all dildos.) “YOU CAN’T KEEP ME HERE! I WANNA GO HOME! THEY STOLE ALL MY STUFF!”

Yeah. It was like that.

Periodically I would fall asleep, only to be awoken by another of Francine’s missives.

My favorite was when she unleashed a stream of expletives on the nurse that would’ve made a trucker blush, and in the middle of her rant she she said that all she wanted was a cup of coffee, and the nurse was able to pipe up, “Oh, did you want some coffee? I can get you some coffee.”

“Yes,” said Francine. “I want coffee. With cream, and two Sweet-n-Los.”

“No problem,” said the nurse. “Let me go get that right now.”

“THANK YOU!” called Francine.

Francine was full of surprises, is my point. (Don’t worry—about five seconds after she got her coffee, she was screaming again.)

Someone who I assume was a social worker stopped by to see her, and she hypnotized Francine with her syrupy voice and Francine settled down for a little bit. Then she asked Francine if she remembered her, because she’d taken care of her the last time she was here. No, Francine didn’t remember. “Oh, sure you do,” crooned the woman. “I remember YOU plain as day. You had that little frog-baby with you, remember?”


Nice job, social worker. They teach you those moves in school?

So that was how Otto and I spent Christmas Eve. Several hours after they’d first hooked me up they offered me some morphine, and I am NO FOOL and also had developed a lovely migraine from being so dehydrated, so I accepted and may also have declared my deep love for the nurse. After the morphine I was able to sit up and play with my iPhone for a while, and shortly thereafter I lurched to the bathroom with my various tubes and wires and a sterile container. When the nurse next returned I announced that I’d brought him some pee! And because he’d spent most of his shift dealing with Francine, he didn’t seem to even find that all that weird.

We got home at about 10 at night, and I drank half a glass of ginger ale and took some more Zofran and went to bed. Several hours later I got up to throw up the ginger ale, but (pleaseohpleaseohplease) that was the last evidence of illness.

Yesterday Otto retrieved the kids from their dad (and I am very grateful that he was so flexible about scheduling, although I’m sure that my having spent the night in the hospital helped) and they were able to join us here for Christmas dinner. My sister-in-law and various contributors (Otto’s siblings and my sis-in-law’s parents) put out an impressive spread, starting the day with Christmas cake and potato casserole, and then moving on to a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings—turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, both turkey gravy and mushroom gravy (Chickadee is pleased to have a vegetarian uncle!), stuffing, breads, cranberry sauces, assorted pies, the works.

I had a cup of water and half a piece of bread. For dessert I had a cup of tea. Merry Christmas!

So, um, not my favorite Christmas ever, but it turned out pretty well in spite of everything.

And I hope Francine got her frog baby back.


  1. RuthWells

    OH my goodness. One for the memory books!

  2. Jen

    Oh, you poor thing! Here’s hoping all is better today and that the rest of your visit will be wonderful. You never do anything by half, do you?

  3. Karen

    Um, well… see how all that took your mind off the cooooold and the snooooow!

    I hope you’re truly on the mend and that the rest of your holidays are healthy and happy.

  4. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh no! I was so hoping you were just being neurotic. Glad you’re better now! Eat your weight in good food on New Years to make up for Christmas.

  5. Megan

    Did you take a lovely photo? Because that would be ideal for next year’s card. Just make sure to think ahead and photograph all family crises through the year so you can make a truly special montage – way better than the traditional holiday brag letter.

    Just hope you have something a leetle more fun planned for New Years (like typhoid! I hear it’s fabulous…) and am very sorry Christmas sucked so thoroughly.

  6. Damsel

    Oh, yay for Zofran AND morphine… btdt. I hope you’re feeling much better very quickly!

  7. Daisy

    Francine sounds like a story for ER or House, but truth is stranger than fiction. Scriptwriters would think she’s too out-there for the show.
    I hope you’re feeling better soon. Being sick for Christmas is the pits.

  8. Rachel

    I hope you’re feeling better & that Otto, Chickie & Monkey stay healthy! Hear’s to a healthy new year!

  9. el-e-e

    It was a gift from the Baby Jesus! Because you’re a blogger and all. None of that typical “sit around the fireplace and joy in the warm glow of family” blather.

    I do hope you’re feeling 100% better by New Years.

  10. Heidi

    Dear Santa,

    Thank you for the morphine.


  11. Barbara

    I have a sore throat, but I feel better now. Thanks, Friend.

    The good news is that you did not gain weight yesterday.

  12. FringeGirl

    Oh, I’m so sorry for you. I pray that you feel better really soon.

  13. Karen

    We had a (relatively) quick trip to the ER when I submerged 3 of my fingers in boiling hot oil. 4 hours later I had a prescription for Oxycontin and instructions to keep my hand in a bucket of water. The blisters have formed and popped 4 times already and I can keep my hand out of water for almost 15 minutes at a time.

    I totally canceled the manicure appointment I had for this afternoon.

  14. Paula

    To much of family members in one place could make me sick,too, in former times (now the one who basically relased Christmas catastrophies has passed away and for the rest of us Christmas has become much more relaxed, what a gift!). Only overdoses are poisonous, and the viruses are only the triggers for Christmas breakdowns.Congratulations, that you have a dear Otto at your side, that helps a lot.

  15. Monkey's Momma

    I’m a nurse and I have taken care of a lot of Francines in my day! They are soooo much fun, especially for 12 long hours!

  16. Randi

    Oh no Mir! I’m glad you’re feeling better – but it sucks that you were sick! After I read your post the other day I kept praying “PLEASE don’t let us get sick like Mir – and if anyone has to get sick, PLEASE let it be me or Scott and not the kiddos” – fortunately it looks like you took the sickness for us – so thank you for that! GET BETTER!!

  17. Neil

    What a Christmas story! Hope you are feeling much better by now.

  18. getsheila

    There is something fundamentally wrong with laughing my ass off at your death’s door story but ’tis not the first time it has happened. What does not kill you makes you funnier. I think that is how the saying goes. Close enough.

    Happy holidays, Mir. May your meals stay down and your spirits up.

  19. Crista

    So last year, it was what? your ear? Now your stomach. Gonna go for an eye next year? ;)
    Seriously, I’m sorry you had a not-so-great Christmas. I hope you feel better soon. :)

  20. Mandee

    Several years ago, we called my sister’s friend, John, to tell him that I had fallen and broken my wrist along with all of my front teeth the night before.

    I will now share with you the silver lining he found on my cloud:

    Think of the weight loss potential!

    Feel better and enjoy the rest of the holiday.

  21. Ann

    Oh, Mir – you will do just about anything for attention, won’t you? Seriously, I am glad you are feeling better now.

    When I was an EMT, we dealt with many Francines. My favorite story involved a 20 year old man (boy?) who was under the influcence of something, very agitated and very, very, very causic. He had the worst language in the world, and after dealing with him in the ER for an hour, everyone was tired of it. He called every one of us a F*&#er(among other things). I am not sure when the ER doc had reached his limit, but eventually he decided to intubate our patient, which means giving him a drug first that totally paralyzed him. The patient was still very much aware of what was going on, but could not even breathe – he had to rely on the ER staff to squeeze the ambu bag to inflate his lungs. Once the guy was intubated and the ER doc was squeezing the bag, the doc leaned down close to the patient’s ear, and asked “Who’s a F*&#ER now?” Totally classic!

  22. Just Beaux

    I am TRULY SORRY to hear about your ordeal. That sounds like an awful way to spend Christmas Eve. I had to go in the hospital back in March and I spent 2 days with Francine’s brother; wouldn’t want to do it again. He was in his 70’s with either Al’s or some sort of Dementia. I just wanted to cry. I was so relieved when the staff finally took pity on me and moved me into a private room. Hope you are feeling better soon.

  23. annette


    But really, what is Christmas without an ER visit? 2 years ago my son bonked the back of his head on my mom and dad’s hearth and we spent the evening in the ER waiting to get him stapled back together.

    Hoping the New Year brings happiness, love, peace and HEALTH!

  24. Jen

    That sucks!! I’m so totally with you on the being-sick-away-from-home hell. AND with the emetophobia and feeling ill because others are ill (in fact just reading/writing it I’m feeling very queasy). I hate that, and I hate that I feel that way, but it’s something you can’t fight. I’m so sorry you were really sick, though, and that you had a Francine. Been there done that and all you want to do when you are sick is SLEEP and have PEACE and QUIET. Well, I hope you get that now and are feeling better very very soon! Happy New Year :)

  25. Karen

    Oh Mir..and I thought my ovarian cyst was bad. Atleast with the help of four Advil every three hours I stayed out of the ER and in the kitchen to feed my company :-) Glad you’re feeling better.

  26. Lucinda

    Having spent many holidays in agonizing stomach pain (long story), I feel your pain. I do hope you are feeling better and getting some rest. Stomach issues are never fun and spent mostly along because…ewww…who really wants to be around that. Take care.

  27. Marla

    So sorry you had to endure the ER but I’m glad you are on the mend. And that you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of Christmas.

    What is the deal that every time we have to go to the ER, there is always a Francine?????? Can’t we just have one ER visit without a Francine??

  28. Marla

    Oh, and one more thing….I hurt my ankle Monday morning….so I’ve been dealing with a swollen and sore ankle all week and wearing a brace. My choices are severely narrow in what kind of shoes to wear now. Oh, I’m so not gonna enjoy going back to work next week.

  29. motherhood uncensored

    Maybe Francine was like your Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life?

    Okay, that’s a stretch. It’s the pink eye in both eyes talking. Or staring.

  30. crockpot lady

    woah! I didn’t read this; just your post at Want Not. I am so sorry; what a bizarre way to spend Christmas Eve. I hope you’re feeling, much, much better, and huge hugs are being cyber-sent to Francine.

  31. Norma

    “Delicate flower” cracks me up every single time!

  32. Chuck

    Holidays are not supposed to suck. I am lodging an official protest on your behalf. Of course, God may well ignore me, but hey, what can ya do. I hope you are back to 100% now, or rapidly approaching that mark. Have a safe trip home!

  33. Anna

    Aww, you poor sweet thing! I work at in a hospital, and we get a “Francine” every other night or so. It’s only shocking the first few times, then you start piping up with offers of coffee in the middle of someone’s expletive filled crazy rant, just for a few minutes of piece and quiet. Sorry you had to spend your night in the ER.

  34. KathyM

    Ugh…sorry you had to go through that…sounds dreadful. I share your fear of barf so am very sympathetic…the worst part I think is when someone else has the bug – the fear of actually getting can be worse than the bug itself…although in your case sounds like it was pretty dreadful. Glad you seem to be on the mend though!!! Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

  35. vanessa

    I’m really sorry you had to go thru that, it sounds terrible.
    OTOH, it will make a great story.

  36. bob

    I hope you are feeling better. It’s extra pitiful to be ailing over Christmas.

    P.S. Laura says you’re a wimp! She got sick at the same time (Christmas Eve) with the same thing (problems in both directions, though) and did NOT go to the ER. But then again – she still hasn’t graduated past Diet Dr. Pepper and crackers, not able to move around without danger of losing that little bit, and is still in the same jammies.

  37. binkytown

    WOW. I had no idea there was a name for this. I too share your fear of throwing up and stomach issues so because of this, I sincerely, feel awful for you. AWFUL. Here’s hoping you feel better already.

  38. jennielynn

    The morphine made me laugh because Dad got a hit of that on Christmas Day and my mom forgot to disable his speech device. Every so often, we’d hear a computerized voice spouting nonsense. Picture Stephen Hawking on an acid trip. SO FUNNY!

  39. Mom on the Run

    I will never eat at the Kennedy Center again or eat pasta primavera. Consumed a meal at the Kennedy Center two nights before my husband was to propose. Finally got engaged two days after Xmas 1989.

  40. mama speak

    You’re right, our Christmas Eve was better, but only slightly. We didn’t go to ER but we were home w/sick kids. Turns out we’re all passing around Fifth’s Disease in these parts. I had it 2 weeks ago, little one last week, and the big one this week. Daddy should get it just in time to be sick when he’s supposed to be watching the girls after my back surgery. Big Fun I tell you! Since the rash had appeared no one was contagious, but we decided everyone else at the Christmas Eve party would probably appreciate it if we didn’t show up w/kids who looked sick (little one’s rash had moved to her arms now). Little one rewarded us during out dinner of leftovers, w/one of her better tantrums (and that’s saying something). Lasted a good 45 minutes.

    Merry Christmas!

    Hoping you’re feeling better & able to eat now. Everyone knows the leftovers are better anyway, right?

  41. Brigitte

    Aw, poor sweetie. I hope there’s room in your car for a cooler of leftovers.

    I was wondering, though . . is there anyone (besides bulimics, I suppose) who is NOT an emetophobe?

    And at least there is a plus to being such a delicate flower: you get access to WAY better flu drugs than the rest of us. ;-)

  42. SoMo

    Sorry, your Christmas didn’t go well. I hope you are feeling better.

  43. Stephanie

    What a bummer Christmas Eve for you and Otto, Mir. The ER is not a place I’d want my worst enemy to spend Christmas Eve, much less someone as great as you. (well…ok…I MIGHT want my worst enemy to spend Xmas Eve in the ER, next to Francine…maybe.) I’m so sorry you were so sick, but I’m glad you’re on the mend and I’m glad Chickadee and Monkey are ok. Hopefully, you’ll have a great New Year’s Eve to make up for it. Take care of yourself.

  44. Chookooloonks

    Jesus, Mir. I hope you’re feeling better.


  45. Sarah

    I have the worlds worst morning sickness and take two zofran an hour before dawn to ensure that I can remove myself from the bed without vomiting on the floor.

    My daughter has reflux. we’ve dealt with puke on a daily basis for so long that children’s puke doesn’t bother me anymore…

  46. Katie

    I love how you never do anything halfway. Including the flu. Wishing you a continued speedy recovery and Merry (belated) Christmas!

  47. StephLove

    We’re spending an odd and awkward holiday with Partner’s parents who are on the brink of separating. And I don’t even think I can blog about it because my family and hers make up a big part of my audience. Thanks for reminding me things could be worse.

    I hope you are on the mend now and enjoying your visit.

  48. Nelson's Mama

    I always have a supply of Phenergan in my Mary Poppins bag just in case…have you seen the cool kind that you rub on your wrists?

    But I will say Zofran is the bomb, don’t know that I would have survived my second pregancy without that little wonder drug!

    Glad you feel better and hope that New Year’s Eve is more fun.

  49. Asianmommy

    So sorry you weren’t feeling well. Hope today is better.

  50. Scottsdale Girl

    *drinks Pinot Noir*
    *thanks jeebus she got her flu shot*

    Merry Crhistmas! or happy new year, whichever floats yer boat Mir. :)

    By the way when you are ready? I have a great Pinot Noir recommendation. And if you have not had Pinot Noir…you will. yum

  51. Crisanne

    I hope that the fact that you haven’t written today is merely from being too busy having fun with the fam, and not more drama. Sorry for the run-in with Francine. My husband sees stuff like that on a regular basis, esp in the ER and ICU’s.

    Take care and get plenty of rest!

  52. Flea

    I see you got sick and went to work for me on Christmas Eve, huh? Psychiatric hospitals have ERs?

    Merry Christmas, Mir!

  53. Cele

    Okay gotta ask, what’s Christmas Cake? I am glad you are feeling much better.

  54. weescupcake

    According to my ten year old son, this was his worst Christmas ever. He spend Christmas day throwing up, running a fever and just plain miserable. My husband and I had to take turns with the family. He took our daughters over to his parents for the afternoon and I took them to my dad’s for the evening meal with my family. I guess we should be grateful that this was the first time in the 13 years we have been parents that this has happened. However, we did not end up at the hospital so I would say yours was worse.

  55. Tammy

    Ugh, we had the stomach bug go through our household this year too. Thankfully, it was short lived. Cheers!

  56. Aimee

    Holy crap. Wow. I’m glad you’re feeling better, and hoping that you were able to finally enjoy some Christmas leftovers!

  57. Peggy

    My Fun Holiday Story consisted of taking my little dog to the Animal Emergency Clinic after she ate a large bag of dark chocolate M&M’s, which had been a christmas gift for my sweetheart. She was one sick little pup, but is over the poisoning and is back to her little jumping self.

  58. kd@abitsquirrelly

    I went into the emergency room with a gall bladder attack (they ended up admitting me and taking it out the next day) and the police brought in my “roommate” hog-tied (we were seperated by just a fabric room divider) and he cussed up a storm for a couple hours. The police kept coming and apologizing to me and asked the hospital staff to move me. Eventually I was admitted so I got to leave but DUDE. It was a rough night. Feel better!!

  59. Trish/Astrogirl426

    Wow – getting sick enough to go to the ER is some serious devotion to us, your readers. I mean, you could have gone with the “having a great time with the family, blog you next year!” post, but not you! You got yourself at death’s door just to give us a fantabulous blog post!! So sweet :)

    Seriously, I’m sorry to hear about your illness. I’m hoping it passes quickly, and you’re feeling up and about, because the only thing worse than being sick away from home is being sick on the road. Or maybe going to the ER is worse. Yeh, that’s probably worse.

  60. Sheila

    Oh my. Just back from my own Christmas celebrations, which were nothing like yours. I’m sorry it was so blecchy. Glad you seem on the mend.

  61. Jackie@agsoccermom

    See that’s why we keep coming back, your life is so much more interesting….

    Have a Happy New Year!

  62. Swistle


  63. Burgh Baby

    You win.

    (Glad you’re feeling better.)

  64. Katie in MA

    Wow. You DON’T do things half measure! Glad you got to spend at least part of Christmas with the kidlets.

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