If you’re of a nervous disposition or are, at present, eating breakfast, I suggest you look away now. A vomiting child is never pleasant. A vomiting child on a boat is really no fun at all.
With Christmas behind us we’re back on board Carina and yesterday was laundry day. Not any old laundry day, because this week I want to wash all the bedding. So I loaded up the large blue IKEA bag (did IKEA ever envision that half the world would now use its shopping bags for laundry?) with all our dirty clothes and the sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers from Lily’s and Katie’s bed. Off I marched with the girls to the launderette, returning home an hour and a half later. I put away the clothes and remade the bed with clean fresh-smelling bedding.
In the middle of the afternoon Lily complained of a tummy ache and took herself off to the aft cabin to lie down. She slept for a while and just before 6pm came stumbling out and vomited spectacularly at my feet on the saloon floor. I cleaned her and the floor up as best I could, stripped her and dressed her in clean clothes and put her lying down on the starboard saloon sofa. I then went into the aft cabin to see if there was any collateral damage to my bed.
Oh dear. She’d been sleeping on Julian’s side of the bed, so that got the brunt of it, but my side saw some action too. Because our bed is so big, we’ve got two single-bed fitted sheets – one on each of the mattresses. She’d managed to vomit on both sheets. And on Julian’s pillow. And on our duvet. So I stripped the bed, throwing everything, including duvet and pillow into the cockpit. The mattresses stank too so I set about cleaning them.
An hour later she vomited again, but this time I was ready with the basin. After that she was feeling somewhat better and perked up a bit, but at 8pm asked if she could go to bed. We put her and Katie to bed, I read them a story and then I came out to the saloon. We’d been sitting in the saloon about an hour when I heard the unmistakable sound of vomiting coming from the fore cabin. I went in and turned on the light to find Lily kneeling up in bed, her hair and clothes covered in vomit, as well as her bottom sheet, her pillow and her duvet. Yep, those same ones I had laundered earlier in the day.
Julian saw to Lily, cleaning her up and changing her clothes, while I delicately removed the bottom sheet from under Katie (so as not to wake her in the process), stripped Lily’s side of the bed, and threw everything out into the cockpit.
We don’t have much in the way of spare bedding aboard Carina, and Lily’s mattress was covered in vomit. I washed it as best I could and, because it was now wet, put Lily in our bed in the aft cabin, under our one spare single summer duvet. (I put her on Julian’s side of course!). I put a basin beside her and hoped for the best.
Last night Julian slept in the saloon in a sleeping bag, and I slept in the aft cabin in a sleeping bag with Lily beside me under a thin duvet. Only Katie got an undisturbed night’s sleep. Despite the leopard print hot water bottle I was given as a Christmas present, I was cold for much of what was our coldest night so far this winter.
I’m sitting in bed writing this. If the running around, giggling and serious discussion about Frozen is anything to go by, our patient is fully recovered. At some point I’m going to have to get up and face the small mountain of vomit covered bedding up in the cockpit. It looks like there will be not one, but two, trips to the launderette this morning. And in the glaring morning sunlight I’ll see what I missed when trying to clean up the mess in the dim half-light in our cabins last night. Maybe I should just refill the hot water bottle and get back into the sleeping bag!!