Friday, December 9, 2016



Pooh. It’s everywhere. It’s like a sewage treatment center decided to go Al Qaeda and blow itself up. In my house. There’s poop on the floor. There’s poop on the towels. There’s poop in the tub. In the tub. Poop. In my tub. Where I wash. There may be poop on the coats. I don’t know. Step in vomit on my way to the trashcan. I make a mental note and add that pile to the list of places to tiptoe around. I throw the towels into the laundry basket and make another mental note: It’s time to give the laundry lady a raise. She washes this excreta by hand. One thing when it’s the baby’s diapers. Another thing when…

Two hours prior…

I’m doing some AHI work in the bedroom and distracting myself, frequently playing with the two girls and Zane. Lyol was off playing outside. I come into the kitchen to start thinking about making some dinner. Addison comes to tell me Mommy’s vomiting.

I peek into the bathroom. Girl don’t lie. Mommy be retching. Need anything? No? Water? Juice? Crackers? Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast? Ok, cool. Let me know if you need anything.

We live in Tchad. We barf. It’s what we do.

Mommy goes into the bedroom. For a minute.

Mommy sprints back into the bathroom. Mommy tosses Mommy’s cookies.

Mommy comes out of the bathroom. Mommy goes to the kitchen. Mommy starts puking in the kitchen sink. Where our food comes from. Where we bleach our food. Mental note: Add extra bleach to the next sinkful of fresh fruits and veggies.

Her hair is already tied back, so no need for my assistance there. I reach around her head quickly and turn on the faucet to start the drainage. I narrowly miss the splash zone. Whew.

Mommy grabs a bucket and goes back into the bedroom. I inspect the sink and turn off the faucet.

I hear Mommy upchucking into the bucket in the bedroom. Crossing fingers it isn’t splashing onto the sheets.

Mommy has a pause in her ralphing. She runs to the bathroom. No love. Lyol is already on the toilet.

Mommy starts hurling into the tub. So not cool.

Mommy needs to defecate.

Lyol is still on the toilet.

Mommy decides to make a break for the other toilet. The one we never use. Because it’s nasty.

Mommy makes it. Barely. Mommy takes a dump.

But then Mommy starts dry heaving. I grab her a fresh bucket. Mommy decides to make a break for the original toilet once Lyol is done.

Mommy. Doesn’t. Quite. Make. It.

Mommy has pooped extra-toiletally. Extra-toiletal poop is not poop we find funny in this household. It’s not funny poop.

Mommy just lays down. In it. And it doesn’t stop. This has officially developed into a literal poopstorm.

Mommy would be going caca in her pants. But she’s not wearing any anymore. And a thong is not very… protective… of my towels.

Mommy is still spewing out her mouth too. But she’s no longer sitting up to do that. She just turns her head to the side and lets it dribble out. Mommy has given up. There is no more sentiment of personal pride. There is no more caring about appearances. Until Daddy starts writing a blog about it. But for now…

Mommy needs an IV.

I call Ndilbe while I run up to the hospital to grab the necessary medications and supplies. Ndilbe comes and gets her IV. Before he gets there, she grabs a few more towels to cover herself up. Mommy has now relieved herself on the towels. I would say she’s having a BM, but there doesn’t seem to be much ‘movement’ going on. Just an open tube, leaking. My mental notes are getting numerous. But those towels just became guest towels. Sorry if you come to visit. I. Just. Can’t. Ever. Again.

I give Danae a bottle of IV fluids with Phenergan for her nausea. Along with a couple ampoules of Vitamin B and max dose cimetidine. Then max dose IV Flagyl. Then max dose IV Cipro. Then more IV fluids. She wants a bath. Would you like that in bleach or alcohol? She doesn’t find me humorous.

I run a warm bath. She crawls in.

I go out and feed the kids dinner, checking in on her frequently.

Ummm… Sweetheart… did you just evacuate your bowels in the tub? Yeah? Ok. Cool. Mental note: Outdoor showers are coming back into vogue. Build one tonight.

Darling… there seems to be more fecal matter in the tub than there was last time. Did you just turd in the tub… again? What do you mean you’re not sure? How many times can you go number two?

Dear… can I drain the water and refill the tub for you? Why? Because there are so many chunks floating about I could practically walk on water. Look right there. See that? It’s like an entire tomato peel. I can tell you exactly what you’ve eaten in the past 24 hours. And what you haven’t chewed thoroughly, which appears to be everything. This bath is about equal parts water and liquid stool.

Poor girl. The Phenergan has completely knocked her out. It does that to me too. She barely knows what’s going on. Or what’s going out, for that matter.

Ummm… ummm… ummm… Honey, would you like me to help you shower the tub poop off of you before you get into bed? No? Ok. So you’re just getting out of the poop tub and going to lay straight down in our bed with tub poop on you? Ok. Cool. Ummm… yeah… cool… ok.

I put the kids in bed.

And now here I am, trying to makes sense of the gruesome war scene before me. A little shellshocked. A little PTSD. I’d make a horrible soldier. If this were real war, some sniper on the ridge could totally cherry pick me. I’m standing in the middle of the living room. I look up at the ceiling fan spinning mockingly over my head. Is it possible some of the poo hit that fan too? This is carnage.

Can one human really create so much feces? This just ain’t right, man. ‘For better or worse’ might not have considered this… I mean, how could you imagine this? This was covered neither in pre-marital counseling nor high school Marriage and Family class. All I had to do in high school was carry around a sack of flour all day. Not a sack of doo-doo.

I double check the kitchen sink. I rinse out the tub. For the second time. I consider the sterilizing effects of gasoline and a match, but I decide to take less extreme measures. I put the towels in the dirty laundry. I wipe the vomit up off the floor. I collect the barf buckets.

And I keep giving Mommy fluids throughout the whole thing.

We have cholera beds in the hospital. They’re regular beds, but with holes cut in the middle, where the butt goes. Because these patients can’t even get out of bed. They just poop where they lay.

I set up my bed on the couch.

I’m pretty sure if I get into our California King bed with her… I’d be pooped upon.

All night long, I keep replacing fluids.

I don’t know if this is cholera, but cholera patients can poop 20 liters a day of fluids, and 10% of their body weight in poop in 2-4 hours. By morning, Mommy has received 10.8 liters of fluids. That’s 24 pounds of fluids I put into my 112-pound wife overnight. Over 20% of her body weight.

Mommy is puffy. Like, Michelin-Woman Puffy. Mommy won’t let me take pictures of her. When she’s awake.

But it’s safe to say Victoria has no more secrets. The proof is in the stains.

Anyway, Mommy will be fine. Physically.

But let’s face it. The emotional scars one can’t see… they don’t heal as quickly.


  1. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I was definitely laughing, but is it okay to laugh when someone's so sick? You just write so well. I hope she's well soon. Man, no kidding you were made for each other. What other wife on this planet would let her husband put this in a blog?

  2. Hello missionaries! This story is so painful to read. I'm so very sorry you're going through this in addition to everything else you deal with on a daily basis. I hope this illness is short-lived and not shared with the rest of the family. I have been devouring your blog over the last day or so and enjoying it very much. We can all learn from your experiences in Tchad. We are so fortunate in America. I think of all the medical supplies we throw out regularly at my work because they are expired. I wonder if there is a way they could go to you instead?