It was but three days after I posted that none of us had been sick that Half-O awoke (both herself and myself) at 2ish am coughing/gagging/vomiting in her bed. I quickly picked her up and headed for the toilet (why didn't I grab a bowl rather than have a toddler try to vomit into a toilet? It was 2 am - plus Half-O had never been sick like that before). The poor girl was seriously shaken by this new experience. Luckily there's that adrenaline rush afterwards, so I was able to strip her down, wipe her off and give her a book to read while I stripped down her bed (Foo Foo had been graciously spared), wiped it down, put on new sheets, cleaned the vomit off me, and put all the soiled linen in soapy water. It was triage. I was truly thinking/hoping the offending food was out of her system now, and I could just put her in new PJ's, read her a book or two, give her a couple sips of water, and we could all go back to bed within the hour. Real clean-up could be done in the morning.
But as I filled the basin with soapy water, I heard her gag again (One Fish, Two Fish was also graciously spared). I ran and grabbed her again - and again returned to the toilet. This time she was less shaken and more ticked. This time I was less asleep and more aware that she was sick and we weren't making that 3 am bedtime. This time the adrenaline period was spent gently wiping her down and comforting ...and getting a bowl.
For the next 3 hours she vomited every 10-20 minutes. It was all bile and dry heaving from #3 on. Around #5 The Archaeologist woke up. I was grateful. He hadn't been asleep long and had a full day ahead, so I didn't want to wake him ...but of course, wanted him to be awake and with us. By this time she was screaming in pain/frustration with each go. Finally she was so exhausted, she fell asleep in our arms for 20 minute intervals waking to throw-up and cry and then fall back asleep.
Since it wasn't subsiding, we left for a 24 hr clinic/hospital right before dawn. It was an awkward introduction to Peru's health system. The insurance doesn't kick in for two months, so the first thing said to us was their base price for a consultation - for walking in the door (it was steep). Then they checked her vitals. Then she threw-up. Then they gave her an anti-nausea suppository (so many new experiences). Then she threw-up again. They brought in some electrolyte solution and gave her what seemed like a lot for someone unable to keep the bile in her stomach and said to repeat that dose every ten minutes. The Dr. stopped by, saw that she had thrown-up again, and said to do half as much every 5 minutes. About 15 minutes later, it all came up and the Archaeologist called to cancel his morning appointment.
So now the Dr. suggests admitting her to the hospital for an 8 hour IV drip and 2 day stay. I thought 2 days sounded extreme. I thought the amount of liquid they had expected to stay down so soon after the anti-nausea suppository was extreme. I realized she had expelled a lot of liquid - but also realized she wasn't dehydrated yet. So, I suggested that we try smaller/tiny doses every ten or fifteen minutes and wait a half-hour or so to see if they stayed down. The Archaeologist agreed with me and translated the idea back to the Doctor. Lost in translation was that the Dr. hadn't actually been suggesting the hospitalization but prescribing it. The Archaeologist explained this to me after he left - apparently I missed the face of a man unaccustomed to being questioned.
To clairfy - we were not underestimating dehydration nor weighing our daughter's health and well-being against the $3000 bill for hospitalization. It was just that I've previously talked with nurses regarding hydration when The Archaeologist had been sick, and they said a tablespoon of rehydration solution every 20 minutes was equivalent to an IV drip (provided he could keep that down - but generally that small amount stays down). This method seemed way better suited to a toddler's temperament - even a weakened one - I mean Half-O hooked up to an IV for 8 hours??? So hoping the anti-nausea medicine had finally kicked in, I gave her about 15 ml every 10-15 minutes. We started at 7:45am and by 9:30 we got to go home (with instructions that if she threw-up again we had to bring her back and likely hospitalize her).
Fortunately, she did alright with her "special water," graduating to broth and jello in the evening and is now back to solids. Her cheeks are rosy, and she is bouncing around just slightly less boisterously than usual.