“Mrs. Johnston, Jimmy just puked!” said Jack and I just sat down at the lunch table of the cafeteria at the school. Everyone’s milk was open, the class was settled and I had just gotten a taste of my soup as I realized it was barely luke warm.
I looked down the table and Jimmy was just sitting there at the table not moving and staring at his lunch tray with his mouth dirty, his right hand dripping, and a puddle on the floor. I grabbed the tray and said, “Let’s go clean you and and then we will call your mother. Looks like you are going home early today, Buddy.”
As we head for the door I asked him, “Are you okay or are you going to be sick again?”
“No, I am fine,” he said weakly and his started to heave. I angle the tray and suddenly a garbage can appeared from out of no where as the para swooped in just in time. How I LOVE our para support. Jimmy hadn’t had time to eat much lunch, but his body was not happy with any stomach contains left behind. We quickly high tailed into the boys’ bathroom before round three of nausea took hold as we attempted the sprint and drag in tandem with my poor little student who had still not complained once about this stomach.
“Are you okay here while I got get a bucket?”I asked.
Another weak, “Yeah,” from Jimmy and I take off on a half run, wondering if the school secretary is watching the video and is alarmed that I am running down the hallway. Unfortunately, I know exactly where the ice cream pail is in my room in case I have a child who needs to vomit and I grab a plastic cup. It has been a rough year for stomach issues in my classroom.
As I race back, I tell myself the rest of the class in fine, because there are other teachers and paras are there. I am sure they say the spectacle. I also wonder if I will be able to have lunch today at all or if I care after this latest development.
As I round the corner, poor Jimmy has not moved. His hand has stopped dripping, but is still a mess even though he is standing right by the sink. He has just frozen and is waiting for me to come back and take care of him. As I am rushing around to get things taken care of the back of my mind says to be kind and compassionate because he has to be feel awful. This is his first day back to school this week.
“Are you feeling better? Sometimes you feel better after you get sick,” I say and we start to clean his hands. He never even attempts to clean his face when I give him the water to rise his mouth out. I take a paper towel and clean his face and clean off the spots on his shirt. Yeah, the pants seem fine.
I model washing my hands like I am going into surgery in a few minutes way up passed the wrists just in case. So now ice cream pail in hand, we head to his locker and have him change his shirt in the hallway. He gives me a funny look.
“It’s okay because there isn’t anybody here and you are a boy,” I say to ease his concern as his pulls his shirt over his head. I pull the clean shirt over his head, pinning his arm to his sides for a moment before he finds the sleeves. I pile up his coat, pack his backpack and we are down to the school office to have the secretary call his parents. She settles him into the seat and asks if he had a bucket, which Jimmy lifts it up to show her. I tell him I hope he feels better and I will see him next week, but not tomorrow yet.
I stop back in the boys bathroom to give my hands a second scrubbing for returning to the lunch room, and the custodian says, “I can’t hardly stand this kind of crap. I have a strong gag reflex.” Gee, thanks for sharing.
“Yeah, and I get to go back to eating my lunch,” and some how and sit down and I eat the soup I left on the table. How I ever got to be so callous I don’t know? Still, it doesn’t taste good. I am just going to get the orange, and toss the rest in the garbage can.