Vail Novice Father: New dad deals with a household epidemic |

Vail Novice Father: New dad deals with a household epidemic

Kelly Coffey
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado “-When you’re sick in Vail, Colorado ” real, whole body ache, dizzy when you stand up, vomiting sick ” all you want to do is lie around and be taken care of. The proper recovery process for this kind of illness involves devoting a healthy amount of time to feeling sorry for yourself.

When your infant has the same sickness, however, your time is spent elsewhere.

My wife, my 11-month old daughter, and I all got sick at the same time. No family member was spared. There was carnage like this household has never seen before. Melodrama ran rampant.

I spent the week figuring out how to take care of a sick baby when all I wanted to do was to have somebody else take care of me.

It first began with the Kid. I found her one morning sleeping soundly in her crib, but surrounded by her own vomit. This required both parents to dive into emergency cleaning mode: dump the bedding and pajamas in the washer; dump the Kid into the bathtub. There would be more vomiting. There would be more cleaning. I never felt safe enough to put the carpet cleaning solution back under the sink.

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

The Kid had no energy in her body. When she was awake, she would only lie there. She no longer gave the standard resistance during diaper changes. The Kid only wanted to sleep or be held.

Two days later I got the bug. My daughter and I shared the same symptoms. Unfortunately there was nobody big enough to carry me to bed.

The following day my wife came home early from work. I lifted my head off the couch just enough to ask her what she was doing home. “I feel like I’m going the throw up,” she said, a touch of the inevitable in her voice.

The next days involved my wife and me competing in the “who’s sicker” contest. The winner got to stay in bed while the loser dealt with the crying Kid at 3 o’clock in the morning. I’ve been out of practice with those late-night wake up calls.

The Kid drank Pedialite ” a Gatorade-like drink that put fluids back in her dehydrated body. I considered taking shots of that myself. And I likely would have if I believed I wouldn’t throw it back up again.

As the days passed we all got a little better. I could make it to the bathroom and back standing up the whole way. The Kid began to get squirmy again. It was at that point ” when I saw the first signs of my own recovery ” when I switched into germ eradication mode. I took a shower and put on clean pajamas. I washed my sheets. I shaved. So much of recovering from a sickness is internal. It’s as if this cleaning binge is the visible part of that process.

Though I never had time to dive into a satisfying amount of self-pity, I did manage to indulge in small bouts of it whenever I had a free moment. When you’re determined to feel sorry for yourself, you find a way.

Kelly Coffey is a novice father. He shares his mistakes, fears, and laughs along his journey to figure out how anybody could possibly raise a child. Submit comments to

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