Stomach Bug 101
"Somewhere, some lucky guy is having a heart attack." -Edward Cole (played by Jack Nicholson in the movie The Bucket List) makes this statement while dealing with the ill effects of chemotherapy while dying of cancer. (We watched this movie one night during our illness and we couldn't help but identify with that line.)
So, these past weeks, we have had a long run of it (pardon the pun) and I am now feeling up to sharing the lessons we have learned along the way. I am guessing our little visit from Mr. Rota/Norwalk/or-whatever-gastrointestinal-bug-it-was-we-so-graciously-took-into-our-home-recently was a good reminder of just how fortunate we usually are to have such good health.
What everyone needs to know about the stomach bug
1. Don't piss it off.
Seriously, I wrote last week that we don't like the stomach bug. Although true, that was mean and uncalled for and payback is a b!t%#. Kurt and I suffered longer and more intensely (seemingly) than any of the kids. No one escaped this guy and many of us even had recurring symptoms days after we thought they were gone. I wouldn't be surprised if it showed up for an hour or two sometime next month, just as a little reminder to be nice....
2. Don't feed it the wrong thing (because this breaks rule #1).
Kurt, that means no ice cream just because the McDonalds (also the wrong thing) stayed in okay. (You can see the issue here: If mom and dad are both sick, who's gonna feed the kids?) And on that note, saltine crackers or bread, timed just right, are in fact your only ally....until they aren't....which brings me to:
3. You can, in fact, go too BRATY.
You know that old "BRAT diet" (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) we were once told to follow for prolonged diarrhea? Yeah, well, you can take it too far...you can back yourself so far up that the only way to find relief is a stick of well-placed dynamite....and then you are back to the starting point. Seriously though, this is where it was learned that you have very little recourse to fight the beast. As many doctors have told many people, it will run its course. Often, the more you interfere, the harder the recovery. So, that well-intentioned cup of warm tea on an empty stomach first thing this morning, trying to get the pipes moving again? Yeah, bad idea. Did it work? Sure, almost too well. And then I suffered all day with acid stomach issues for putting tea in an empty stomach after having a stomach bug. (See Rule #2) And because of having acid partying in my stomach, lurching towards anything I tried putting down there, I ended up dehydrated again and starving to the point of nausea by dinner....all because a little bug went Kerchoo....
4. Save the cleaning for a better day.
Hoping that I could keep the little germikins from spreading, I spent three crazy hours cloroxing my entire house down after my last blog post, and then followed everyone around with a can of Lysol in one hand, rags in the other and a spray bottle of Clorox Clean-up (just in case) hanging from my pants pocket. And I probably would have bathed the kids in the stuff if it couldn't seriously damage them. My hands were raw and close to bleeding from the washing and scrubbing and disinfecting that took place over those few days when I naively thought I could keep the bug at bay.
As I was curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor, moaning to Kurt that he either had to shoot me or have my doctor-dad call me in something to put me out of my misery, it occurred to me that the amount of undue energy spent on disinfecting the place was totally not worth it. That truth was verified as I paid attention over the next few days and realized that with little kids in the house, it doesn't matter what you do. The germs are bound to spread. I watched as Madeline picked her teeth with her unwashed fingers while sitting on the toilet. I saw Lily retreat to a lonely corner to pick her nose, study it and then wipe it on the wall. On the day Liam was most sick, he used his hand as a teether and then, catching me off guard, stuck it straight into my mouth! Even Aidan, in the middle of the disgusting week, was seen biting and then rubbing his nose across the corner of the kitchen table. It's actually no wonder they (we) are not constantly sick if you want to know the truth. So again, save the cleaning for when it will matter: like when they've all left for college.
And so, since I am such an ungraceful chicken when it comes to nausea and vomiting, (I'd rather give birth a dozen times, NATURALLY, then go through the misery of the stomach bug) I now need to go implement my new nightly sacrifice to the health gods so that they may bring us continued good health, and perhaps bless us with much more of that good bacteria that will um, eat the bad germs in our bellies. No offense of course, sweet germs, we really um, appreciate your visit, really....but if you'd just call next time, I'd be happy to tell you of some other spectacular vacation spots, somewhere else, somewhere new, somewhere far, far away....