Do you have any Pepto? I'm, she texted. (Mom has yet to master the whole texting phenomenon.) But I didn't need the rest of the text to understand: she was sick with a stomach virus. And she was just at my house for, like, the whole weekend. Between her and the rest of the neighborhood, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it would only be a matter of time before the yucky germ infested someone else. Someone close to home. But I chose to be optimistic. "We're all healthy!" I said out loud (and overly enthusiastically) to no one in particular, as though simply sending the words out into the atmosphere would make it true.
You have to understand my aversion to vomit. It's not just that it grosses me out - on top of that, it gives me, like, a panic attack. At the first sign of a gag, or even an "I-think-I'm-gonna-barf" face, my heart starts racing and I literally feel fear. You can imagine how I feel when a stomach virus sweeps through the house. But as a mom, I have no choice; these things must be dealt with, and dads are great at dramatically pretending they can't handle it.
My mom wanted sweet tea, so I made a pitcher and dropped it off at her house, trying to talk without breathing too deeply as she told me about how she'd thrown up all night long. When I got back into the car, where I'd made the kids wait, Colin was like, "My stomach hurts."
"You're fine!" I chirped. "Just fine!" Lord please just let it be that he's hungry or he has to poop or something.
We got home. I was making dinner. Colin was laying on the couch watching TV. And then:
"Mommy!" he whimpered. "I accidentally threw up on the couch."
Most moms are kind and patient and sympathetic when their kids are puking, right? My own mom used to rub my back as I heaved into the toilet. But I'm not like that. Call me a terrible parent, call me callous and insensitive, but I can't deal - especially when I know that the puker in question is well old enough to make it to the toilet.
Sure enough, "I accidentally threw up on the couch" was an understatement. He may as well have said, "The lasagna I had for lunch only half-digested and is now splattered on the seat, back, arm, between the cushions, dripping off my chin and forearms, all over the comforter I dragged off the bed, and oh yeah, on these two pillows."
"Colin!" I shrieked. "You know that when you throw up you have to get to the toilet!"
"I tried," the poor guy said weakly. "I'm sorry, Mommy."
But "sorry" doesn't clean up the couch and wash the comforter. I put Colin in the shower and set about cleaning and disinfecting. (And yes, later I told him I felt bad that he's sick and rubbed his back. But NOT while he was barfing.)
So now it's official. The stomach virus is in the house. It's only a matter of time. I'm preparing for it the way someone might prepare for a major snowstorm or, you know, an apocalypse. Laundering all the bedding and towels, stocking up on medicine and clear fluids, gathering up my antibacterial cleaning products, spraying everything with disinfectant, washing my hands until my knuckles are raw.
And as if on cue, I just glanced at Coby, who was standing very still in the kitchen. When I asked if he was feeling okay he said, "Yeah. Well, sort of okay. My stomach is kind of hurtable."
Break out the sanitizer. I think we're in for it.
POST-SCRIPT: I'm writing this two days later because I couldn't get out of bed to post the original. Just as I thought, Coby was the next to come down with the ick. And as I lay there awake in bed that night, listening for the first sign of a cough or gurgle from the other rooms, I started to shiver. Then I started to feel nauseated. I willed it away, but no matter how hard I wished, by morning it had hit me like a truck. Let me tell you: nothing is more SUPER AWESOME than changing diarrhea diapers and watching other people vomit while you're trying to hold it all back yourself.
Not only that, but while I was sick, the kids got better. So they took full advantage of my convalescence and ran amok, as largely unsupervised little boys tend to do. Which is why every single room in my house pretty much looks like this, or worse:
Note the vacuum sitting there ... as if somebody's gonna use it. Haha.
Yesterday I mustered all the strength I could gather, peeled myself out of bed, and disinfected every knob, handle, remote, and toilet in the house. Cameron and Curtis still haven't gotten the virus - plus my brother is coming this weekend - so I'm trying to get a handle on it before anyone else falls victim. My hands are as dry as freaking sandpaper, but at least my toilets are sanitized.
Today I'm dressed. I look normal. I'm not throwing up. But I still feel like I have either a.) morning sickness or b.) a massive hangover. Neither of which are fun when you've got a massive housecleaning to undertake and four children to
At least maybe I lost a few pounds ...