Friday, November 16, 2007


There is a virulent stomach bug attacking Oak Parkers this month. Everyone's talking about it, as mass illness of this nature tends to bring out the small town in people. And everyone has a story about who caught it, what horrible havoc it wrecked on them, and who the "Typhoid Mary" is in their crowd.

I listened with distant sympathy, initially. I don't get sick. Yes, I have been struggled with anemia for several years now. But I don't get sick. I get sick seldom enough that it is News in my family when it occurs. It is a badge of honor. It is will power.

So, as I watched the men of the family come down with the bug, I again felt sympathy, of course. And a certain secret sense of superiority, as I knew I wasn't going to be suffering as they were. And suffering they were, and did. Looked nasty. Appeared to involve worshiping the porcelain god, moaning, and a great deal of restless sleeping. Thank goodness I wouldn't be subjected to such indignities.

Two days after Jon finished tossing his cookies, the mighty fell. Well, I didn't actually fall. I was sitting at Thursday AM Bible study, kvetching about how annoyingly unfair the Old Testament God seems to be, when I noticed that my stomach and surrounding environs ached. Being a bit weight-fixated at the moment, I decided that my jeans were too tight. Wrenching myself of the daydream about yelling at God over the unfairness of being 45, a daily exerciser, and overweight, I ignored said ache.

Drove home. Felt worse. Couldn't ignore it. Do you know why one salivates so excessively before, during and after regurgitation? To protect teeth enamel, Wikipedia tells me. I've always wondered about this. Finally looked it up 36 hours after the couldn't ignore it segment of pre-illness.

And it was a rather ignominious 36 hours. It is so annoying to lose an imagined superiority in such a stunning uncomfortable fashion. The last time I ached this much was after skiing a 50k race in my 30s with little preparation. Since I don't believe in getting sick, I can't actually remember the last time I had to invoke vomit euphemisms in the first person.

Parenthetically speaking, I remember making lists of those euphemisms during long Y swim meets with my friends. We'd sit and lick our fingers, full of red dry Jello mix (for energy!), and toss out vile descriptive words and phrases with glee. Young people don't mind talking about the V word because they have short memories. They don't remember how awful it is to actually do the V word.

But I digress. :-)

There is nothing like a stomach virus to give you a new and enhanced appreciation for the incredible variety and strength of said viruses. Each person seems to suffer in their own unique way. Jonathan slept for 15 hours the first day, which is often his response to illness. Carl didn't have the luxury of quite so much sleep, but was pleased to become ill on a non-football, non-Bach Cantata weekend.

Sleep was not happening for me, as I hurt too much. I finally gave in and took a Tylenol Plus Other Drugs That Knock You Out, and surrendered to a blissful sleep. Woke up various times to text with Annie about who was driving her where and when, and to pet the Maggie dog, keeping me warm during my feverish ups and downs. Carl felt sorry enough for me that he didn't even complain about the dog being on his side of the bed.

I am better today. No technicolor emissions. Not much food, either. One of this viruses cunning symptoms is its ability to restrict food intake to small, bland and boring for some days after it surfaces. I rose from the couch this evening to bake some cupcakes. Don't ask why. After a few licks of the batter, why I had only eaten yogurt and a few crackers became quite obvious. Hmm. Back to crackers for another day, I think.

Annie has yet to contract the disease. She's off at a party this evening (a birthday party for a 16 year old in Chicago hotel??) then sleeping over at the virus-free home of another friend. Either she'll avoid it all by being away, or she'll come home exhausted and m
y humbling experience with virology won't be over quite yet.

Back to the couch to finish reading another Henning Mankell mystery. (Thanks, J!)



Post a Comment

<< Home