Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Stomach Bug Is the Ultimate Parental Rite of Passage

I have a small obsession with not throwing up. It's almost a hobby, really. I had a 25 year run without losing my lunch that was only broken by a rogue 24 hour bug that Matt and I shared a couple years ago. Anyway, it's important that you know this about me before you read the rest of this post. I think it will give you insight into why my child's first stomach bug qualifies me for some sort of PTSD diagnosis.

When I gave birth to my firstborn 4.3 years ago, there was a small sense of foreboding in the back of my mind regarding the possibility that this child might one day have a reason to toss his cookies. It wasn't something I thought about a lot, but whenever someone else's kid got sick or I heard about someone who knew someone who's aunt in Greenville had caught a stomach bug from her cousin, I instantly assumed that soon enough, the stomach bug would be at our doorstep. I knew that one day it would find us.

And so it did. (Cue ominous music: DUN, Dun, dun)

The Samster caught some sort of cold this last weekend and spiked a fever that was a bit concerning. Sam hasn't been sick for 12 whole months and I really thought we might just make it out of this winter without a visit to the doctor. He does an elderberry shot (as in cup, not needle) every evening and I'm not sure if the elderberry is to thank for his health or if my constant mantra of "Wash Your Hands!" is. There's also the minor factor of my love affair with Purell and all things anti-bacterial (Yes, I know that we're cultivating a resistance to the superbug by using these products and I've added that to my list of things to be occasionally freaked out about).

Anyhoo, long story short, after a fun Saturday night sleepover with the grandparents, Sam caught a stomach bug from my mom which didn't make an appearance until Monday. You don't really need a timeline, but basically the little guy ended up with a nasty respiratory infection AND a doubly nasty stomach bug as a bonus. Blergh.

And thus ensued a week of gross. And also of me having small panic attacks that I might in fact be going to throw up, too. I'm pathetic and I realize this.

Let it be known that despite my paralyzing fear of vomit, I did a pretty stand-up job at keeping things together. I Lysol-ed the ENTIRE house, washed every item of clothing and blanket that came in contact with the dreaded bug, offered every sort of remedy to help Sam feel better, and let him watch a bazillion cartoons that literally numbed my brain after a week of listening to the tinny voices of Jake and his Neverland Pirates. I must admit that once we knew the stomach bug had descended, I let Matt take one for the team by sleeping on the floor in Sam's room that night. Matt did not make it out unscathed. Luckily, I keep a large supply of Oxi-Clean in our laundry room and so Matt's pajama pants and sweatshirt will live to see another stain-free day.

It was a week. There really are no adjectives for it. Basically, we just survived the ultimate parental gauntlet that is the stomach bug. My sick-day arsenal now includes a fridge full of gatorade, a counter covered with antibiotics, anti-nausea medication, Children's Ibuprofen and a pantry full of Saltines.

I'm currently waiting for my Parents' Stomach Bug Survival badge to arrive in the mail. If one doesn't come, I may just craft one for myself or order one on Etsy.

Basically, I've scientifically determined that living through your child's stomach bug is the ultimate rite of passage for parentals. It's like The Crucible for the Marine Corps or the Ironman Challenge for athletes. It's the Mount Everest climb where you lose all your gear in an avalanche and maybe a toe or two to frostbite, but when you make it to the top you look around, plant your flag, and realize that you SURVIVED.

I realize I'm being a teensy bit dramatic. Maybe.

In related news, someone told me that drinking a glass of grape juice every day can protect you from the stomach bug. (I'm thinking similar results can be attained from a glass of wine). I've already had Matt purchase both and I'll be partaking liberally in hopes of preventing a week like this one from happening EVER AGAIN.

P.S. Sam's much better, albeit a bit thinner and a little pale. We'll remedy that soon with a batch of cookies and an afternoon in the sun. 


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