It’s been quite the hectic days as of late. I always loathe this time of year. I miss those summer days of carefreeness and no sickness in the family. The plague has arrived on schedule this year. With the resumption of school, comes the beginning of the fall offensive on my children and this house. I never really appreciated being healthy and not sick this time of year until I had children. I didn’t have my first kid until I was 36 years old. The memories of getting sick as a child had long faded and I really didn’t get sick that much. It wasn’t until my daughter entered daycare at 1 year old that the germs hit me.
I remember the first time she brought home the stomach bug. My little girl was barfing and pooping all over the place. I think it was the first of many times I would present myself to my boss, hat in hand, and ask for time off for sick kids. Within 48 hours, I found myself also hurling like i’ve never hurled before. I’ll admit that I may have succumbed to alcohol poisoning a time or two on shore leave in far off distant places, but this took the cake. It literally felt like I had been poisoned and my body was just letting go of it all. When the barfing phase was complete, then the bubble guts started. The sickness starts shooting out the bottom end as violently as it did on the top end. My heart rate was accelerated, I was severely dehydrated, and I couldn’t stomach anything. I told the wife she needed to take me to the base and get me to the corpsman. In the bathroom I might of even yelled, “Corpsman up!”
We arrived on base and I was delirious. The corpsman hooked me up to an IV and I began to absorb some much needed liquids through my arm since my digestive system wasn’t cooperating. The corpsman hooked me up to a second bag and I started coming out of my fog. I began to desperately tell him to get the Doctors, call the base officials, something on this base poisoned me. I remember saying, “No seriously, write this down! I was in the gym and drank the water, and then I had lunch at McDonalds. I want the water checked and somebody to go check the meat at McDonalds. This could kill people!” He assured me it was only a stomach bug. ONLY, a stomach bug. My body would question that word ONLY.
I understand now that the sickness is packaged with having children. It isn’t any better this year than years past. I would say the worst of it was when I had two kids in daycare. When the second kid came off the breast milk it was open season in my house for germs. (Breast milk has super powers to fight off germs BTW) Luckily, I worked for some really good bosses that understood what I was going through. The wife had “zero” time off and I was literally taking one or two days off every week. The oldest would get sick for two days and then the second one would get sick a few days later. They never were sick at the same time. It was so exhausting going to your boss every week and saying, “hey boss, I have a kid sick again. I need a few days off.” I was literally getting stressed at work because I felt like I needed to stay three steps ahead of anybody’s requirements because I could get that dreaded phone call at any minute, “Hey, your kid is barfing all over the place.”
I also just learned to deal with it. Little people will get sick. Start staging the cleaning supplies upstairs. Make sure you know where the extra sheets are at. Stock up on all the medicine. Give your thanks to the person who created that wonderful mattress barrier that is impervious to bodily fluids. I stopped caring about who got sick where, or when, or whom did they get it from. It doesn’t matter. You can’t hide from this type of germ warfare. You are exceptionally vulnerable to it if your kids are in daycare or school.
Good luck everyone during the fall offensive. Understand that this war is long. The winter offensive comes next. Just get the supplies ready, be prepared to push the medicine to children who do not want medicine, and remember to wash your hands.
And, most of all, Embrace the Suck!