BALANCING ACT:   Family succumbs to stomach flu

Staff writer

It started with a grinding pain in my stomach. Something like hunger gnawed at my insides, but it quickly turned into some unknown monster running a Dremel drill up and down my intestinal track. Little did I know it was the “flu that stole Christmas.”

Everyone knows the story about the “Grinch That Stole Christmas” — a greedy, green bulb-headed, long-fingered nasally character takes Christmas toys and supposedly the joy of the season from the citizens of a little town.

Well, somewhat like that Christmas movie, Christmas vacation 2012 came and went at our house a little differently this year than planned, all because of the flu bug.

My husband got it first. He made it through Christmas shopping, but just barely. Once back home, he bailed out of the pickup and stood behind the tailgate clinging on for dear life as his body let loose of all that ailed him.

For the first time in as many years as I can remember, we all were not able to go to the church Christmas Eve program together. Sadly, the flu won round one.

Round two also went to the flu. My son, Keenan, never had a chance. I knew we weren’t going to be opening Christmas presents bright and early Christmas morning when I heard from the top of the stairs, not Santa Claus and his reindeer flying away, but a wretched, “Mom — I don’t feel good,” followed by, well, only a parent can imagine what came cascading down the stairs next.

Three times cleaning and disinfecting the stairs, and four times mopping the path to the bathroom later, Keenan was feeling better but I was not well.

At first, I thought maybe I had food poisoning from something I ate the day before, my gut twisted and hurt. I do not get sick often, but this nasty virus knocked me out. The worst part was not only wondering if I could make it to the bathroom on time, but wondering which end was going to worship the porcelain god when I got there.

For some reason, I experienced some irony in the fact that our toilet lid brand name said “Church” on it. I never noticed that before. I threw up five times in eight hours, dry heaving the last several experiences. I hate that.

Finally, fortified by herbal tea and soda crackers, I knew the worst was over and slept like a log. When I finally ventured out of the bedroom the next day, the kids snickered and said I looked like Zombie Mom. Oh well, at least I was upright.

Unfortunately, my daughter succumbed next to hosting that bad virus. Poor thing threw up in the Scrabble game box someone left beside her bed.

Oh well, clean up was easy, I just had to replace the lid and dump the game in a garbage bag. I probably will not ever play Scrabble again.

The power of that little flu virus was truly amazing. It took a lot of the joy of family togetherness away from our Christmas 2012, but in a way, since we all shared in the experience it made memories.

I saw on televised news Sunday that a strain of flu virus more severe than that of years’ past was making its way across the United States. I just hope our family battle with the stomach flu “Grinch” will build our immunity for the New Year.

We are definitely ready to say out with the old (in more ways than one), and in with the new for 2013.

 

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