The ‘G’ word

In my experience raising kids, there are two very dangerous times of year – December and April. Not for any financial reasons but those seem to be the two months every year when someone comes down with gas**o, short for gas**oenteritis. The very word I fear saying or typing more than Betelgeuse or Voldemort (he who shall not be named) lest I invite its wrath.

I don’t know where this abomination of an illness came from but I honestly don’t ever remember having it as a kid. We only had to deal with comparatively tame stuff like Mumps, Chicken Pox, Measles, and Whooping Cough.

Out of consideration for those blissfully unaware, and for those with young kids who have been, or are going through it, I’ll refrain from going into extensive detail. Suffice to say, gas**o swoops down into your home like a hurricane in a trailer park, indiscriminately demolishing some members of the family while completely skipping over others, for no apparent rhyme or reason. If you’re the one family member who manages to dodge the bullet, you’ll be left with the unenviable task of cleaning up what’s left in the wake of the destruction.

I vividly remember one Christmas season where almost every blanket, sheet, and pillow in the house ended up in the laundry pile right before the washing machine broke. Hubby and three little boys were all passed out on one Queen-sized bed with the last remaining quilt and the muted television set broadcasting golf or something. My smugness at being unaffected was short-lived. By the end of the next day, I recall lying on the bathroom floor, praying to die, feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. This was nothing compared to a friend of mine who later told me she postponed Christmas Day celebrations after her son opened the fridge and proceeded to hurl forth that which he had previously ingested.

Having survived raising three toddlers, my husband and I have vowed never to take a cruise. I can handle rough waters, the threat of mass evacuation, even the crowds and elbows at the buffet table. But the thought of being isolated with thousands of other people while a virus has a field day picking and choosing who amongst us to infect while we’re out at sea is downright frightening.

My normally easy-going, football-player sized teenager complained of feeling nauseous early this week so I told him to go back to bed while I called his school. Leaving him a good supply of ice water, Tylenol and Imodium, I quickly fled the house. I’ve done my childrearing – it’s now time for self-preservation.

We kept in touch by text and though he was running a high fever by around 7 p.m., around midnight he said he was actually hungry, had a good night’s sleep, and was back at school the following day. Youth is so wasted on the young.

We’re three days post-infection at this writing and though my hands are raw and chapped from repeated washings, all bodily fluids are in check, remaining where they’re supposed to be.

The hurricane, no doubt, is touching down somewhere else.

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