My toddler had the stomach flu this week. So did my baby girl. Then my husband had it. With my family down under a cloudy film of poop, puke, and fatigue, I found myself the lone survivor surrounded by really sick, really miserable zombies to a condition not the most treatable.
It started with my little boy on Saturday. We learned that Jrue had had to vomit overnight and tried to make it to his potty chair to do so, a valiant effort, but caught a bit on his carpet. Mom and dad chalked it up to an unfortunate incident and comforted him for trying to have a clean touchdown. Just the day before, he and Jai had received flu shots, so I expected that they may have experienced some mild discomfort resulting from the vaccine.
Jrue then wanted to take a nap at 10:30 a.m., an appointment he whined about with pitiful cries of “Sleepy! Sleepy!” This was odd, but, again, did not specifically alarm us. After announcing his intention to go to bed hours before his usual afternoon naptime, he threw up. This episode was followed by a watery poop; suddenly, my active guy didn’t look so healthy. His skin seemed ashen and his complexion paled. He took a two-hour nap during which we shampooed his bedroom carpet, a task we had already pre-planned for the day before the Super Bowl.
When he kept losing fluids post-nap, it still did not dawn on me that there was a potential emergency in action here; I focused on getting him to swallow water and trying to eat one cracker. By that evening, Jai began a repetitive round of loose poops. Jrue was still running down the hall to his potty chair. And daddy’s illness was lurking, waiting, in the shadows.
On Super Bowl Sunday, not much had improved. The hubs was struggling with a stomach ache that he described as “cramping,” and I was in full-blown “This is not a vaccine side effect” mode with the kids. I put them down for naps as much as possible; when they were asleep, they were not uncomfortable/spewing/crapping, and I could keep freely scrubbing everywhere they touched.
Otherwise, they were zombie-fied with the virus. They moaned and wept large, soaking tears. They griped noncommittally for something to eat, then whatever they had would intensely sail from their faces soon after intake. Jai would let off whole 5-ounce bottles of juice on the floor. When Jrue retched, I had to hold him back to keep him from walking into the waterfall of it and spreading the mess. They were mobile, but clumsy due to fatigue. They were unemotional, blank when I asked questions, showing no mercy for my own weariness and demanding anything for comfort all day every day: extra blankets, socks, no socks, milk, juice, no water, no pants, help. Of course, the contagion level was unknown, but certain.
They were steadily closing in on me. I knew I’d be eaten…it was a matter of time.
By the third quarter of the Super Bowl, Jrue was keeping crackers down and Jai wasn’t going potty so frequently. They both begged to be hugged by mommy and attempted to drink after me, and the nervousness of getting sick was making me physically uneasy. As I looked around my living room, I noticed that the hubs was remaining in the bathroom for much longer than our usual read-a-book-or-play-on-the-phone time allotment. Uh oh. His stomach flu had to have been activated.
It was a violent accostment of his body. Witnessing my hubs struggle with the distress of vomiting water two minutes after drinking it, then dry heaving in what sounded like a fit of rage over the toilet because of having nothing left in his system was visually stinging. I was hurt that he was hurting with the stomach lurches and almost complete inability to move around due to body weakness. At one point around 2 a.m., I screeched out, “We’re going to the hospital!” He had his knees on the floor, but his body sprawled across our bed. I was terrified and cried for his healing for hours.
I quarantined my newest zombie on the living room couch. I shut myself in my bedroom wearing a hoodie, a t-shirt, and big sweatpants. I got under my comforter and–heart racing with part sickness, part heartache–sweated out a fever until the blue of daylight lit up my room.
The last time Jrue vomited was Monday morning. I focused on replenishing his fluids to deflect dehydration, per the instructions of his pediatrician’s nurse. The hubs finally held solid food again on Wednesday. I probably scrubbed down the house on Monday alone for four straight hours. I couldn’t stand the thought of such a nasty bug refusing to leave our home.
In the wake of this zombie apocalypse, I was spared. My immunity held on, I would imagine, out of my fervent prayers and my absolute resolve to stay healthy to take care of my ill family.
Now that I have endured, there are a few essential tips that I would provide for any parent suffering through their own gloomy doom, courtesy of the suggestions in the article “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse” by the staff at All That is Interesting.
For a zombie attack: Have an emergency survival toolbox on hand. In addition to the normal kit items one would have in supply in, say, a winter storm, it is a good idea to add in items to defend oneself against an imminent attack. “Rifles or shotguns tend to be the weapons of choice, but knives, axes, machetes, shovels, and baseball bats are also effective (though they usually involve getting too close for comfort to the zombies). And for guns, don’t forget the ammo.”
My kit: When it came to “treating” the stomach flu, avoiding dehydration was paramount for everyone, so fluids were in order, particularly ones with electrolytes. Since there wasn’t any medication that could have been given to ease fluid loss, I would also add in cleaning wipes, antibacterial soap, a blanket, a pillow, a trashcan for vomiting, a clean bathroom with a working toilet, and crackers. This equipment was supplemented by goods found in a standard first aid kit.
For a zombie attack: Have a fool-proof evacuation plan in mind. Zombie-proof the house. One would have to run…quickly…so knowing multiple routes to escape could be the difference between life and sudden death. If getting away isn’t possible at a given moment, barricades that can withstand the super strength of zombies must be considered, as well as notions of moving higher up.
My kit: It was the weekend, so taking the kids or the hubs to their primary care physicians was temporarily unavailable. I prepared for the possibility of an emergency room visit by having all documentation and items for transport ready to go. I also made time to educate myself on the best practices of handling the stomach flu at home and employed tactics when I could.
For a zombie attack: Being in enough shape to get away is an “as needed” luxury. Begin a cardio and strength training regimen as early as possible.
My kit: I had been working out. I could have always just run away from home. Instead, I stood my ground and cured my zombies. Love makes one do the wildest, bravest things.
“How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.” All That is Interesting. 16 Jul. 1, http://all-that-is-interesting.com/survive-zombie-apocalypse. Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.