I had all these intentions of starting the year off right, making substantive, thoughtful posts for a whole year.
Then I spent the whole day alternately crapping or puking my guts up (or moaning and clutching my stomach and wishing I would hurry up and complete one of the former actions so I could feel better for 10 minutes). I'm the third person in my house to come down with The Great Intestinal Discomfort of 2010/2011, and hopefully I'll be the last, because I wouldn't wish this on anyone, not even my husband who decided it was a good idea to fill the house with a cloud of bacon grease this morning while I was hiding in my bedroom trying not to puke. Sorry, dude, but that ranks right up there with the Burrito Incident of 2007 in terms of thoughtlessness.
So, I get to start off my year with ... intestinal discomfort. Not very life-affirming, or substantive, or thoughtful. It's very hard to find inspiration while drowsing in a sour-smelling bed, dry-heaving in a trashcan, or sitting on the toilet. Well, okay, the toilet can be very inspiring***, but it's hard to work up a good blog entry when every minute or two your thought pattern is interrupted by "ohmygodjustkillmenoooooooow." I got a few rounds of knitting done in between rounds of illness, so I guess I get to Lysol the heck out of my new sweater once I'm better. And I have no idea how to disinfect my iPod, which has been propped on my pillow playing hour after hour of old This American Life and RadioLab podcasts to keep me from sleeping all day.
The annoying part of the situation is that ever since my mother came down with something similar right around Christmas, we've been vigilant about cleaning up and washing hands and flushing with the seat down and all the other stuff you're supposed to do to prevent transmission of a stomach bug. Only it turns out that Norovirus isn't killed by standard soap and water, so unless we'd completely Chloroxed everything she touched or breathed on, we were still at risk of transmission. Me sitting there with the kid on my lap while she puked probably wasn't the best idea to slow transmission, either - but in my defense I almost ALWAYS get whatever she comes down with, no matter how far away I stay or how much I wash, so I figured the proximity wasn't going to do anything other than speed up the show. I'm just hoping that by staying in my room (and the bathroom) until after my mother-in-law changed her flight and left to go home a day early, I've kept the germs away from her. She visits her mother a couple times a week, and I'd rather not have some offspring of my illness infect anyone in Mom-mom's nursing home.
What's really ironic is that, after Liza had been puke-free for more than 24 hours and was back to actually eating something other than Pedialyte and crackers, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and spent a lot of time exploring the Disease Detectives exhibit. You know, the one with all the hands-on exhibits where you can try to figure out what got various mannequins sick by checking their temperature, listening to their heart, or exploring other the very touchy-feely-movey-aroundy exhibits of the data the doctors used to diagnose the real-life cases. It's a really cool exhibit, and Liza loved it, but about 1/3 of the way through you learn how long bacteria and viruses can live on dry room-temperature surfaces, and all of the adults in our group started looking for hand sanitizer stations and making up excuses to go to the bathroom so we could wash our hands. I'm willing to bet that the museum's water bill has skyrocketed since they installed the thing that demonstrates exactly how long you have to wash your hands to get them fairly clean. Twenty seconds seems like forever ...
I feel bad that I didn't find out until about 10 minutes ago that Liza was probably still contagious when we went to the museum, and she may be able to spread the love for another week or so. Me? I'm potentially on the hook for another day of two of active symptoms (whimper), followed by up to two weeks of being contagious. Guess I'm not helping with Pizza Day at school on Thursday, huh?
At least I've managed to keep down the 1/4 cup of flat ginger ale I've been sipping for the past couple of hours. Maybe by tomorrow morning I'll be able to nibble on a cracker! Yay! In the meantime, I'm off to see if I can locate a copy of Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury, a short story I read as a child (while suffering from stomach flu at my grandparents' house, as I recall) that I just now finally found confirmation actually exists and wasn't just a dream of my own. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to know the name and author of a story and STILL not be able to find a copy of it? I'm just happy that, at least according to Wikipedia, I remember the story pretty accurately. It would have been even more annoying to finally locate it and have it be nothing like what I remembered. At any rate, I'm off to request the book from the library so I can lick all the page corners and spread my infection to EVERYONE! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
(5 minutes later) Well, I'd have to special order one of the short story compilations in to my local library, but there's also ... HOLY SHIT WHAT KIND OF SICK FUCK MADE THAT STORY INTO A PICTURE BOOK FOR KIDS?!?!
(5 minutes later) Anyone other than me notice that my sentences get even longer and my punctuation gets even more creative when I'm sick? Another day or two and I'll be at one with good old e.e. himself. And is it just me, or is that poem totally about sex, not cars? Wait, not just me. And why did they let us read it in high school, if that's the case? Ms. Leonard-Peace, you dog, you!
***Ari, remember Pete in high school and his legendary bathroom trips to get "inspired" for Stage Crew? Good times, good times.