It started with Annie screaming us awake at 12:45 am. When I got to her room, she was standing in vomit and looked like the phantom of the opera from where the pasta had congealed on the side of her face.
We spent the next three hours on the floor while she puked up everything she has ever eaten in her short life. We ran out of clean linen, so at the end, I just folded the towel over the puke and we fell asleep.
No surprise that 36 hours later, I was laid out with the worst case of stomach flu I have ever had.
I felt it coming and isolated myself in our room to protect the innocent. Shea slept downstairs. No matter. Thirty six hours later I woke up to the sound of him puking in the kitchen sink.
My OCD reared its ugly head and escaped the Zoloft prison. I sent Shea upstairs to the sick room, reached deep into the cupboard past the safe and natural cleaners, and pulled out the big guns: bleach and Lysol.
Dana laughed at me in a text: “This is no time for green cleaning, huh?”
Hell no. There’s a woman with an entire blog devoted to stopping the stomach flu. I got on board her crazy train without a thought and covered my downstairs in bleach followed by Lysol. Every stinking surface. I was possessed. One time won’t hurt us, I told myself. One time.
When the kids woke up an hour later, my hands were raw and my downstairs was sanitized. I handed out the marching orders: Wash your hands! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch the baby! And for the love of God, don’t breathe too deeply!!!
Thirty six hours later, Gabe was puking.
I knew there would be a post in all this.
First, I thought it might be about husbands who puke in kitchen sinks.
Then I thought it would be about how when you are elbow deep in vomit and out of clean towels, you are not interested in hugging any God-blessed trees.
Then the kids got sick anyway.
So this is it: I had a crazy, hysterical fear of the stomach flu tearing through my home and in an attempt to stop it, I sprayed poison everywhere. For naught. Norovirus triumphed.
And we lived. A week later, the laundry is done and put away, our appetites have returned and Shea and I both lost 7 lbs. What is so stinkin’ scary about that?
Kids get sick. Thank God they don’t get sick the way they used to a hundred years ago, but that’s not because of Lysol. It’s because we know more about handwashing and treating illness. I can’t stop them from getting stomach flu. Silly mama. Stomach flu happens.
Next time, we change our protocol. Hand washing is the most effective way to stop the spread of stomach flu. We will continue to “hanitize”. But I will use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to sanitize surfaces. And—in what might be the best ever use of cheap liquor—vodka to disinfect upholstery. I know, right? Freakin’ brilliant.
We will be revisiting appropriate places to puke: toilet, check. Trashcan, check. Bathroom sink, check-ish, emergencies only.
The kitchen sink is way off limits.
Husband of mine, are you listening?