Nothing connects people quite like a stomach bug.
First, there’s the line of transmission. Person to person to person. Who gave it to whom? It’s not enough to get the bug. One must know where it came from. Preferably so one knows whom to blame.
My recent bug came via a vomit bath from my five month old granddaughter. I don’t blame her. But the germ lineage was still important. Her parents had it. What day exactly??? Did it come from them? Day care was closed last Friday because of it. Aha, so we can trace it to day care. Blame duly assigned.
Another way bugs bring people together is phone calls.
“So, Mom. That Easter Egg hunt tomorrow? At your house? Well, um, nobody wants to come.”
That was the last phone call. The lead-up calls went something like this:
“Mom is throwing up.”
“There is no way I’m going over there.”
“Me neither. I’ve already had it and it’s nasty. I don’t want the kid to get it.”
“Your kid gave it to Mom.”
“But the other kid hasn’t had it yet.”
Oh, so I can get the bug but I can’t return it. It’s ok. I’m not offended. I didn’t want to see them either.
A few days later, I get a pathetic text from Daughter Number 3. Her household has been attacked. Mom down. Dad down. And Kid #1. All almost simultaneously. (Hah, but I know they didn’t get it from me!) As I write, her gang is all tucked in bed. Anyone wanna bet that the nine month old gets it at 2 a.m.?
Here’s the third way that bugs bring people together. Family togetherness. Times like this create family history. Mother holding her barf long enough to comfort spewing toddler while Daddy lies moaning in bed. Such family tenderness. Ouch.
This darling daughter was too young to remember the time her sisters and I holed up in my bedroom for a day. Oldest sister and I were too sick to move from bed except for mad dashes to the bathroom. I never knew a kid could throw up so many times. The three year old and one year old were given a box of Cheerios and apple juice and had to play at the foot of the bed and watch tv until Daddy came home from work. I dared not call the grandmothers. I knew they did not want to get it.
Plus, my ordeal was nothing compared to my mother’s ordeal. A stomach bug once felled my parents and 6 children at the same time. Both grandmothers were called in to manage us all. And this was back when sickies were supposed to actually stay in their beds tucked under their covers. And doctors made house calls. The doc came and, after checking on all us kids, checked on my parents who were also lying sick in bed. My grandmothers trotted up and down the stairs with (untouched) food trays and aspirin and thermometers. (My brothers slept way up on the third floor. All those stairs!) My poor mother lay in bed while both her mother and mother-in-law ran her house. You know a woman is sick to allow that scenario to play out.
Ah, but what great family lore.
Now as for that rescheduled egg hunt. All our households have had the bug except for Daughter Number 1. How long is everyone contagious?