When a Stomach Virus Strikes…One Survivor’s Notes from the Other Side

Written by Emily


It’s mid morning, and I just stumbled out of the rubble. I’m still wearing a hazmat suit with Clorox, vinegar and Lysol wipes strapped to my back. I’ve got the carpet cleaner in my hand, and I look just as you imagine a woman who cleaned vomit all night long might look…radiant.

But I had some time to think down there in the trenches, knee deep in stomach bile. That much thinking isn’t always good for a mom in the wee hours of the morning. The virus. It changes you:

Your Senses Heighten

No matter how thorough the clean-up, no matter how harsh the chemicals, no matter how quick the execution, the smell remains…for eternity maybe…as a sick reminder of your inevitable fate.

Paranoia Sets In

Is it on me? Did it splash my face when it came rocketing out of my son with unparalleled speed and force? Did I step on it? Am I now tracking it through my house where it will cling to the healthy few and reek havoc on their insides? Your home will never look the same.

Suspicion Rears its Head

At 3:00 in the morning, everything looks like the culprit of the viral intruder’s descent on your first born. Rainbow Loom bracelets from a friend: infection bands. Christmas cards we tore into with enthusiasm: contagion cards. Clothes we tried on at the mall: the equivalent of small pox blankets.

Self-Preservation is a Priority

The child you so loved is now a mere victim to you. A goner. It’s done. It’s time to protect the rest of the family. How long should I quarantine my child? Hours? Days? Months? Nothing seems unreasonable anymore if it means preventing a two-year old whose projectile precision is shoddy at best from getting this dread illness.

Delusions Descend

The Walking Dead writers were just parents who muscled through a stomach virus. Rick Grimes and I? We’re comrades now. I get looking over your shoulder. I understand eyeing up the beads of sweat above a brow, a belch, a sneeze–Is that a symptom? Your loved ones are different now–they’re virus-laden victims who will no-doubt infect you in the end.

You Bargain

Since you’re already on your knees scrubbing regurge, you pray–even if you’ve never prayed, I imagine you do now. “If the rest of us stay well, I’ll be a better person. If we can be healthy from now on, I promise to be a better mom. If my husband can remain standing, I’ll give more to charity.”

And then you survive. You survive! But wait, did she just grab her stomach?

Categories: Emily, Family

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5 replies

  1. We brought the plague home from Thanksgiving vaca with the fam. HORRIBLE – and everything you said is true, right down the the hazmat suit. 🙂

  2. Just reading this post made me want to go disinfect every inch of the house and start taking extra vitamin C. And a shower, a long hot shower with plenty of exfoliation!
    I’m glad that things seem to be on the mend!

  3. Puke is disgusting, to say the least…it’s the one mom thing I cannot deal with. I remember Hail being in the shower at 1am because she couldn’t stop puking and couldn’t get out or it would get worse. Oh, and then there was the time that Eljay was in our bed and woke up puking…right into my mouth…horrifying and so shocking that I couldn’t move at first! I’ll say a special prayer that you will be germ-free ASAP!!!

  4. Ew- so sorry to hear, Em. Glad you survived (or at least I hope the worst has passed).
    We’re Lysoling down everything here in hopes that holiday shopping and last-remaining-days-of-school don’t bring germs to our house!
    Looking forward to seeing you guys at Christmas-

  5. Ugh, I feel your pain. I hate a stomach bug, nothing freaks me out more!

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