I have a newfound appreciation for parents. Let me explain.
Although it can be quickly summed up this way, vomiting over the age 40 is the worst.
The week before Christmas, I felt sick at about 2:45 a.m., a time when I am normally asleep.
I was awakened by strong stomach pains.
“Great,” I thought. “I must have food poisoning.”
It didn’t occur to me at that moment I would have a stomach bug. I do not spend time in school buildings and I generally avoid large gatherings this time of year since colds and flus spread so easily, not to mention our new friend COVID-19.
Two hours later, my dinner made a valiant return.
The agony. I can’t even describe.
And while it is happening, I am thinking, “Am I doing this right?” and “Why is this so awful?”
Why did it feel so hard to do?
It’s not like I had a great night out and this was the result. There was no night at the bar or a club in Philly.
I have not been sick from alcohol since my freshman year in college when I enjoyed one too many fuzzy navels at a party in a friend’s dorm.
And I have never drank one again.
Then I limped into work around 5:30 a.m. to do some quick paperwork.
I returned home.
Let’s just say we had two more repeat performances before I could finally lay down and attempt some sleep.
And when I woke, a final performance.
My husband Gabe made sure I had Gatorade, Canada Dry and saltines.
I lay in bed contemplating life and all of my bad decisions convinced this illness was some sort of penance. Too Catholic of me? Perhaps.
And when you think things couldn’t get worse, they do. Not vomit, the other. TMI?
I called my doc. The office said to keep up the fluids and to seek help if it wasn’t better by the next day.
The next day, I felt like crap. But again, I limped into work looking like a wet noodle.
I sipped ginger ale and attempted a few saltines every few hours.
Some work was accomplished.
Friday morning, it was made clear that I didn’t have food poisoning when Gabe copied my performances from two days earlier.
And did I mention the smell or sound of vomiting, makes me gag and almost vomit? Always has. Always will. It happened with our dog three weeks ago.
I went into work. I left after three hours as I was too tired to even remember how to spell my name.
Upon my arrival at home, I reached out to a friend who is a nurse and an excellent mom.
She assured me I was not dying and neither was Gabe.
We were experiencing a stomach bug, the same as her family did in the early fall.
She gave me some tips, offered sympathy, laughed at my jokes and agreed that vomiting was the worst. She also let me know when it would be time to seek help.
I think my call with her saved my sanity and helped me feel better.
Commiseration tends to do that.
After my call, I downloaded the Instacart app and ordered chicken broth, apple sauce, bananas, ginger ale, Gatorade, crackers and pretzels.
Ninety minutes later, my groceries were in hand and my husband and I spent the weekend recovering.
It is my hope that I never have another stomach bug again. If I do, I am definitely calling my mom or a bunch of mom friends.
I cannot imagine how parents manage their own illnesses when their kids are sick. I barely had the brainpower to remember to feed our dog or to use the remote. How do you care for kids when you feel horrible?
I have a new found appreciation for all the parents out there. Thank you, stomach bug.
Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette and recently won two awards for investigative journalism.