Monday, 26 November 2012
Parting (with the contents of your stomach) is Such Un-Sweet Noro
We entered the arena of the unwell last week.
An evil combination of fever, sickness, nosebleeds, coughing and general malaise intruded on our lives, bringing chaos and a rationing of clean towels.
I needed to paint a big red X on the door.
After I finally invited the PPI salesman in. While we’re talking doses and medicine.
A plague on all our houses
There was some warning of the sickness that ensued.
A murmur around the playground of a bug that was sweeping across the classrooms.
I had hoped that this would be the year we were immune. We’ve earned our stripes, with years of puking and snot under our belts - and down our backs.
But bugs show little mercy - knocking kids down like a line of vominoes.
The illness began with one child and a relentless and persistent cough that kept the entire household awake.
Except for the cats. And my husband.
It’s so inconvenient that siblings are rarely ill together.
My twins simply pass on the putrid baton like a long distance bowel relay.
It’s a tactical game; getting one healthy child into school, while one is coughing the theme tune to Scooby Doo.
A pool of frazzled parents behind the wheel on double yellows, praying the sick pyjama-ed child won’t soil the seats, while they flag down a vague acquaintance to usher in little Jimmy.
The doctor has seen it all before. You may be convinced it’s cholera, meanwhile, a more deadly bug lurks inside the surgery’s toy box, somewhere in the Gonk’s matted wet hair.
Tuesday: The sun’ll come out to-noro
I take on the role of zombie waitress, supplying food, drinks and TLC to the patient.
A single or a double Calpol?
My trusty mother is ill this week, but the bonus of divorced parents means I can call on my Dad to collect my healthy son from school.
In the middle of the night the formerly healthy child is violently sick.
The Marigolds are on. There isn’t a dry towel in the house and, thank God you replenished the wet wipes (even if they are the crappy own brand, the size of a postage stamp with all the moisture of a Gecko’s tongue).
The bedding, which you lovingly Lenor laid yesterday, are stripped and bundled downstairs, along with an assortment of - now yellow - cuddly toys, as you comfort an upset little boy.
Meanwhile, a third night of coughing. The chain smoker rasp now blends into the night time noises as a child lays next to me spluttering away.
Poorly babies. Tired and ghostly.
"I wish I could take the sickness for you" I whisper, stroking their angelic faces.
"No Mommy, then you would be ill" one smiles innocently.
The washing machine is fully loaded with a sick wash. Thankfully, it’s not the poo rinse, this time.
If it burst open, a tidal wave of puke would simply pour over the floor.
Least the cats would be fed.
Wednesday: The silver stomach lining
The boys have kindly overlapped and timed a day off sick together.
The lengths I go to to escape the school run.
I have a weird mutation of their bugs: a raging temperature and migraine style headache. I need to lie in bed and watch Lorraine.
But there is a sick bucket with my son’s name on it.
Plus I have laundry and chores. Every conceivable surface is covered in wet textiles.
Is this what Octomom’s house is like?
“You can use the tumble dryer if you like,” my husband concedes.
He adds: “Did you hand vac the sofa?” pointing to the crevices where another bout of vomiting had occurred.
Looking after sick kids for days can be hard. But when you are poorly too, it’s hell.
"Mommy, my brother’s been sick," the son who is on the mend informs me, as I send him in hunt of towels, while I comfort a tearful little soldier.
He retrieves the sole survivor, the previously white hand towel with the Hint of Chestnut Brown hair dye stain.
“Bye then,” my husband says as he breezes past us all on his way to work.
I have tried to set up contamination free zones where the boys won’t meet and where sanitiser and bleach are on tap. Neither has what the other one has. Yet.
But it’s a bit hard without trip wires and alarms.
“My Mummy says it’s unhygienic for me to share a cup with my sister,” a precocious little rugrat once told us in her horror that the boys had shared a Fruit Shoot.
“She definitely wouldn’t like what we do with the bathwater then,” I sigh.
“It’s positively Victorian.”
A bug's life
Why are we so weak?
We never had all this mass puking in my pre central heating and Cif wipes day.
Maybe I should let my kids play out in the dirt and dine Al a Findus to toughen them up, but then I remember that they already do all of that.
Norovirus hit us like a juggernaut during the first few years of parenthood, with its relentless rote vomming.
A whole family puking simultaneously.
That’s when I knew that parenting is a hard manual labour of sick, shit and snot.
I sobbed into a mucus infested rag while my husband mopped beige matter off my shoulder.
It’s like a Japanese endurance test.
Forget those Tiny Tears dolls they hand to randy teens to introduce them to parenthood.
Send them into a noro infested 3-bed semi and they’ll soon be demanding contraception. Or sterilisation….Or incarceration.
Thursday: Touch me, I’m sick
My Dad comes over to offer some respite. I feel lousy, but a chance to escape the confines of the germ infested house. One child is back at school.
Surely there is nothing left to catch.
In Poundland the runny assistant is oozing influenza all over my shopping and I‘m not even wearing my gloves.
Right now I could confidently visit my GP, use the toilet and flip through the well fingered copy of 1987’s Grazia, and I would know no fear.
By now we are running out of favours; and, short of sending the kids to school on their own with a note - like Paddington Bear - we might need to make school into a seven hour conference call today.
But fortunately we are on the mend. Or so I thought.
One suspected ear infection, a trip to the doctor’s, and an emergency nosebleed rounds off the week.
The dawn of a fresh week and normality is restored. Hang on, I think that’s the school calling…
(Image courtesy of Stagevue.com)