“Let’s all be sick together!”

December 7, 2012

Notable Stats

Toddler Lift Distance (TOLD) – How far you can carry your son or daughter between their bed and the toilet when they are about to lose their cookies. Measured in stuffed animals.

Plague Takeover Rate (PTR) – The speed by which the next family member gets sick after the first one gets sick – Measured in units of time based on Max and Ruby episodes.

It is inevitable. You can have sixteen flu shots coursing through you veins and it will not matter. Vitamins, check. Tennis regimen, check. Sleep, well…. Once one of your children gets sick it is only a matter of time before your living space is a hospital ward. Once you accept this reality, you learn to pray for it to hit in staggered body blows instead of naively expecting it not to happen. You hope that only one person is sick at a time, so even though you all will be flat on your back like dominos, you always will have multiple healthy beings to bring water, cook food, get ice. Then again, we can’t really rely on three humans under five years old or two dogs to heat up tomato soup. So I guess I should say, we hope my wife and I don’t get it at the same time.

Twice in the last four years, this happened over Thanksgiving. We saw the good and the bad of this kind of timing. The first time was the bad. We were not home. We were almost two hours away. I got sick before we even ate a bite; my poor wife got sick after she ate everything under the sun. She was able to drive home. I crawled into bed. Fortunately our wet blanket of nausea was spaced out by just a hair (by about six hours), but eventually we did end up sick at the same time. Three life forms remained unscathed. The two dogs and our then, five-month-old son.
Since he was our first born, we were panicked about making him sick, so we put him upstairs in his crib and we slept in the basement. It got bad enough that we recruited a friend's daughter to come over and help for just a few hours; we begged another friend to bring us something to drink, the only person we could find over the holiday that was actually in town.

We fared a little better this year. We had people around. There were five humans and two dogs to disperse the fog of illness. It makes for an interesting theory that the more people and animals in your family, the slower the takeover. Of course, that is completely incorrect, but at least we are in it together. This time around, my wife and I would only reach the heavy nausea phase while our three kids got the brunt of it. We cared for them, used the TV as a sedative when necessary and found our Zen state.

Eventually we took them to the doctor and they just confirmed what we expected, that we were at least the tenth family to walk in with this “bug.” Cabin fever is no joke and apparently it takes over more than just your cabin.

There is no answer, no cure, no magic elixir. When someone in your family gets sick, everyone is going down. Take it as a sign of solidarity. We are one. The ultimate in team sacrifice and unity. The dogs can participate, we all can be sleepless, and in our delirium give each other a big hug, only to wake up and realize that weeks have elapsed.

- Doug Glanville

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