Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One of Those...

We've all had them, and as a society, we refused to speak of them.  Hence, there are no television specials or songs which remind us of the gory details of those Christmases.

I speak of the years when everybody gets sick.

We've eaten dinner, opened presents, phoned the parents and maybe dug into some of the pile of sweets left in the stockings when somebody says, "My stomach hurts."  Everyone pauses.  We all know what this could mean, but we all lie.  "It's probably because you ate too much."  "Or been up since four."  "And we stayed up late last night, don't forget that."  There are reassurances all around.  It's nothing.  Absolutely nothing.   Until the child in question throws up.  

After the scramble to clean up the mess and scrub down the bathroom, everyone knows, it's a matter of time and still, we repeat the fib for it's ever failing comfort.   "That was exciting." "Hope that doesn't happen again."  The next soul whose stomach doesn't feel great, doesn't feel they should mention it, and suggests everyone should shower up and get to bed.  

By two in the morning, three more people are down.  Everyone left knows the drill. Scrub your hands, wipe down everything and don't eat.  Whatever you do, DON'T EAT.    Alas, we've already eaten.   Doom approaches.  

In the dawn's early light, the body count now stands at seven, leaving one parent, one college student and three of the four youngest.  Even worse, Mom is down.  The victims park themselves with pots and blankets in the middle room, occasionally moaning or begging for ginger ale.  The surviving members of the family wipe everything down with clorox and try to hold off one bathroom for the well people.    The teen volunteers to go to the store ostensibly for cleaning supplies, saltines and ginger ale.   We all know, it's to get away.

The phone rings thirty minutes later, the teen needs a rescue.  In the meantime, two more of the littles have diarrhea.   Aparently, the bug begins with throw up and ends with...well, dehydration and weight loss.  The parent leaves the surviving eleven year old with the phone to hold vigil over her moaning older and younger siblings  and semi-conscious mother, and drives to the grocery store to provide rescue to the trapped sick teen.

Mom begins to show signs of life. She's been spotted helping with the youngest who just threw up. However the effort costs her, and she naps for the rest of the evening.   On the bright side, the day after Christmas, the house has never gleamed so clean.

My mom calls to see how things are going.  My husband manages a "Fine" before handing the phone to one of the teens and going to lie down.   Everyone who visits continues in the same vein, lying that Christmas was great, everyone is having a wonderful time, until we get to the five year old, who hasn't learned what we don't discuss.  

Grandmother had planned to come for New Years.   I think she's flying to Florida instead.

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