Five Things Worse Than Having Stomach Flu

Sorry for the non-literary topic, but since I’ve had my arms wrapped around a toilet bowl for the past day or two, my mind has focused on little more than exacting revenge on the nurse who gave me my flu shot last fall.

“Yes, this one covers all strains,” she lied as I skeptically bared my arm.


fluAfter being roused from a deep sleep Sunday night by an urgent need to regurgitate what felt like everything I had eaten for the past five years into said toilet bowl, my mind struggled to pinpoint the source of my malaise. Since no one else in the house was banging on the bathroom door to follow suit, I could only draw two conclusions:

  • I had contracted food poisoning from a restaurant at which I had dined with friend, or
  • I was the (guilt-ridden) stomach flu carrier who, by now, had surely infected the rest of my lot.

I stumbled back to bed, clutching a large stainless steel bowl, and burrowed under the blankets. Several hours later, oblivious to the time, I awoke parched, feeling rather as if I had been flattened by a steam roller.

“Water. Bring me water,” I rasped to my husband when he checked in on me.

He left me alone, looking forward to guzzling gallons upon gallons of the cool, clear liquid.

Perhaps I should’ve just asked him to snake the garden hose through the bedroom window…

When he returned with a kiddie cup – and half full at that – I grabbed it, swigging its contents in one gulp. I had no sooner shoved it back at him, hoping for more, when I felt my insides lock into a cramp that rivaled the worst of contractions I had experienced during all five child births. Instinctually, I lunged for the bowl and started my Lamaze breathing.

I woke up four hours later, freezing. With my insides still in a vice grip, I wondered what I had done to earn God’s wrath.

In a lame attempt to make myself feel better, I tried coming up with five things worse than having the stomach flu.

  1. Having the car’s transmission die on the interstate after dropping my boy off to college? No. Inconvenient, but no.
  2. Having the hot water heater spring a leak while my husband was laid up in the hospital after falling out of a tree? Close, but no.
  3. Answering the front door, fresh out of the shower, wearing nothing but a towel and a smile, only to find a fully armed police officer on the other side because my preschooler decided to call 9-1-1 when his brother wouldn’t share a toy? Embarrassing, yes, worse than the flu, no.
  4. Finding out I just plunked down big bucks for a seat at an outdoor writer’s conference on a day for which meteorologists forecasted record rain fall? Ugh, don’t remind me, but no.
  5. Being stuck on my train into work between two passengers who opined over the fate of our country during the next four years like they were the only passengers on board? Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

Basking in the silence, I closed my eyes, and made mental note to catch the “quiet car” on my train line when I headed back into work again. Just as soon as I could hold down more than a sip of water.


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