A couple years ago, I posted about the bizarre mutant virus that nearly resulted in a chest burster from Alien erupting from my tortured thorax. The last time I was that sick was 1994, also the last time I ever had a flu bug worth mentioning. Ferris Buehler could have gotten another day off by imitating me that weekend. But that was the flu, and I could power through it.
This bug, however, was not the flu. This probably was what started World War Z. It felt like it. It begins with a slight headache. Well, slight headaches are like the lines at BMV. Everyone has to stand in it, but eventually, it goes away. You don’t really know you’re sick with this bug until the projectile vomiting begins. And it begins with your stomach sending a signal to your brain: Evacuating dinner in 5… 4… 3… 2… bleeeeeeeeegghhhh!!!!
That’s right. It never makes it to 1. We have a small house, so I do make it to the toilet. After that, just moving back to the bedroom or sitting on the couch has roughly the same effect on you as running a marathon. Only after a marathon, you’re heart works better, and you’re left with a day of soreness. With this modern plague, you spend the next three days with just enough energy to get out to your car and start it.
Glad I got through it, and that’s over. Right?
The news talked about an outbreak at a local school of norovirus, also called Norwalk virus. What is that? Well, it starts with projectile vomiting, followed by three days of being so weak that sitting down leaves you winded and sweaty. But I already had that. Right? It’s like measles or the mumps. Once you had it, you can’t get it again. (Although chicken pox leaves you with the gift that keeps on giving: Shingles. Don’t try that one at home.)
Just as one cold doesn’t prevent the next one, and the annual flu shot attacks different strains of the flu, so, too, the norovirus has a new model year. It’s just like new cars, only more of an ordeal unless you go to a buy here/pay here/repo here lot that occupies a former gas station in a bad neighborhood. And the folks on Channel 19 were referring to this year’s model. I didn’t know that. I turned to Nita and said, “Hey, honey. Glad I already had that bug.”
And then two nights later, while watching television, I said, “Wow. Those pork chops really don’t agree with me for some reason.” It happens. We had a big dinner.
Which ten minutes later, I proceeded to send directly to the Metropolitan Sewer District by kneeling in front of the toilet and emptying my stomach. Last time, I coughed it all up at once. It was over, and I could get on with wallowing in my misery. This time, it took four trips to the bathroom to bring my stomach under control, the last time dry heaves. I stumbled into bed and passed out, thoughts of Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs briefly crossing my delirious mind.
It took me an hour to call off work the next morning. I went out to the kitchen, grabbed my cell phone off the charger, and that was pretty much it for an hour. Finally, I had the energy to use the phone. Then I did what passing out would not let me do the previous night: Slept.
I’m writing this on Sunday morning and still not feeling a hundred percent. However, I’m actually the healthiest one in the house. Two days after getting clocked by this microscopic freight train, Nita took ill at an afterwork party. Then Saturday, I returned from my monthly writers group to find AJ sick. However, AJ turns 20 soon (making me feel old), and his immune system seems to be kicking this thing’s ass. He’s been sick, weak, and achy, but he’s powered through it. This is something no one powers through when it hits full force.
I know this is not the last time any of us will get this. Like the flu, it has different strains that change from year to year. But man, I could really go another 18 years before getting that sick again.