I’m now on my second week of a stomach bug that has waged war in my midsection. Often an illness follows a trajectory like a hurled ball—a quick buildup to a peak followed by a long descent. This stomach bug, likely viral gastroenteritis, has so far had three peaks somewhat like large and damaging aftershocks from an earthquake. I’ve never had an illness that teased you with recovery then hit you again. Fine, fine, this is all clinical, but how does it feel? Imagine you’ve been punched in the stomach and follow that up with wearing a high-waisted belt that is tightened so your abdomen is shaped like an hourglass. Then top it off with flu-like fatigue and achiness and you can understand why I’ve found it hard to drum up enthusiasm for cleaning the garage or playing bounce-on-daddy with the kids. This is the eighth day and I’m hoping the little organisms in the pills and kefir I’m taking will be the probiotic equivalent of Chuck Norris that can roundhouse kick this virus out of my body.
What does one eat when one’s innards are knotted up like headphone cords? BRAT: Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. This diet might be fine for those odd people who see food as fuel for the body, to be taken in sufficient quantity and speed without care for flavor or quality. But I love food and last night’s trip to Trader Joe’s to get more applesauce and bananas was a fist-biting exercise in self-control. I wanted to weep when I saw all the foods I couldn’t eat. Last Friday I thought I was getting better so I had pizza and have spent all weekend on a precipitous decline, setting me back an entire week. It’s like seeing the summit of K2 and thinking, “Well, I’m almost there so I might as well take off these crampons and just jog the rest of the way up.”
I couldn’t think of any presentable image for this topic, please hold your applause, so I have instead a video of CH being a wonderful big sister to Number Two. I should add this illness appears to have started with Number Two, then passed to me, then Child Harbat, then my wife. Now Number Two is feeling wonderful and gets to eat whatever he wants, the little rotter!