It always happens at the worst possible time. Like when you’re in the middle of a blissful night’s sleep or on your way to an important work meeting or in the middle of a family birthday party.
“Mo-om,” a little person says with a whine. “I don’t feel so good.”
You assume your over-dramatic offspring is just trying to get out of the math test that morning so you brush them off with a dismissive “You’ll be fine.”
Then, three minutes later, you hear the gagging. And then the puking. Fuck.
You mentally run through your plans for the day and glance at your mile-long to-do list. Yep, it’s confirmed. Worst possible time for a sick day Fuckety-fuuuuck.
Maybe it’s just a fluke, you think. Maybe something he ate just didn’t sit right. That soup last night did taste a little funky. Maybe it’ll stop with this kid, and he’ll be the only victim.
Six hours later, you’ve been puked on five times, done three loads of laundry, and bleached every surface in the house. You’re praying to every named and unnamed deity that this shit stops here while knowing in the back of your mind that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than not having this plague of nastiness infect your entire household.
Over the next 12 hours, you start implementing eery woo-woo remedy you can think of (oregano oil, apple cider vinegar shots, basking in the glow of a pink salt lamp) in hopes of building up your immune system against the plague. You make four trips to the grocery store for saltines, ginger ale, and more laundry detergent. You quarantine the sick child and banish the healthy children to the other end of the house. You wear rubber gloves and a face mask 24/7. You sprinkle that weird-smelling Thieves essential oil all over the house because you’re just that desperate. It can’t hurt!
The next day you do five more loads of laundry, including washing bedsheets on your kid’s top bunk which requires acrobatic maneuvers and lots of swearing. You drink more apple cider vinegar.
Eventually, the puking subsides, and you start to feel optimistic that it’s over. Because, apparently, you’re an idiot. Within two hours, one child is vomiting in a bucket while another hurls in the bathroom. You spoke too soon, and now the universe is laughing in your face. You curse everyone and everything.
Fuck you, fucking Rotavirus. You are, in fact, the Devil.
In between doing load after load after load of laundry and rubbing the backs of puking kids while gagging right along with them, you cancel more meetings and request extensions on project deadlines. You call in favors from just about everyone you know. You order super-expensive, heavy-duty, hospital-grade disinfectant on Amazon Prime and wonder if it can be delivered by drone. You consider putting a quarantine sign on your front door because the plague has clearly descended. This is some Biblical wrath-of-God shit right here.
Two days later, you’ve done approximately 27 loads of laundry, made 12 trips to the grocery store, drank 72 ounces of apple cider vinegar (straight up, because you are not messing around), bleached every single inch of your kitchen and bathroom eight times, been puked on twice, cleaned vomit out of your hair once, emptied 18 puke buckets, and said 1,425 prayers to everything.
Finally — finally! — a light begins to emerge at the end of the tunnel. Your household has been vomit-free for 15 hours and you begin to think that you might be in the clear. Your children are starting to fight with each other again — a sure sign that things are returning to normal. You take one look at your mile-long to-do list and tell yourself that tomorrow you will get back on track, dammit.
And then it happens. It starts with a rumbling. Probably just gas, you think. But five minutes later you’re hurling in the bathroom.
Fuck you, Rotavirus. Fuck you.