Monday, June 22, 2009

T-minus 12 hours and....blaaaaaaaachhhhh!

"Attention, Delta passengers on flight number 65...we will now begin the pre-boarding process. For our passengers requiring special assistance, those traveling with infants, small children, or with swine flu, please proceed to the gate with your boarding passes at this time."

How many times were we sick while we lived in the UK? Once, maybe twice? Seriously. We aren't a sick kind-of family, fortunately, but I would much rather be sick in, say, mid-March, as opposed to the last 12 hours before we are taking an international flight. But that's exactly what happened.

Let me set the scene. I'll backtrack a bit and explain the environment in which we were traveling. It was before swine flu was named a pandemic, which made it more relevant and widely-known to the US.  However, prior to the declaration of it being a pandemic, the swine flu was definitely on the minds of most folks in the UK. In fact, the day before we were
leaving, the first case of human-to-human transmission was confirmed. (How were people getting it prior to that? From all those daily encounters we humans have with swine?? I don't know.) What I do know was that every single channel on TV had coverage of the situation. The airport officials were using heat-sensitive body scanners to screen individuals at the airport...presumably to detain and quarantine you if you had a fever (the first symptom). You've heard of those scanners that are designed notice the sweaty palms of nervous potential terrorists? They were being used to detect fever in of unsuspecting travelers.

The weekend before we were traveling, there was a sign on the door of the neighborhood pharmacy that read, "Attention Patrons: If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, or you are caring for someone with flu-like symptoms, please DO NOT ENTER. Return home and contact the NHS on instructions for treatment." I swear to you that's seriously what it said. I only wish I had my camera with me, but I had already packed it. (The NHS is the National Health Service...they have nationalized healthcare.)

Back to the scene. The boys and I were leaving first; John was remaining to finish the season and would be back about a month later. We were invited to dinner with some friends on that Monday evening, and were leaving early on Tuesday morning.

Early Saturday morning, Son 2 woke up sick. He was throwing up every 45 minutes or so, but recovered within about four hours. I have to say that my children are the BEST little barfers because they always make it to the toilet or in the garbage can or whatever else I throw their way to catch it. Not that any of that is relevant to the story, but I'm just saying.  After all, in what other forum can I give my kids props for puking? Anyway, he was all good and I chalked it up to his less-than-stellar handwashing practice.

Then, on Monday afternoon, Son 1 started complaining that he didn't feel well. I didn't even link it to Son 2's bout of illness until Son 1 began with the vomiting. Remember those dinner plans we had? Count Son 1 and I out of the picture. Husband and Son 2 went, I stayed home and did some last minute packing in-between Son 1's fits of dry heaving. The boys and I were leaving in 14 hours.

It keeps getting worse from this point on. Husband and Son 2 get back home from dinner at about 8:00 pm and Husband went straight up the stairs to the bathroom. |Son 1 had his last round of the heinous puke-poop cycle about an hour before that. He was sleeping, pale as a ghost, completely drained and weak, grateful that nothing was being emitted from his body outside of his control. Now Husband had the next four hours to suffer, and suffer he did. In the meantime, I scurried about, doing the last of the last of the last packing. We were leaving in less than 12 hours.

At around 11:00 pm, I got a rumble in my stomach...could it be? No, I told myself. I will NOT be sick. Mind over matter. Just keep doing the final packing. Zip those bags shut. Charge those Gameboys. Pack those snacks. Check the empty drawers one more time.....okay, maybe if I go to sleep I will feel better. Probably just nerves. We were leaving in about eight hours.

I had completely and totally misdiagnosed my case of "nerves" and quickly changed my diagnosis to whatever it is that can make you involuntarily heave and expel matter from various orifices with complete loss of control. When I say orifices I'm including my eyes...are they an orifice? I was also crying while I was being "sick" and it was not pretty. Here's what you would have heard had you been inside my head at the time (and managed to not get expelled from an orifice, that is):

Good God in heaven, we've got the flippin swine flu. Damn all the f-ing bacon around here, I know that's how we got it. If I can get better in the next 10 minutes, I swear to all that's holy that I will never eat pork again. OHMYGOD, in 10 minutes it will be 1:00 am and I have to board a plane at 8:00 am. A plane. Wasn't there a movie about snakes on a plane with Samuel L. Jackson? And he was also Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction and said, "I don't dig on swine," and that pigs are filthy animals. I think there's a message in that somehow. F-ing bacon. I'm hot. I am SO glad I printed my boarding passes already. Where did I pack the gum? Ugh. I might have a chance at being okay by the time we have to leave because everyone else has only been sick for four hours. I could be finished with this nightmare by 5:00 am and still sleep an hour and then get up and get the last minute stuff packed and be ready to go. I'm cold. Might have to break the rule about fast food for breakfast if the boys are hungry...OHMYGOD, why'd you have to think about food?????? I wonder if barfing is good for my abs, because they sure feel like they're getting a workout. Do I still have those pills for nausea and would they work for puking if I took double? Can I even swallow a pill right now? I'm hot. Why won't this toilet paper roll stay on the holder? Who breaks shit around here and leaves it for me to find? I think I can get away with this straightened hair for one more day. I don't even want to try and wash and dry and straighten my hair again before I go. How can I pack a hot flat iron? That's just gross to even THINK that post-hurling hair is okay, Renee. Idiot. I'm cold. I hope I'm not waking anyone up with all this flushing and coughing and sniffing and nose blowing. I wonder if this is helping me lose weight. I am SO leaving our toothbrushes here and buying new ones in the States. I hope the alarm goes off and we don't lose power like the McAllisters did in Home Alone. If we miss our flight, do we have to pay for a new one? Do they let you do that on international flights? I'm hot. Maybe we can upgraded to First Class and have lots of room. If I concentrate really hard, maybe I can communicate with Husband's mind and wake him up and tell him to bring me something to sip on. I want some Sprite. I need my pillow.

So, yeah. That was my next four hours. And true its history with the rest of my family, the bug ran its course and left me weak and shaky, but able to be upright and more importantly, to get to the airport. That was our next hurdle.

1 comment:

  1. Laughing the whole time reading it! I mean really! That is exactly the type of rambling that goes through your mind when you are sick.

    On a serious note-Ugh! How awful that must have been! And you know the stress of the flight just added to you feeling even worse!

    Your fear about the swine flu reminds me of our spider situation here at home. We are having a brown recluse problem. We have been having it professionally sprayed and things are getting better but there have been SEVERAL times that I see a mark on me or on one of the children and I am convinced that it is a brown recluse bite and that I should head to the ER. Gabrielle just had a mark on her nose last night. We were at the Cardinal game and I kept watching it to form a crater! Such silliness!