Well the good news is I’m finally better. I can’t remember the last time it took this long for any type of food to sound remotely appealing. Probably because it’s never happened. This was an unprecedented level of gastrointestinal distress.
And the semi-good news is that, as of this writing, it’s only taken one other person I love down.
The bad news is it was Gulley.
And the really bad news is it meant we had to cancel our Spring Break road trip to Dallas.
We had planned to leave on Monday around noon. And our itinerary involved a stop at Shady Grove in Austin because I felt like if any food might provide a source of healing and comfort it might be their jalapeno ranch dressing and chips. I realize this sounds like a bizarre and ambitious choice for someone recovering from the worst stomach virus ever, but I will tell you I’ve been known to eat a Frito Pie less than six hours after being sick on previous occasions. My stomach makes cast iron envious on most occasions.
(Every time I write about Frito Pie some of you ask what that is and I grieve for you. I grieve deeply. A Frito Pie is simply Fritos covered in chili with grated cheese on top. Some people like to add onions or jalapenos but I’m not one of them. Also, they never taste better than when served in the actual individual size Frito bag.)
(Which reminds of me a place called Lake Tejas in Colmesneil, Texas where I used to swim in the summers with my sister. Our grandmother would take us there and we’d swim all morning and then sit in our bathing suits and eat Frito Pies right out of the Frito bag for lunch. That’s some body joy when you can eat that type of meal while wearing nothing but a swimsuit.)
Anyway, I was packing up my suitcase and Caroline’s suitcase on Monday morning, still feeling more than a little puny myself, when Gulley called and said, “It may be psychosomatic but I woke up feeling a little queasy. I’m going to lay down for a few minutes and see if I feel better.” And I agreed that sounded like a good plan because you know what’s worse than having a stomach bug? Having a stomach bug in the midst of a five and a half hour road trip with three kids.
About thirty minutes later my phone rang and it was Jackson. He said, “Um, Mel? My mom is in the bathroom throwing up.”
Yep. That is the sound of a nail in the coffin of the road trip.
I told him she was going to be fine even though I know one of our friends got this same bug so bad that she passed out cold and then asked him to have her call me if and when she could talk. When she called she began to apologize profusely for ruining our plans in a whisper of her normal voice and I cut her off by assuring her I’d never had more empathy for someone with a stomach flu than I did while still in recovery myself.
And so I made all the calls to let various people know we weren’t going to make it to Dallas. Which included canceling my book signing on Tuesday night and I hated to do that. But we’re going to try and reschedule at some point because I would love to visit Dallas, just not while I’m still feeling slightly like death with a side of black plague.
Basically what we were left with for Spring Break was the distant memory of a time we ate food for pleasure and three disappointed kids who are bored and possibly ticking time bombs to also become stomach bug recipients.
So on Monday I picked up Gulley’s boys and brought them to my house. It wasn’t necessarily the makings of the vacation they’d dreamed of but at least they were all together and got to play Wii and mill around the backyard and eat generous amounts of ice cream because I felt kind of bad for them. I even made them popcorn because I think we all know the clean, fresh house thing went out the window with the stomach bug.
And then yesterday morning I called Gulley and she was feeling better but far from 100%. Or 35%. So I told the kids I’d take them bowling later that afternoon. Which kind of seemed lame considering the weather is absolutely gorgeous, but Caroline still has a boot on her foot and that puts a limit on most outdoor activities. It didn’t really work well for bowling either, but since she bowls an average of 39 when completely healthy, I figured it didn’t matter much.
I meant to take some pictures of our afternoon of bowling to document Spring Break 2013: The One Where We Gave Thanks for Zofran, but I only got this one of Will.
He doesn’t know why people keep asking about his hair.
And, like Gulley said, this was a pretty tame day.
I drove the kids home about 5:30 and all of a sudden had an epiphany. I mean, white smoke didn’t come out of the Vatican or anything, but after days of no appetite I knew there was something that I actually wanted to eat for dinner. A craving, even.
Red beans and rice from Pappadeaux’s.
And I’m back. The cast iron stomach is back.