The stomach flu epidemic started on Saturday afternoon right at the end of class when I started feeling nauseous. I attributed it to hunger, as I remember having a similar feeling a couple of weeks before at about the same time.
I met a few friends for drinks. Someone ordered a nacho potato thing with, of course bacon (I was hanging out with Millennials so of course the classic punch line that so confounds Baby Boomers had to be involved) and shared it with all of us. But the food in my stomach didn’t help and after two club sodas,my third drink involved Alka-Seltzer.
This didn’t help so I excused myself and went across the street to Union South to relax. Instead, I found myself taking several trips to the bathroom where, um, both ends of the alimentary canal were active. I got home and wrapped myself in blankets as I was starting to develop serious chills and I slept twelve hours of a feverish sleep interrupted several times by trips to the bathroom.
I felt better but still out of it the next morning. I made myself a breakfast involving a green smoothie and yogurt. I had a very hard time getting the yogurt down. I slept a few more hours.
Late that morning a housemate stopped me and said, “Have you…uh…stayed well?” Actually, no, I replied. She explained that several people in the house seemed to come down ill with this stomach flu at the same time–five adults and two children. Two of them were guests staying with us. At one point in the middle of the night, one guest felt the need to throw up so she went to the second floor bathroom only to hear someone throwing up and moaning there. So she went to the first floor bathroom but someone was also there throwing up. She ended up having to resort to using the sink.
Everybody recovered within a couple of days. We think it came from a potluck we had Friday night–we learned later that three attendees there got sick later. Stomach flu–more properly known as gastroenteritis because it bears no relation to influenza–is highly contagious.
In nearly ten years of co-op living, I’ve never seen a bug sweep a co-op so fast. Our co-op house is not really a germ factory despite what one might think. Bugs come and go, but at the most maybe one other person catches something from a housemate and I don’t think even that happens very often. We share dinners a few nights a week, but spend a lot of time to ourselves as well. We are fastidious about cleaning, and after the first reports of the house pandemic began to surface, a housemate purchased bottles of hand sanitizer for the two bathrooms and kitchen sink.
We ended up postponing our Sunday house meeting but other than that things are back to normal after a strange weekend. My apologies to anyone sharing those potato bacon nacho things with me if they got hit with the same thing–I thought I was just hungry.