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Warning. This post contains zombie vampire-like scenes.
There are few things more tragic than a very ill four year old. Running a nasty fever and feeling woebegone, she was nevertheless stoic to a tee. We got a sign of things to come when her mum went down a couple of days later, just as she was recovering.
And then it was my turn. I woke up feeling God Awful, immediately doing an audit of the previous night's revels and discounting the results of stepping far and wide. It couldn't be the dreaded 'Winter Vomiting Bug'. No way. I hate being sick. I haven't thrown up since I was a student. It feels like 'flu or the after effects of a typhus shot. I lay feeling achey, crampy and generally suffering from a compelling lassitude. The impulse came from absolutely nowhere. One minute I was convincing myself I could get through this without fwowing up*, the next I was in the grip of powerful and inescapably certain impulses. I just made it to the bathroom myself.
You know when you puke so hard it goes through your nose? The upper part of your body just opens up and the lower part tenses. It's like you're a tube of particularly bilious toothpaste and someone's just stamped on you. I swear having your head down a toilet bowl is the most pleasant aspect of the whole experience. Streaming eyes, burning throat and sobbing, dry retches to follow with a side of stench, please.
And I was one of the luckier ones - I only did one trip to the lavabo - other sufferers endure multiple occurrences and even double-ended symptoms. Well, hang on - what did you think a post titled Winter Vomiting Disease was going to read like? A walk on the beach? Stop moaning.
Then the fever sets in, I have never felt cold like it. My fingers were seizing up they were so cold. Blankets and water bottles, a stoked up fire and constant glasses of water started to alleviate the symptoms. Then you're hot, burning up and yet others swear you're clammy.
It's over after a day and night, leaving me doddery and feeling utterly wasted.
Believe me, you don't want to get this sucker. A little Googling reveals the virus survives quite happily on hard surfaces for a week and more, in infected water for six months. It's spread through sneezing and other more icky exchanges of bodily output and is particularly prevalent in hospitals, where they have a devil of a job trying to get rid of it. It closes whole wards. And it's highly contagious. It's not dangerous, just very, very unpleasant.
Worryingly, I found myself using the experience to map to the description I'd put together of Jason Hartmoor getting sick in Shemlan - A Deadly Tragedy and judged my memories good. What a time to be thinking of books...
*The entertainingly vicious Dorothy Parker reviewed, in her 'Constant Reader' book review column, AA Milne's House At Pooh Corner with the remarkable conclusion, 'Tonstant Weeder Fwowed Up.'