Your kids have gastro? Welcome to a special kind of hell. If you thought there was nothing worse than having gastro yourself, you’re about to experience a whole new world of pain. Oh yes, we’re going there.
If your family has never been visited by the gastro fairy, count your blessings – but know that one day it will be your turn. I too was once smugly untouched by gastro. Until I wasn’t.
Here’s an honest account of what I learnt last week as a parent dealing with gastro-plagued kids:
1. Think of how much washing you do in a week. Double it. Welcome to your first two hours of gastro.
2. While not quite the plague, you will feel like painting a red cross on the door. A bit like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (pardon the pun), for a few days – no one ever goes in, and no one ever comes out.
3. Don’t even think about leaving the house or taking a shower. Or sleeping. For at least 24 to 48 hours.
4. Have nice, supple skin on your hands? Kiss it goodbye, and wave hello to hand-washing. Although thankfully, COVID has probably already well and truly paved the way for this habit.
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5. You’ll become the Martha Stewart of creative towel placement. “Oh, you want to watch TV in the lounge? Let me just deftly arrange this towel into every possible nook and cranny on the sofa.”
6. Parents with a weak disposition will need to drink a cup of concrete. Seriously. You will see, hear and clean up things that will make childbirth seem like a garden tea party.
7. No matter how close you place a bucket to your sick child, it won’t be close enough. Neither will the toilet.
8. Like the Crowded House song, don’t dream it’s over. Because just when you think it is, it isn’t.
9. Once it is over, you should still wait 24 long hours before your children go back to care or school. That’s another 24 hours of confinement. They may be weak, but their minds are strong. And bored.
10. Obviously, if your kids have gastro, you pretty much have gastro by proxy. And in all honesty, you’ll probably get it once they’re well and full of energy. And then a fresh hell awaits.