My sister, her husband, and their 8 kids were coming to visit for Thanksgiving. About a week earlier, they’d all been sick with a stomach virus. My sister sent us disgusting emails elaborating on the 20 puke buckets and the peanut butter vomit that her youngest splattered all over her face.
My mom expressed her fear that we’d become infected. In the meantime, we sent get well poems through the mail to the relatives in hope that their illness would be gone by the time they arrived. As mentioned in her article, You Get What you Expect, her worst fears would soon come true.
The day they arrived, all of the family seemed well. In the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of a child crying. I looked around to see my mom comforting my 3 year old niece in the next bed. Exhausted, I forgot about it and went to sleep. The next morning, after discovering diarrhea on the toilet seat, I asked my mom what had happened. She said that my niece had been ill.
We then headed off to the open house at the local coffee factory. After an interesting tour, the family sampled different flavors of coffee. They were all bland and watery, but it was still fun to try them out.
Our relatives love sushi, and they wanted us to experience the joy of eating fish wrapped in seaweed and rice. Since we were curious about sushi, we figured that it couldn’t hurt to try some out with our more experienced relatives.
Our guests brought us to the sushi restaurant and ordered. The sushi wasn’t that bad; but I’ll never forget how disgusting the seaweed was. The mere memory of that seaweed sends my stomach churning.
Nearly a year after eating sushi, I gagged in Costco after eating lobster bisque that had seaweed snuck into it.
It wasn’t until later that evening that the chaos began. I was playing with my 1 year old niece when I noticed my mom had mysteriously disappeared. After some searching, I found her in my dad‘s bathroom.
There she sat on the floor, looking horrified. I discovered that she thought that she was sick. I blew it off, knowing my mother’s fear could easily have made her think she was coming down with something. Probably she’d be fine in a moment.
Over the evening, I continuously checked back downstairs in the bathroom. She was still there, peaked and mysterious.
Then my sister disappeared. I snuck down into the bathroom to find the two of them sitting on the floor, leaning against the toilet.
“E’s not feeling well.”
Sighing, I went upstairs. My composure was beginning to whither away. If everyone was getting sick, I was next.
Did I feel a belly ache beginning? A shiver ran through my body and then a wave of dizziness.
“Yes,” I thought to myself, “You’ve got it too.”
I staggered down into the basement to find my mom and sister lying in sleeping bags with wet towels folded on their heads.
“We’re sleeping here,” groaned my mother.
By that time, I wasn‘t feeling good at all. I went out in my nightgown to say goodnight to some of our relatives, who were heading to the hotel to sleep. My three oldest nieces would be staying at our house for the night…in the same bed as me.
I rounded up my nieces, then 10, 8, and 6 to go to bed. Unwillingly, everyone got into the sagging sofa bed. I tried to get to sleep but was dizzy, faint and nauseous.
My little sister came upstairs. “I puked,” she said.
A moment later I felt barf rising in my throat and stood up. Pink vomit with chunks of seaweed gushed out like a projectile. Continuing to hurl, I staggered towards the bathroom, leaving massive amounts of puke on the rug and in my shoes. My nieces were now awake and stood with me in the kitchen as my dad mopped up the mess.
“This is the best Thanksgiving ever!” exclaimed my 10 year old niece, “You’ll have to sit on toilets as you eat the turkey!”
My niece sat laughing giddily while the two others were silent and appeared disgusted. The rest of the night was torment.
My dad left to the basement, and later retreated to his room. My nieces fell fast asleep and I was left to be sick all alone. How I made it through the night without going insane is still a mystery to me.
Every time I thought I was about to fall asleep, I puked. Each vomit was huge and projectile. After puking the third time, cleaning up the floors, and dumping the bucket of vomit into the toilet, I decided to drink some water to flush out my system.
“I’ll pee it all out!” I thought. My idea was wrong.
My puke was no longer made of food, just yellow bile. I just leaned over the side of the bed and puked into the adjacent bucket without dumping it out. After my 4th puke, I slept for maybe an hour. It was around 4 o’clock in the morning and I awakened to painfully dry heave into the bucket.
Gasping and heaving, I woke up my eldest niece and held her hand as I continued to gag up watery yellow bile. After that, I decided not to puke anymore and slept the rest of the night.
The next day was a haze of lying in bed and sipping on melted ice cubes. At 11 o’clock PM – 24 hours since the illness came on, I felt better and fell into a deep sleep. That day goes down in history as “the day that didn’t exist.”
The next day was Thanksgiving – for everyone else, at least.
That year we celebrated Thanksgiving on a Saturday. As my niece once said, it was the best Thanksgiving ever.
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