Sick as mangy, syphilitic, rabies-ridden, starving, nasty garbage-gang dogs. A bout of gastro hit the house on Saturday night - the night I was performing in my short play. Yes, ridonkulous. This is life when you have three kids in daycare and preschool and school. The bugs, they keep a-coming.
I spent most of the night in my dressing room with my head on a chair, gripped with horrible nausea. I couldn't run lines with my co-performer, watch other acts or hang out with the friends who had come to watch. I couldn't really talk. My body was shutting down, processing the flu I had been fighting for a week, stage-nerves, and the building momentum of a gastro bug. I just stared into space and worried about the kids and willed the minutes to pass until it was over and I could go home.
As I walked onstage, I felt cold and sweaty. I didn't know if I would remember my lines, and I couldn't be sure I wouldn't throw up out there.
But under the lights, the powerful effects of adrenalin surged through me. I sang, I acted, and I felt the warm thrill of watching an audience respond to lines I had written, voiced so beautifully by my friend and co-performer Al. They laughed, they cried, they clapped. All the while, up the back, I watched Keith and my mum grin proudly. It was really an amazing experience.
After the show, Keith and I headed straight home where we mobilised the gastro-plan: stripping ghastly, stinky beds (poor Ted threw up in his sleep), showering kids, setting up the mobile field hospital of buckets and towels, and then, and only then, the adrenaline wore off, my grinding nausea reached a peak and I started vomiting too, with Keith not far behind.
This gastro bug landed on our flu-depleted systems, and we are just wiped out. Keith and I have been as bed-bound as is possible with three small children, and I am feeling very grateful to my Mum and Dad today. Pop took on sick Ivy on Saturday night, so that Keith and Mum wouldn't miss my show. She sat up in an armchair with a bowl and watched the footy with him. Today, they took Georgie, the only thriving human in the bunch, so that we could have an easier time of it at home. It's been a very long time, if ever, that Keith and I have both been so sick at once. It's been very low-key. Watching Cake Boss, playing games of Uno, using my limited energy to get chicken soup and crackers and soda water into my poor sick beloveds.
I feel very happy that I stretched myself creatively to make something new. But christ on a handcart, am I glad it's over. Roll on spring. Roll on recovery.
(And I will definitely be getting a flu shot next year.)