You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy™
The Stomach Bug.
What a polite term for something so atrocious.
I Google the term STOMACH BUG and I see a photo of a woman sitting on a doctor’s exam table. She is bent over, clutching her gut. Her face is twisted in pain. She looks like she needs a priest to perform an exorcism.
The headline beside her face asks is it a stomach bug? Is it food poisoning?
IS IT THE END OF THE WORLD?
For Christ Sakes, even Google doesn’t know.
This is the enigmatic disaster I have been living for the better part of a week.
I woke up Friday to a roller coaster in my belly.
Apparently, the bacterium only needs to be so tall to ride.
My gut is doing loop the loops while juggling battery acid and chugging hot vinegar.
In the last week, my bathroom is my new safe space.
A Stomach Bug is a culinary crap shoot. It’s jarring like a rock being thrown through a plate glass window.
One moment I’m fine. The next moment, Grumble, Gurgle, Blurgh.
It just happens, suddenly, violently, shattering all the peace and quiet in your life.
The Stomach Bug is a fire alarm in a high rise.
It’s unplanned, noisy and uncomfortable.
And for the last week, the Stomach Bug has defined the parameters of my existence.
I have nicknamed my Stomach Bug, Dorian, because it coincides with the massive storm swirling in the Atlantic.
Like Dorian, I have tracked my Stomach Bug much the way FEMA has tracked Dorian, by the hour, with GPS, with a bevy of reporters in wind breakers.
The Stomach Bug and the Hurricane are not so different. Both are relentless, unforgiving, and unstoppable as they swirl and churn up a diabolical broth.
The Stomach Bug. What does that even mean, anyway?
It’s a colloquialism for digestive disaster.
If Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel was covering this biological storm, he would point at the churning sea and say, “it’s a bulbous wall cloud of dyspeptic angst. Back to you Bob.”
So do I have The Stomach Bug? Or do I have some 13th Century version of Bubonic Plague?
Somewhere outside my window I hear a man shouting, “Bring out your dead!”
It’s a misnomer designed to assuage fear and lower disgust.
Calling what I have a Stomach Bug is like calling Hiroshima an electrical glitch.
Why even use the phrase, STOMACH BUG?
Why not call it gastrointestinal malfeasance?
Because that’s scary. Nobody would say that outside of a doctor’s office.
Quite frankly, Stomach Bug is a softer, gentler way of conveying a biologically disgusting function that most people do not want to discuss.
So I will talk in figurative language to spare you the graphic reality.
What I have is the equivalent of a Super Moon of digestive tidal reorientation.
What I have is a jack hammer to the lower intestine.
“I hear you have a bout of the stomach bug,” someone at work said, her face becoming almost prune like.
“Yes, I’ve been stricken,” I respond.
Stomach Bug. It’s a non invasive, readily understood term, that lets others know you are dying a medieval type death, without probing too deep, donning latex gloves or vomiting into an airline bag.
The Stomach Bug.
It’s such a sedate way of describing what I have.
It conjures imagery of a centipede, slow and fuzzy, walking across a leaf in a neatly manicured back yard. The cute little creature could be the cover of a Children’s Book.
The Stomach Bug.
Perhaps it’s a single ant, meandering up a tree in search of his ant friends, who will later attend a picnic thrown by church Quakers.
How cute. How unassuming.
The stomach Bug.
What an inconvenience.
The Stomach Bug.
Call it what it really is; a slithering demon, a parasitic pirate with sharp teeth, chewing on a grown man’s colon.
THE STOMACH BUG.
Stomach Bug my ass.
Call a spade a spade America.
This is gastric war!
“You have the stomach bug,” the doctor said.
“It could be a virus. It could be bacterial. If it’s viral, there’s nothing you can do,” the doctor says with all the reassurance of an undertaker lining a coffin.
“You’ve just got to ride it out.”
The doctor goes back to typing in his ipad.
I stare at his big bulbous head, as his fingers type medical words that will not save me.
“Have you thought about buying some Benefiber?,” he says without looking up.
Have you thought about what the hell you just said, I ruminate with no emotion.
“It will help clean you out,” he adds.
Clean me out?
I’m clean as a whistle, Doc.
You could eat off my colon it is so cleaned out.
I need a cork. You got a cork in that big white coat of yours?
While I consider slapping this man of medicine in the head, I feel my stomach rumble.
And suddenly the thought of where is the restroom fills my thoughts.
And that is a terrible by product of this ordeal. I think about bathroom locations like fire marshals think about emergency exits in movie theaters.
“I’m going to order a full lab work up and blood,” he says, interrupting my thoughts.
I am not pleased. The last thing I want is probing of my already jaundiced body.
After my blood draw and other unmentionable biological requirements, I head home.
I get to my car and slowly lower myself into the cockpit. I clutch the steering wheel, bracing myself on the middle console, making sure to sit as gingerly as possible.
My stomach is rumbling, my ass sore, my abdominal area a swamp monster slithering in the bog.
I just want to sit with a ripple, not a splash.
My digestive tract has been more abused than a Mafia Mistress.
As I drive away from the doctor, I think about the week that was.
Friday morning it began. It was a shot gun blast to the gut.
It’s been a flood gate open since then.
Will I survive?
Battle Lines are Drawn. Only time will tell.
But this much I do know.
To call the civil war of bacterial disruption a Stomach Bug is an insult to petri dishes everywhere.