Family bracing for winter’s fast spreading sickness

As I write this column, the bumbling burglars are just starting to be outsmarted by young Kevin in the movie “Home Alone.” The smell of Lysol tweaks my nose and my son’s laughter, in between nibbles of saltines, is filling the room.

Kelly Johnson
Kelly Johnson

It’s a sick day in the Johnson house, with “Home Alone” likely on repeat as it’s one of my son’s favorite movies and movies are a great way to pass the day away while confined to the living room couch.

We’ve been pretty fortunate this winter, having avoided much of the illnesses that have been going around school and day care. We are extremely fortunate, too, to have relatively healthy kids overall and generally only have to worry about common childhood ailments making their way throughout house.

I’ve been reading about the flu that’s been going around, knocking individuals and families down in one fell swoop.

Luckily for us, it’s been nothing but run of the mill colds and an ear infection at our house.

And with the number of kids absent in my children’s classes earlier last month, I felt relieved that we were able to avoid the stomach bug that was knocking out the kids’ friends and classmates.

But last night it finally hit. Sometime after going to bed, my son lost his lunch and life in the Johnson house went into sick mode.

Laundry has been going, a quick trip to the store was made to stock up on supplies and everything has been disinfected time and again. Hands are turning red from constant washing.

All this in an effort to keep the bug from spreading through the house.

It’s never great when someone is sick, but the stomach bugs are the worst. Beyond just being gross to clean up and painfully uncomfortable to endure, they are things that seem to come on without warning and plow through the house, knocking nearly everyone down over the course of a week or more.

I think that is sometimes the worst of the sickies that seem to come hand in hand with cold weather.

The anticipation of what’s likely to come is almost as bad as suffering through the reality.

As soon as one member of the family gets a stomach bug or intestinal ailment, your own body starts to doubt its defenses. Could my stomach be slightly upset? What’s that strange feeling in whatever part of my body seems to be hurting?

The same thing happens when one of the kids has strep throat. Suddenly after the diagnosis, your own throat starts to feel slightly sore.

And with a cold – is that sneeze just allergies or could it be something more? And what about that tickle in my throat. I don’t think it was there yesterday.

Luckily, more often than not it’s just a phantom ailment that is brought on by caring for the ill. Call it some pseudo psychological sympathy pains or something of the sort.

All in all, though, it’s enough to elicit a feeling of dread in anticipation of what might be coming.

Whether or not the bug materializes, we are fortunate to get through most of the illnesses fairly easily.

For the infirm, there’s time spent on the couch, watching movies and getting some much needed rest.

For the healthy, there’s lots of soap and water as well as scrubbing of the house to keep the germs from spreading.

When it’s all over, we’ll see you out and about.

You can’t miss the Johnson family. We’ll be the ones smelling of Lysol and hand sanitizer as we catch up on errands and get back to doing our normal activities.