The Five Phases of a Stomach Flu

Last Monday my mom came down with a nasty GI bug. Then, the next day, Tom  got sick. We’re pretty sure they both got it from my 3 year old niece.

During those few days I was magically unscathed, I took care of them figuring I’d get sick Wednesday or Thursday. I even tweeted about it.


But then Wednesday came and went. Then Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday. “Holy fucking shit,” I thought to myself, “maybe I’ll actually be spared.” And that is what the germs were waiting for. They don’t just make you sick, they are sick.

At about 1:30am early Sunday morning, I woke up. I didn’t feel so good. Deep down (in my sick stomach) I knew. But, this was the very beginning, the Phase 1. Phase 1 consists of me steeling myself to not get up and barf because if I don’t, then I’m not sick. This is a sad, proud phase. I think even the germs feel sorry for people during this phase, because they know this is a stupid phase, and they know you know it is, too.

Inevitably, I just felt too bad to not get up and barf, and so I did. And you know what? I felt better. This, I believe, is the germs’ favorite phase. Phase 2: throwing up the one time and then thinking, “that wasn’t so bad, I think I’ll go back to sleep.” Oh, how the germs revel in that last grasp at optimism, that naive hope.

Soon, Phase 3: the aches and fever set in. I couldn’t sleep, but everyone else was asleep, so I couldn’t complain to anyone. That left me with my thoughts. My weird, crazy, stomach-virus-fever-thoughts. The two I remember were:

This would have killed me.

-My feet were cold, but I didn’t want to move to get any socks and also thought I would die if I tried to put socks on. So, instead of getting socks, this played in a loop in my head: Get your feet iced up, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit. Over and over and over.

– “I feel so bad, if someone were to prop me up next to Hitler, I would probably just let them take a picture of us together.”

At 3am, after accepting the fact that I was not getting back to sleep and deciding that my fever thoughts were not the best way to pass the time, I went downstairs to watch TV. I watched two and a half hours of Three’s Company, with violent vomit episodes coming to knock on my door once every thirty minutes. This brought about Phase 4 – “oh my God, there’s nothing left in my stomach, I should not have to barf anymore, isn’t there some kind of form I can fill out and turn in that will stop it?” No, there is not. This is the phase of deciding the bathroom floor is as good as any bed, and deciding that food is for chumps, I’m not bothering with it anymore.

Then, morning came, and I could boss Tom around and tell him to do things for me and I didn’t have to throw up anymore, and a Futurama marathon came on, and Phase 5 arrived: the only time I ever, ever eat Jello. And it was good. I ate my Jello, and besocked my own feet, and felt thankful that the worst was over.

Any good fever-thoughts you’d like to share with me so we can all laugh about them since it’s in the past?

34 thoughts on “The Five Phases of a Stomach Flu”

  1. Oh man. Glad you’re on the mend, although I would still milk the whole “I’m weak get this for me” phase if you can.

    Right now I’m knocking on wood as I haven’t had the flu in years and years. But when I was little we had the “puke bucket” and I can’t smell Vernors without thinking I have the flu and my mom’s shoving it down my throat.

  2. I know I have mentioned this recently in a comment somewhere so if it was here I apologize for the repeat.

    I did have the flu somewhat recently and during my fever phase I came up with what I thought was the greatest iPhone app idea of all time which would be a guaranteed success. But unfortunately when I was finally well again all I could remember about it was that it involved throwing stuff into a river. So I’m still in the development phase of it.

  3. I’m glad Hitler is dead. That could have been embarrassing.

    I hate it when a thought loop gets stuck in my head, especially when I can’t blame it on a fever.

    Glad you are feeling better!

  4. Had food poisoning not that long ago and literally thought I was going to die because I couldn’t even stick my tongue in a glass of water without hurling. I though “Oh… THIS is how people die of dehydration.” I could never figure out why they didn’t just chug some water.

  5. Oh wow, the delirium fever dreams. They haunt me. But I never remember them, which is probably for the best because they might drive me mad.

    The last time I was sick like that I remember being freezing and just did not have the strength to pull the blanket, that was at the bottom of my bed, up on top of me. I kept hoping the hubs would come check on me so he could put it on me (he didn’t cuz he was taking care of the kids), and then it all changed when suddenly I had the strength to get up and run to the toilet. Then I put on socks and sweatshirt and blanket. Of course, only to be dying of sweat in another hour or so. Good times!

    Glad you are feeling better!!

  6. Oh no! I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend.

    I would rather be ill with anything, anything at all, than be sick to my stomach. In all honesty, I only skimmed the stages, just reading about it makes me nervous!

  7. I just have to say the whole “picture with Hitler” thing is now the yardstick I’m going to use to measure how bad things are.

    And I have to say the only saving grace for illness for me is Nyquil or Benadryl dreams. I love the crazy dreams I have when I have a flu or infection. Except those Benday dot dreams. Those are pure evil. Otherwise, good times. Good times.

  8. Oh, I hate phase 1. It’s not as bad as phase 1 of “Oh shit I drank too much” and you feel the vomit trying to eek its way out, though. That drunk stuff is worse because you know that it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. At least with the flu, you can blame your niece.

    Hope you’re feeling better.

  9. Your description just brought shudders of horror down my back. Bleh. I’m terrified of the flu in this house. There are 5 people to continually pass it around and it frightens me. Glad you are feeling much better. Loved reading your post =).

  10. – “I feel so bad, if someone were to prop me up next to Hitler, I would probably just let someone take a picture of us together.”

    This was so dang funny I featured it on my ICYMI.

    Laughing/crying. Thank you/

  11. Just headed over from icymi…hope the incubation period is over! Glad you are human again. I remember when I had mono, I had dreams that I was dying, and then would wake up thinking I was dying..cycle of doom!

  12. Following you from Studio 30 Plus!

    “and also thought I would die if I tried to put socks on.”

    This is so funny.

    I don’t know how, but I managed to avoid a horrendous, simultaneously-sick-from-both-ends stomach virus my boyfriend had. It could’ve been the incessant bleaching of all bleachable surfaces and the quarantine I put him in… But it was probably just pure luck.

  13. So I know this was a long time ago but I’m currently in phase 3 and I think my germs are laughing at me too because every time I get sick, I think it’s over.

    I also keep repeating “I’ll carry that old rugged cross and exchange it someday for a crown!” in my head because I’m pretty sure I’m dying. All I want to do is watch the Friends finale.
    I also just wondered why Britney Spears shaved her head and am currently coming up with possible reasons. Yeah I’m going to go but I thought you might want to know. Haha.

  14. My most recent GI virus thoughts were “Holy shit I’m being sold into slavery”. I promptly dozed off to see the Enterprise E do battle with an emo unicorn. I am not even joking here, and I think I need a Psych Eval.

  15. I am curently on the stomache flu too bad its a school week. The worst stage is stage one. Oh how horribile! But my body works faster than others so i am onbstage five.

  16. I just went through this and I must have been asleep during the fever phase because I was having CRAZY dreams about the government afflicting me with this 24 hour hell. Lmfao I’m awake now gonna suck on a popsicle

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