Vomiting: The Great Leveler

A few weeks ago I was struck down with the stomach flu. Yes, that kind. The one where you find religion: "Please God, I'll do anything to stop throwing up, anything."

This incident reminded me of my extended family, as for as long as I can remember we've had the joke around our Christmas gatherings that it isn't Christmas until one of us is sick. Perhaps I contracted this illness just to feel closer to my family shortly after the first Christmas ever that I haven't spent with them? Or -- more likely -- just bad luck.

And what is it about puking stories? People love to share them. My favorite one involves my brother (and coincidentally takes place one Christmas Eve). We were all in the kitchen and my Dad was preparing dinner before we were due to leave for the 11 o'clock service of lessons and carols. And it was the year that I had been given the honor of putting the baby Jesus figurine in the creche at midnight. He was three at the time and said, in a very somber way, "I think I'm going to grow up." At which point the three of us looked at him twinkly-eyed and sighed at his cute realization that some day he would become a adult.

And then he threw up all over the kitchen floor.

Ah, that would have been "throw up", not "grow up".

My mother never did get to see me put the baby Jesus in the creche. (Although she contests that she has seen so many 12-year-old girls with long brown hair in the red choir robe do it, that she almost swears she did. And it's not like it required much special skill on my part.)

My personal best vomiting story took place at one of the New York blood centers. My mother used to give blood like a champ and so as a 5-year-old I was quite used to the whole process. And I certainly loved the sugary treats that the nurses let me eat while Mom was hooked up to the bag. Which turned out to be the problem: on one occasion, I ate so many jelly beans that I spewed all over the floor, at which point my Mom panicked and tried to jump off the table. One of the nice nurses preferred she finish giving her pint and took me to the ladies room to clean me up. I wonder if there's a note on her file somewhere that says: despite highly desirable o-positive universal donor blood type, highly undesirable vomiting child. 

There's something positively leveling about puking. It reminds us that we're 100% human, and that everyone -- including high flying executives, royalty or rock stars (definitely rock stars) -- has some story where they were struck down helpless from illness, drink or food-induced vomiting episode. I just wish I could remember more frequently how happy I am that I'm NOT puking. It's definitely one to add to the gratitude list.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Donna. It was not fun. But hopefully that's my quota of illness for 2015!


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