Holiday Assholery: The Morphing Virus from Hades

December 15, 2014

The beginning of last week–the week stuffed to the brim with activities–got off to a tremendous start. I was organized, energized and determined to make sure things went off without a hitch. Without a hitch, I tell you!

I baked off all of the cutout cookies for Miss D.’s birthday party and froze them, ready for decorating on the big day. I bought all of the decorating supplies.

I made several meals in advance, anticipating crazy evenings.

I packed a week’s worth of lunches, ready to go.

I squeezed in workouts, even when time was fleeting.

By Wednesday, I was feeling quite pleased with myself. This busy week was my bitch.

And then Wednesday night, after I put the kids to bed, I began to feel a little…steamy. I figured it was one of those special hot flashes I’ve started getting, but just in case, I made a cup of tea, popped a multivitamin and went to bed. By midnight, I was downright blazing. I was sweating like Rocky Balboa, and when I woke in the morning, after a fitful night, I looked like him too. Holy under-eye bags!

My head felt like a punching bag and Jesus, my throat was in flames. I lurched to the kitchen to make tea and bid my husband good morning by growling, “Dammit, I’m sick.” He gave me a hug and a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and said, “I’ll see if I can come home from work a little early so you can rest.”  Then I got a text from him half an hour later: “Oh, man. Two of our docs are sick, too. We’re shorthanded. Sorry.”

I sucked it up and managed to be somewhat functional Thursday, although by the time I got to my afternoon hair appointment, I was really in bad shape. My stylist did the bare minimum and got me out of there lickety-split, so I could go moan on the couch for a bit before fetching the girls from school. My husband arrived after work with all of the essentials for an emergency Thoddy; it was that bad. Unfortunately, even my secret weapon didn’t work–I hardly slept at all that night because I couldn’t shake the headache and Jesus, that throat!

Even though I’ve only had strep once in my life (odd, since my sister always seemed to have it), Friday morning I went in for a strep test. I figured that since I didn’t have congestion or a runny nose, it wasn’t a cold, so maybe I had gotten my second case of strep in a lifetime of being unafflicted, but nope. Not strep. How could that be? Jesus, that throat!

Since the Thoddy didn’t work, I figured that I’d pull out my next favorite secret weapon against disease, a steaming bowl of pho from our local Vietnamese joint. The Vietnamese joint is conveniently located down the street from the doctor’s office, so I called right before my appointment so I could run in, grab my pho and go. No answer when I called. Hmph. Tried again. Nada. After my appointment, I drove there, parked, and when I walked up to the door, I noticed that the door was open, but the place was empty. And by empty, I mean no tables, no chairs, no nothing, except…charred walls.

The only place for pho in town had burned in a kitchen fire last week.

Of course it did.

Pho denied. I almost cried, seriously. No pho for me! Waaa! My screaming throat would have to deal.

Soon, I forgot about the throat. That evening, the gastrointestinal demons started a disco party in my lower bowel. Lots of quality bathroom time. By this time, I was getting mighty cranky. What sort of crazy virus was this?

I woke on Saturday–the day of Miss D.’s party–with a calm stomach, a throat that was sore but not blazing, a milder headache, and…a newly congested sinus cavity and endlessly runny nose. WTF? The Morphing Virus from Hades had now invaded my face.  I guess it just decided to visit every spot on my body, like a sadistic Santa.

Clearly, this was not one of my better weeks, but there were some silver linings:

– the week was front-loaded with a lot of the activities, so the only thing I actually had to skip out on was my husband’s holiday party on Friday night, and while I felt sorry for him having to attend solo, I’m not the best party person, so I wasn’t crying a river about staying home.

– when a virus goes gastro on you, you’re so relieved when it finally quits that wherever it goes next doesn’t seem so bad. Sinus, shminus.  So I look like Rudolph. Whatever. Pass the tissues.

– after learned that my pho joint had *sob* gone up in flames, I rummaged around the pantry and found that I had the ingredients to make my Faux Pho…sort of. I didn’t have any rice noodles or chicken or bean sprouts. But I did have the ingredients to make the broth itself, and that’s the healing part of the dish, anyways. So over the course of three days, I went through two big pots of broth. By myself. What I ended up doing was just keeping a big pot of broth on simmer all day, and every hour or so, I’d ladle some broth into my little “heal me Jesus please” cup and suck it down.

^Heal Me Jesus Please Cup. Cute, right?


I customized my broth as the virus worked its way through my person–when it was in my g.i. tract, I went light on the Sriracha and heavy on the mint; when it invaded my sinuses, I Sriracha’ed the shit out of it.

– sucking down all of that broth over three days really did, I think, make that nasty thing move faster through my system. By the time the of D.’s party Saturday afternoon, I could sort of function okay. The party was lovely and the girls had fun and many cookies were decorated.

^Yep, that’s a Christmas Ninja. Because holidays need Ninjas, y’all.


Man,can I tell you how LOUD 5 teenage girls can be? Holy crap. Those girls never shut up. Not for one minute. But gosh, they’re nice girls. Funny, sweet, self-depracating, blessedly un-boy-crazy girls. I know I’m working on borrowed time with the un-boy-crazy, but I’m grateful for late bloomers.

Mozzy is grateful for girls who throw little cookie crumbs on the floor:


Not only were Miss D. and her friends happy to include Mozzy in the festivities, they were happy to include Miss M., too. It melted my heart, seeing how patient, sweet and kind they were to Hummingbird, who was a bit slow on the decorating front, given her broken wing. I know that at some point, the gap will widen between my girls (at least for a while) but for now, they’re still delicious together. I’m so lucky.

And since we’re talking lucky–Happy Birthday, Miss D., the original Minx.  On this day in 2001, you made your debut, in the middle of the night, in a snow storm. All five pounds of you.


You are such a pistol, but you bring the joy, tilt-a-whirl girl.




Off subject, but one caveat re: the simmering pot of brew as a virus rememdy: While I do recommend the 2 Pots of Pho method in a viral emergency, it is generally not advisable to consume that much sodium over a 3-day period. I look a bit like a pufferfish. But in a case of pufferfish vs Morphing Virus from Hades? I’ll take the fins any day.

I’m still feeling mighty punky, so it may be a few days before I’m in this space again, but I’m sending you my love and hope you are surviving these busy times virus-free. xoxo

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer December 15, 2014 at 9:01 am

Looking like a puffer fish is totally worth it.

How did I not know/remember that our girls share a birthday (or really close to sharing, Cady is on the 15th), but a few years apart? Happy birthday to the one who made you a momma, and I’m glad you are feeling better.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri December 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

Hope you are on your way to recovery, Kitch.
Happy Birthday to Miss D! xo


S in AK December 15, 2014 at 10:05 am

I’m don’t know how you make an illness from h-e-double hockey-sticks entertaining but you sure do. Did anyone swab you for flu? The one time I’m aware I got flu, my throat hurt worse than any strep infection I ever had. Hope you get to feeling better, soon. Happy birthday to the whole fam-damily on the anniversary of its beginning with your feisty, fabulous Miss D. ! <3


D. A. Wolf December 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Faux pho and a disco party in your lower bowel. Only YOU, Dana, could make being sick sick sick entertaining! Well, for us, anyway.

Hope you are on the mend, and a very happy birthday to Miss D!



Shannon December 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Hope that the nasty bug leaves your house completely soon and happy birthday to Miss D!


Sherri December 16, 2014 at 7:09 am

Saw “holiday assholery” and knew that could go any way this season…. Sorry to hear you were sick – I am sick-ish, which means it has not turned into anything real… just feeling slower. Kudos on making the busy week your bitch, btw – and Happy Birthday to Miss D.


denise December 16, 2014 at 10:35 am

Poor thing. Sending virtual hugs, Puffs tissues with Vicks AND Lotion and time to rest. (Coming out from my rock, missing seeing your words, glad to read them today. ) xo


Dana Talusani December 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm


I think I missed something…Do you share a birthday with Miss D.? I was kind of out of it the past few days, but did you have a birthday and I missed it? Crap, I bet I did. I miss a lot of things. Happy birthday, beautiful girl. ps: if you want to talk about the rock, being under it or struggling with it or anything rock related, I am here. Truly. I think I have more shameful time under the rock than just about anybody. How’s that for a resume? Expert at Under the Rock.


Biz December 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Before you even mentioned the sodium, I was thinking the same thing after eating that broth for days – but a spicy broth really does the trick, doesn’t it?!

Yep, the last big party I had for Hannah was in 7th grade – I had 7 girls over and it was insanely loud and I think two of them never went to bed at all!


Barbara December 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Lordy, what a week! I truly hope the flu shot I got covers this, but I gravely doubt it. I suppose I could stay in the house until Saturday when my daughter gets here…no germs that way. :) not practical though. She’ll probably come home with a cold!
The one bad thing I remember about kids and grandkids is they bring home lots of germs and diseases from school. Sounds like you caught yours some other way as the kids aren’t sick. (I hope) At least you got through the party, PLUS you did all that advance work. Things could have been worse. I guess.
Feel better…have a fabulous Christmas!


Alison December 17, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Oh, the hell. I’m so sorry. Get well soon!


elizabeth December 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Jeezy Creezy when bugs get you they hit you hard! I’m sorry your pho place is no more (here’s hoping they are able to reopen sooner rather than later) but you were spot-on with making lots of broth to help you heal. Glad to see you coming out on the better end of it, and hell yeah to at least handling most of the busy stuff in hand prior to falling ill!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me December 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm

So sorry to hear you had the virus from hell – hope by now you are long over it. Nothing like homemade broth to kick out the germs.
Happy holidays to your family from all of us!


Tiffany December 30, 2014 at 7:21 am

I sincerely hope you’re feeling better. And teenage girls? That is why I drive home from work in silence. Love them, but they’re loud. And the boys are even louder.


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