When my sister was in high school, she had a friend named Erica who I loved. Erica had hair so blonde it was almost unreal; sometimes, when the light caught it right, it almost looked like a halo. Erica was one of those girls who was beautiful but didn’t know it yet. What I liked best about her, though, was her sense of humor. She was funny in that wry, quiet way that could catch you by surprise. She didn’t mind laughing at her own foibles or making jokes at her own expense–kind of a rarity for a teenager.
One of Erica’s favorite jokes was about the stubborn five pounds that she never could seem to lose.
“I mean it, girls, I’m always one good stomach flu away from my ideal weight,” she’d say, narrowing her eyes and scrutinizing her backside. “That’s all I need. One good flu! Is that too much to ask? Damn immune system. I never get sick.”
Erica and my sister lost touch after college, so I don’t know if she ever got that magic bout of stomach flu, but one thing I do know–if stomach flu were ever a thing that could be bartered or borrowed, she’s welcome to some of mine.
I’m prone to all sorts of bodily fuckery: allergies, asthma, tinnitus, clumsiness that results in head injuries, pneumonia, sinus infections…but if I had to pick the one body part most susceptible to criminal mischief, it’s my gut.
It’s always been so.
I am ruled by my mercurial and dyspeptic stomach. It balks, it belches, it seizes up, it throws up and even when it’s not doing those things, if I’m emotionally distressed by anything, it then does all of those things.
By the third grade, I’d swilled enough Barium (bleargh!) and had enough scans of my digestive tract to rival someone seven times my age. The diagnoses were somewhat vague and remarkably similar–in short, I have an acidic, ulcer-prone, perennially pissed off stomach. “It’s agitated by stress,” one doctor advised my mother. “You should try to keep her calm.”
Ps: good luck with that.
Sometimes, you’re just a nervous girl.
Over the years, I’ve just gotten used to the fact that I need to buy stock in Rolaids, Tums and Zantac. I’m not throwing stones, because those totally beat the nasty banana-flavored stomach tonic of my youth or the chalky spoonfuls of Peptol-Bismol. I’ve also jumped on the pro-biotic bandwagon, because everyone says so. Apparently, it is vital to control the levels of flora/types/varieties of bacteria in your belly and digestive tract, lest you come down with…
Are you bored yet?
I’m bored with just about everything health-wise and nutrition-wise that’s being thrown around in the media, because it’s constant–including the “bacteria in my gut stuff”– so I don’t really read anymore. I have a tolerance for about three articles and then I huck my hands in the air and just take my stinking probiotic and hope for the best. My probiotic is supposed to keep me healthy (ish) and I should trust the experts. That’s all I need to know.
Except this spring, my probiotic isn’t doing jack. I’m a little bitter about it.
I’m particularly bitter because in the span of three weeks, I have come down with the Norovirus twice.
The Norovirus is nothing like the bout of stomach flu that my sister’s friend Erica wished for. It’s nothing like the stomach flu that I often got as a kid, where I threw up once or twice and got to stay home for a couple of days, spooning Jell-o and watching Hollywood Squares.
Norovirus: a contagious, vicious barfing monstrosity that makes you so disgusting that you want to die. Norovirus is that thing you hear about on the news–the one that forces large cruise ships to turn back to port, because an entire ship is floating toxic waste.
Things that turn entire cruise ships around = ______________________.
Thanks, asshole stomach! You’ve betrayed me all my life, so why should you change your ways now?
Anyways, that’s why I’ve been scarce and the second bout of Norovirus is how my body decided to kick off the Minxes’ Spring Break, so I guess we won’t be partying it up in Fort Lauderdale the next week or two.
We also won’t be partying because I have to go in for a little surgical thingy soon, so I need to stick kinda close to home. It’s nothing bad, I promise you, but this lady is old and sometimes old lady things need tending to. Good news: not anything dire. Bad news: nothing glamorous.
I’d like you to imagine my awesome new set of boobs or my new Kardashian booty, though, so just do that.
I’ll be back in a bit, after dust settles. I hope you’ll all have good things to tell me when I get back to business. Love you, readers. And take those probiotics, just because.