It hit us both at almost exactly the same time, with precisely the force of a Mack truck. A truly terrible bout of stomach flu, with fever, chills and painful body aches thrown in for good measure. I will spare you the unpleasant details; suffice it to say that neither of us have been that sick in years. Four days later and we are just beginning to come around. We would later find out that twenty of our friends whom we had seen two days before all got the same stomach flu within days of a get-together earlier in the week.
The day before our symptoms manifested, we had been on a day trip with family members we were meeting for the first time (*), and we had had a wonderful visit. We had left Buddy, our dog, and Maggie, our cat, home for the day and arrived back home just past suppertime. Having been cooped up all day, Buddy was absolutely full of vim, vinegar and plain old doggy silliness: he literally had more pent-up energy than he knew what to do with. Nonetheless, we were both pretty tired and decided that our sweet doggie could go one day without a run: we would make sure he got out for some exercise in the morning.
Nothing could have prepared us for how dreadful we would feel upon waking up. For two days, we lay in bed, too weak to move except for an occasional bolt to the bathroom. Although the summer weather has finally taken hold after a long and cold spring, despite what the thermometer on our wall said, we were both chilled to the bone. I summoned the energy to get a winter comforter out of storage and weakly spread it out on the bed. For two days, we both huddled under the covers, shivering and miserable.
It took a gargantuan effort for us just to feed Buddy and his feline sister Maggie. If one of us actually went downstairs, we weakly opened the door long enough to make sure Buddy got out for a pee. I had so little energy to spare that I barely noticed, that first awful day, how Buddy barely left our sides. If we were in bed, he was stretched out beside me. At one point, I feebly tried to push some of his substantial weight off my aching back before shakily asking him to get down and sleep on the floor. Being a consummate snuggler, he rarely complies with such a request, but this time, he uncharacteristically got up right away, and lay down on the floor nearby.
On the afternoon of the second day, we were beginning to feel slightly better and I finally noticed and commented on how unusually quiet and gentle Buddy was being: three days without any exercise and not so much as a whimper of protest. ‘Quiet’ and ‘gentle’ are not words one would ever use to describe our silly, rambunctious, highly-energetic dog. “I’m pretty sure doggies can smell illness”, replied my husband, from his side of the bed.
The only member of the family who remained unaffected by the bout of illness that swept roughshod through our household was Maggie. Our cat. As we lay in bed wondering if we would ever feel normal again; as Buddy lay beside us ready to bravely and loyally weather the storm with us no matter what the cost to himself, Her Royal Highness continued to demand her breakfast at the standard time (with much caterwauling and carrying on, especially if we tarried overlong) and imperiously informed us – at precisely 5:00 p.m. each day – that her suppertime was nigh. Utterly indifferent to our suffering, she slept in all her usual places and cleaned herself at all the usual times. Business as usual. To her credit, she didn’t come near our room but I must add that neither of us smelled all that great and, well, she can be finicky about things like that.
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, except to say that if the Zombie Apocalypse ever comes, we can be assured that Buddy will generously, loyally and bravely stay by our sides, through thick and through thin.
After the first missed meal, Maggie will either eat our remains or head out to find some kind-hearted Zombie to feed her. Maybe both.
And knowing her elegant, feline wiles as we do, she will likely do just fine…
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com
(*) I am pleased to say our visiting family members didn’t get sick