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The Twelve* Stages of the 24hr Stomach Flu

The last twenty-four hours have been less than ideal for me. Between feeling like my bedroom was spinning to sleeping with a garbage bag nearby bedside table in case I get sick and can’t make it to the bathroom, I have had what most would consider the stomach flu. Except unlike the full-blown stomach flu, this is the condensed, Sparknotes version. All the same symptoms, but all in the span of about a day. And trust me, the symptoms are just as bad. Worse even. For the sake of those lovely people who have been blessed with never having the 24 Stomach Flu, let me break it down for you, stage by stage:

Stage 1: Huh, that’s weird, I’m suddenly not feeling to well. You day will start off normal. Nothing out of the ordinary will happen, you’ll go to you classes or work, you eat the same thing you always eat for lunch, but then, something changes. You begin to feel a little off. You may get a stomach ache, even though all you ate for lunch was a turkey sub and Baked Lays from Subway. At this stage you blame your ill feelings on indigestion or not eating enough.

Even in illness I'm still a grammar nazi.

Stage 2: Wow, what is going on with me? Now you know it’s probably not indigestion. The Peptol Bysmol you took is not helping. Not only do you now have a stomach ache, but thinking about food is now causing you to become ill. You may also experience dizziness and sudden fatigue.

Stage 3: Okay, I really don’t feel well. At this point, you pack up your work, tell your boss you need to go home and hope to god you can make it there before getting sick all over the sidewalk. You stumble home, trying hard not to smell the Domino’s Pizza and Chipotle you must pass on your way home.

Stage 4: Why is the room spinning? I think I’m going to be sick. Hopefully you made it home vomit free. If you have, bonus points to you! If not, sucks to be you. You are now laying on your bed, wishing that the ceiling would stop rotating and your bed would stop jarring. Your backpack/briefcase/whatever-you-carry-your-work-things-in bag has been dumped on the floor along with your coat, mail (if you even bothered to get it), and shoes. You can pick them up later when the idea of bending over is to pick them up, not to throw up in the toilet. Most likely at this stage, you will get sick. And it will be violent. And you will feel like crap.

Hopefully you won't look as pathetic as this guy.

Stage 5: The “Dear God I’m Going to Die” Panic Attack. You’ve gotten sick. It was awful. You feel awful. You crawl back into bed, limbs shaking from the strain you just put on them. As you lie there trying to regain stability, a horrible thought runs through your head: I’m going to die. What ever this is, is going to kill me. At that moment you wish you had ordered the meatball sub instead of the Turkey sub, because the meatball was what you really wanted but you didn’t get it because it was higher in calories. You wish you had the strength to write a quick will, so that your friends and family know who should get your monkey cookie jar and who should get your giraffe figurine from Nigeria. An overwhelming fear overcomes you when you realize neither of your roommates/family members are home and they will come in and find you dead, half in your pajamas, half in your work clothes with your hair slightly damp from rinsing the vomit out of it. You wish you had shaved your legs the night before so the coroner wouldn’t have to touch your hairy legs. All of this happens within the span of about a minute to a minute and a half.

Stage 6: Acceptance of your impending death and peace knowing you’ll soon be done with whatever this is. After the panic attack subsides, you suddenly don’t really care if you die or not. If you die, you get to go to heaven, and you won’t feel like crap anymore. And at the time, that sounds pretty good. You don’t want to die, but you’ve come to terms with it.

JESUS: Stomach flu, eh? ME: Yeah, couldn't seem to keep anything down. JESUS: Well come on in, I'll make you some loaves and fish. You must be starving.

Stage 7: The Major Nap. As you drift off to Heaven sleep, your body just kind of takes over and puts you in a coma. You’re out for hours, and not even an earthquake or the apocalypse would wake you. This is a good thing, because at least you aren’t throwing up.

She has no idea zombies are about to break down her door.

Stage 8: The fullest bladder ever; also known as the biggest pee in your life. If you were taking care of yourself prior to the major nap, you would have been drinking plenty of clear fluids or Gatorade. What little managed to stay in you have now made it to your bladder and honey, your bladder is about to burst. You run to the bathroom, happy that for once you’re not there to vomit. Relieved that your bladder is no longer empty, and that you didn’t get sick, you think maybe you’ll try to eat something.

Stage 9: The sudden food cravings. Because you haven’t eaten anything in quite a while, your body might want something odd, but nothing that would make you sick again. Like mashed potatoes. Or a PB&J. Or buttered noodles and parmesan from Noodles and Company. If you’re lucky enough to have those foods, you’ll make them. If not, you’ll find something else to eat.

Oh yes please.

*Optional Stage: The revert to sickness. If your food craving did not make you feel better, it may cause you to get sick again. If this occurs, stages 7-9 might be repeated.

Stage 10: The Second Major Nap. Just to be on the safe side, you’ll take a nap after you eat something. This nap will either confirm or deny whether you are getting better or not. If you wake up during the nap and get sick, then that’s a bad sign. If you make it through this nap without getting sick, the light is at the end of the tunnel my friends.

Stage 11: The starvation mode. If you Successfully made it through the Second Major Nap, you will most likely wake up starving. It will feel as though your stomach is a black hole that will suck itself away if you don’t get food this very instant. You will be ravenous. Don’t make the mistake though of eating whatever is in the fridge. That will just make you sick again. Eat a full meal, but make sure is still bland-ish.

The downside to stomach flu (besides your body refusing to keep anything down) is that you don't get turned into a butterfly at the end. You're still just you.

Stage 12: I’m totally fine again. What the crap? Suddenly, all is well. It will feel like you were never sick. And there’s no particular reason for it. All you know is you were on your death-bed a few hours ago and now you’re completely better. C’est la vie.

Okay, you probably won't feel this great. But she's only that happy because she's getting paid.

About blweathers

I want to write. About what, I'm not sure. We'll figure that out together.

27 responses »

  1. This was a good and accurate read! I hope that my affliction goes away soon. I’ve been dealing with the nausea and tiredness for a week now. But I got the “optional” step, so me still feeling this way is certainly my fault :(

    Reply
  2. Hilarious and very true! I started feeling awful last night, made it to work today but came home and collapsed – I think I’m starting to feel human again, so hoping I wake tomorrow with a WTF feeling!

    Reply
  3. Going through this right now. Happy New Years to me.

    Reply
  4. I too, am going through this. This is my third day. Although my fever has dropped considerably, I was advised by my MD’s nurse not to Return to work unless i had been fever free for 24 hours. That hasnt happened yet. I was also told that a fever is 100 and up. It’s been a great New Year thus far – lol. Sending Positive Thoughts and prayers to those afflicted!

    Reply
  5. I too am dealing with this for New Years. =| going on day 5 tomorrow. Mostly just awkward feelings and can’t eat normal yet. And nighttime sickness. But I’m hoping its gone soon!

    This was such an awesome read haha. I definitely already came to grips with death haha. Even randomly added more salad and veggies to my diet 3-4 days a week.

    Reply
  6. Stage 6.6: Being a hot & sweaty yet simultaneously cold mess, wanting desperately to shower but knowing your skin hurts & you are too weak to walk as far as the bathroom.

    Stage 12 could also be called “I’m not dead?!?”

    Reply
  7. Ah, I so agree with you. I have had the 24 hour flu today. It began last night about 3am and is, now, nearly over. I subsisted a lot on toast with light jelly. I am hungry now.
    I used one of your pictures in my post http://kindredspirit23.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/and-then-theres-today/ and linked to this post. Hope you don’t mind.
    It was nice to stop by. Now, I will get back to being sick, if you don’t mind.
    Scott

    Reply
  8. Pingback: And then, there’s Today… « Kindredspirit23's Blog

  9. This was my experience, literally, word for word, experience for experience. Amazing. I could have written this. I am amazed. I started reading this at stage 5 yesterday (literally after I texted my gf the she can have everything I own) and this gave me hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Stomach Flu Revisited « Heels and Headbands

  11. I felt good this morning then felt crappy the rest of the afternoon. Took a big nap than ate soup. Than. Went to bed.feeling human again what is going on.

    Reply
  12. crimZonmoOngoddess

    Pahaha this iz so perfect!!!!! The 24hr flu iz worse than ANYTHING…..EVEN GIVING BIRTH LOL

    Reply
  13. I just found this, the day after my 24 hour death process. It is hysterical (today). Yesterday opening my eyelashes would have been to painful to read it.

    Reply
  14. Just read this and it made me seriously laugh. I woke up at 3 AM Thursday morning violently ill from both ends. I literally wanted to die for a good hour or two. Then the fever hit, pouring sweat. Then I am freezing cold. I found myself laying in the fetal position on my couch at 4:30 AM shivering. Thursday I was dead to the world. I dragged myself to my doctor, but I still don’t know how I survived the 7 mile drive. All day I stayed in bed and felt like I had been run over. Sore, achy and just ill.
    It’s Sunday now and I am starting to eat normally again. Stomach is still not 100%, but I am getting much better.
    Thanks for putting this together, it was perfect.

    Reply
  15. This was definately me yesterday. I was sure it was due to the drinks I had the night before, but it lasted way too long. Pretty sure my boyfriend came home to me crying thinking this would never stop, laying on the bath mat next to the toilet. At least he wouldn’t let me eat pizza when the cravings came!

    Reply
  16. Pingback: The Vomitorium (WARNING: Queasiness May Occur) | everydayleft

  17. Very good I enjoyed the article.
    After step 7, I tryed a colon cleanse & sipped cranberry & raspberry Ocean Spray. Just after stopping vomiting, to flush the system.
    Felt much better

    Reply
  18. I’m at step 5 right now and it’s 12 am and I can’t wait until the napping parts !! I’m so tired. It all happend exactly how you put it. Last time I had the flu I woke up from my sleep (exactly 24 hours after getting sick) and I felt like I could run a marathon lol.

    Reply
  19. I had the 24 hour bug all day yesterday. Waking up at 12am the night before & puking up my guts until 5 that morning. Hopefully I’ll start feeling better soon((: any ideas of what to eat ??

    Reply
  20. Thank you for writing this article! I’ve just woken up from my second nap, still laying in bed, in fear that I will stand up and the room will be spinning again. Been dealing with this all Christmas. Good luck everyone!

    Reply
  21. Awesome summary I am currently recovering from the flu today . I’m about to take a flight I’ve gone through all the stages so I should be fine :/ hopefully. Your article was highly entertaining and definitely made me feel a lot better .

    Reply
  22. This is exactly what I went through today, woke up mumbling ” I’m dying” , and came to terms with my mortal end, realizing anything had to be better than this ……I enjoyed this article

    Reply
  23. Just getting over this now…I think/I hope.

    Reply
  24. Veronica Ramirez

    Oh my gawsh I just laughed so hard I cried! My shoulders and tummy still hurt but this is exactly how I felt yesterday and woke up today like ummm huuhhh what? I’m back to normal? Lol!! Last night I was begging God to take me now and boy am I glad he didn’t listen lol!! This was a great piece!!!

    Reply
  25. Very humerus but exactly what I was searching for to explain my symptoms. I had a hard time differentiating between food poisoning and a 24 hour bug except that I had a high temperature for most of the time. I woke up about a day and a half later feeling fine! Thanks for the fun info.

    Reply
  26. This happened to me exactly step by step the day after Christmas. I honestly thought I was going to die as I was curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor. I remember texting my boyfriend (who was unfortunately out of town) that I loved him very much and that he could have everything I owned. It was the worst feeling ever. Thankfully my brother trekked through the snow over 100 miles away to come save me! Did I mention he had to kick down the door? Awful!

    Reply

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