After a long but exciting trip to Dallas, I was glad to be home. I woke up at 4:00 am the following morning, eager to be back on the show. I was super tired and felt a general sense of malaise, but I chalked those feelings up to travel weariness.

I made it through the fast paced day, but by the time I pulled into my drive way at 5:00 that evening, crawling into by bed was the only thing on my mind. (There was one quick project I needed to complete which involved taking a photograph of myself standing in front of the American flag, holding an assault rifle while dressed in army fatigues that I needed to send to my boss, but that's a story for another day). Once that was completed, I laid down for a quick nap.

At 1:15 am, I was jarred awake by a telegram from Hell. It was pretty succinct and straight forward, 'Get ready for the worst four hours of your life.'  I'll spare you the degrading details but every thirty minutes I was tripping over dogs, shoes and my feet as I ran fast enough to make Usain Bolt look like Mr. Magoo.  During those lonely, horrific hours, I made several promises to God that I fully intend to keep.

I hate calling in sick to work, but my concern at 4:30 in the morning as I sent texts to Scott Shepherd, Monk and our boss Todd Livingston was that I shared way too much information regarding my ailment. Oh, well. What are you gonna do?

By 5:00 am yesterday morning, the worst was over but I felt the lingering effects throughout the day. I was completely spent. The tv remote was literally one inch from my hand but I couldn't bring myself to pick it up to change the channel from the Nat Geo channel so I stared longingly at it and  suffered through hours and hours of documentaries on Stone Henge and underground temples. I prayed Perry would come home for lunch to check on me so I could ask him to change the channel. He came home but in between the chills racking by body, I noticed him setting up the DVR to record the same shows tormenting me. I didn't bother to ask.

Finally, I woke up this morning feeling some what human again. I hoped my husband failed to notice I was still wearing the frilly blouse I'd worn to work Thursday morning with a pair of ratty jogging pants. My hair stuck straight up,  resembling Cameron Diaz's from 'Something About Mary' from the profuse sweating I'd endured during the night.

I was somewhat gratified to learn from CNN this morning that a vicious stomach virus is raging across the nation. I refuse to think how I might have caught this bug but I don't think I'm shaking anyone's hand every again. So, protect yourself and your family from this highly contagious virus by using a few of these precautionary measures (that I didn't write but credit to the author is in the link below):

  • Wash your hands like crazy. Don't forget under your fingernails and forearms.
  • Keep the sick person isolated. This is impossible if the sick person is a baby or toddler. But if an older child or adult is sick, they should try to stay in their own room and bathroom. Don't let other people use the sick bathroom if at all possible.
  • Wear disposable latex gloves when taking care of a sick person. Keep gloves by the changing table. Wear them to change baby's diaper at the first sign of diarrhea. Throw them in a nearby trash can as soon as you are finished cleaning baby up but before you put baby's clean clothes back on. You still need to wash your hands and forearms afterward. It is easier to wear disposable gloves than to clean under your fingernails perfectly.
  • Consider wearing a face mask (available in the pharmacy section or on amazon) when sitting with a vomiting child (as long as it doesn't frighten the child). That will help keep vomit particles from getting directly into your mouth.
  • Clean with bleach. Use paper towel to clean up and throw it away. Cleaning with a 10% solution of household bleach in water works great for killing these viruses. However, bleach creates such terrible fumes that it is extremely difficult to clean with. I tried cleaning a bathroom with bleach once and the fumes were unbearable. Cleaning with Clorox Clean Up with bleach also works to kill these viruses and doesn't smell quite as bad as plain bleach. If you clean with Clorox or Lysol wipes (which don't kill stomach viruses as well) instead of bleach, I suggest also using Lysol Disinfectant Spray which does kill the viruses. Don't forget doorknobs and light switches. Don't forget the handle to your diaper disposal system. Clean anything that a stray virus could possibly have landed on. If you can't get to the store, you can order all of the necessary cleaning supplies here on amazon .
  • When the sick person is well, have them take a good shower and put on clean clothes before they join the rest of the family in the common areas of the house. Put clean sheets on their bed. Their poop will still contain viruses for another week or 2. If they can't keep using their own bathroom, make sure they have their own hand towel and wash their hands well after using the bathroom. Clean the toilet after they go number 2.
  • Don't have company until everyone in your house has been well for 2 weeks and you have thoroughly cleaned. The stomach flu viruses can live for weeks on household surfaces.

You can find more tips here.

Good luck and stay well!