At the age of 39, I have the distinction of being the oldest member of my extended-family that still has her gallbladder intact. This is not to say it’s healthy, it is not. Most gallbladder a are shaped like a bean, mine is shaped like a fortune cookie. A fortune cookie with a big fat gallstone sitting right in the crease.
Also, I have little kids whose ideas of hand hygiene is vague at best. And they both go to school with other little kids who don’t wash their hands very well.
Anywho, point being–we are no stranger to nausea and vomiting in this house. One time, my gallbladder attack was so bad that after a night of clinging to the toilet with no relief in sight, I had to call my husband in California to take an emergency flight home to Canada.
And while he spent the 8+ hours it takes to get home, I had to call my aunt out of work (from three towns over!) to come and help me with the kids because I couldn’t even leave the bathroom.
In the meantime, my eldest (6 years old) got to demonstrate his culinary skills by making breakfast for himself and his sister (3 years old).
And the kids? Ughhhhhh! Even minor respiratory ailments turn my kids in BarfMonsters. Usually all over the bed in the middle of the night when I don’t have any clean sheets.
So, what’s the plan?
The Barf Plan
- A bowl under every bed! I keep a wide-mouthed plastic bowl under ever bed that can be whipped out a moment’s notice to act as an emesis basin.
- Beach towels. I keep a stash of old beach towels in the linen closet JUST for Barfy Nights. I use them to mop up messes, cover up messes, and sometimes even catch messes. When the vomiting episode ends, but there’s sure to be another, I put them u see the sleeping child’s head to help save sheets.
- Lots of wash cloths. I make a lot of them, so we have many. Nothing like a cool cloth on your forehead when you’re sick, or a warm wet washcloth for cleaning your face.
- Old baby blankets. I saved all the toddler comforters and sick blankets to also place under the kids in an effort to save sheets. It also helps with the occasional night-wetting incidents. Every kid sleeps on a toddler blanket during cold and flu season.
- We always have gravol: kids, adults, oral and suppositories. At the first sign of nausea/vomiting, the family member gets their gravol dose and is sent straight to bed.
- Hand sanitizer. So much hand sanitizer. It’s futile, but I try so hard not to let the Barfy viruses take us down one-by-one.
- Tea, rehydrating fluid, ginger ale. The #1 priority when someone is vomiting is to keep them hydrated. Small sips of water, clear herbal teas (especially ginger, camomile, or peppermint teas), flattened ginger ale or as a last result a rehydrating fluid are essential.
- BRAT. Once we can hold down fluids, or if anyone feels hungry we carefully eat bland foods. BRAT=Bananas, rice, applesauce and tea. Add saltines, jello,Lipton dry mix soup &/or bone broth, and it’s what we live off when the plague hits our house.
- Nests. Once the kids start getting restless and can tolerate being out of bed, I set up little nests on the sofas in front of the TV. I put down a thick blanket (in case of any accidental upchucks) and move them and their comfort items and towels and buckets to the living room. Sometimes, when I am also sick I pull out the sofa bed and we all nest together, taking turns passing the bucket around.
- The Sick Kit I keep a small Rubbermaid bin full of supplies in something called my Sick Kit. Whenever the first person throws up, I break out this bin and it has almost everything we need.
How to Make a Sick Kit
The next time your family is living the nightmare that is a stomach bug, try to make note of all the things you needed, especially the things you needed but didn’t have at hand. These are the things that go in your Sick Kit. Store it in a bin and try not to break into it until you need it. You’ll be so glad you have it.
- Rehydrating tablets (after making the drink, I usually pour it into ice cube trays. So much easier to suck on an ice cube that try to stomach that stuff normally.
- Saltine crackers
- Little cans of ginger ale
- Lipton soup packages
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand lotion
- Wet ones
- A list of what’s in your Sick Kit so you can easily restock it after disaster strikes
We always have gravol and herbal teas on hand, so I don’t stock those in the Sick Kit.
Here’s hoping you prepare this kit in the event that you have it, if you need it. But I hope you don’t need it anytime soon!!
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