The Virus Cocktail

I must be slipping.

This morning saw a quick early morning run to the grocery store for the ingredients of the PracticalDad family virus cocktail, apple juice and Sprite.  They are the ingredients that for years,I kept on the basement storage shelves precisely for the moment when I heard the night-time Siren’s call, I’m not feeling well and think that I have to throw up.  Which is what my wife and I heard from Youngest in the middle of last night as he entered our room.  We both got up with him and after settling him back into bed, I took disinfectant wipes to the touchable surfaces in the kids bathroom; I then settled into the Eldest’s vacant bed in the room next to his in the event that there were other issues. 

Each family seems to have its own magic elixir for handling illness and ours is the virus cocktail.  We adopted it for multiple reasons, not least of which is an effort to at least keep the sick ones hydrated and away from an emergency room IV drip for dehydration and excepting one occasion amongst three kids, it’s worked.  The non-acidic apple juice contains much needed vitamin C to help bolster an ailing immune system and is supplemented by the Sprite so that the antsy stomach isn’t out-and-out assaulted by the juice; when we’re fixing it, we even stir it before delivery to remove the carbonated bubbles so that again, the stomach is spared.  The fact that it’s tasty also makes sipping it less of a chore than water, which an ailing kid is likely to look at with an unspoken blecchhhh crossing the face. We also kept a spare bottle of Pedialyte on the shelves to help correct the sick child’s body chemistry but found that the taste was simply unappealing and after a horrendous session years ago, coaxing a sick child to take in some nutrients only to meet them again within 15 minutes, the option was to stick with the cocktail.

When the kids were very small and I knew that my better half was leaving on business, it was a point to assure that we had at least two bottles of each within the house.  We seemed to live under a curse that left one or more kids simultaneously – or sequentially – ill with one thing or another and with her gone, any sickness left me housebound to manage until their recovery or her return.  Within two days of either, it was a given that I’d be in the same boat as the now-healed children.  But as the kids have grown and learned to cope with the illnesses, the practice of stocking for the cocktail has fallen into disuse so that this most recent event left me ill-prepared. 

It’s easier now that the kids are a bit older and not so physically incapable of caring for themselves.  There’s no panic with sickness and a sense of routine – okay, here we go again so just stay to my room, nap and let it run the course – and sure enough, when Eldest was sick the other week in college, my wife received a text announcing the stomach virus with the news that a roommate had already been dispatched to the nearby grocery for…apple juice and Sprite.  Eldest then took to her room with her cocktail and let it run the 24 hour course.  On the refrigerator door is a note to remind me to pick up the replacement ingredients for the cocktail on my next trip so that I’m not caught unprepared again.

Which reminds me, I need to stock up on more hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.


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