1/17/2006

Gastro, definitely a "Life In France" Thing

Last night (because it's always at night when it happens) our family was hit by the Gastro bug.

For those of you who have never lived in France, gastro, is short for gastro-entérite. A common illness during the winter months in France and one that hits in waves. According to the French, it's very contagious.

So what is it? I've consulted some with other English speaking friends who live in France and it's a toughie to translate. 'stomach flu' might be the best one yet.

Basically, you are very ill for several days, you can't hold anything down and well, the bathroom becomes you're favorite room in the house, and the commode becomes your best friend (and perhaps only friend). Your head aches, your body aches and you feel sick as a dog. And like a good wicked virus, it likes to start with one person in the family (usually a child bringing it home from school) and spread it around to the entire family, then work its way through the office at work!

Our son, very susceptible to this illness, awoke at 1 am crying and running to the bathroom. My husband uttered only one sentence, "C'est une gastro." It's the stomach bug.

Nah, just an upset stomach.

20 minutes later, round two.

He was right, I was wrong. I got sick-parent duty. So no sleep from 1 am through 4:30 am. Or worse, every time I'd try to fall back to sleep, here came the pitter-patter of a 9-yr old's feet. Ugh!

Why is this an epidemic in France, year after year after year. It's as common as the cold. It's as wide spread as the flu. They actually do news reports on national news. Unfortunately, it's a part of French lifestyle.

No cure, just stop eating for several days; try to keep down fluids; stay well and far away from all human contact. (Believe me, you get this the once, and you are hating life for a week!)

The only upside is you can lose 2 lb. a day with this thing. It usually wipes out lots of people right after the Holidays. So those extra 5 or so you put on eating the foie gras and stuffed turkey, kind of disappear.

I've wiped down almost the entire surface area in the house with bleach, but I'm starting to feel a funky head-thing coming on. Uh-oh. I could do with the - 5 lbs but do I really have to rid my body of every bodily fluid?

Yikes.

I hope there will be no To Be Continued...!

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