Welcome To My World: A Week With The Norwalk Virus

Let’s face it: does it get much sweeter than a week long vacation? Ok, how about this: A week long vacation at home with nothing to do? That’s what I had going on the week after Christmas. Superficially, it sounds like it’s more fun to go somewhere for a week, but when you do that, by the time you’re done, you’re ready for a vacation from your vacation.

In any case, that’s where I was: It’s Saturday night, I’m just finishing up my vacation, which was mostly good, except for a minor problem: Starting on the proceeding Tuesday, I had some minor stomach pain. There didn’t seem to be any other symptoms. No fever. No headache. Nothing to worry about, right?


I started feeling a bit more…peaked, Saturday night and I went to bed extremely early for me: About 9:30 PM. That’s when the rodeo ride started, my friends. I could go into details that would both shock and horrify you, but let me just give you two key pieces of information: #1) Vomiting is one of the key symptoms of what I had. #2) Sunday morning, I was 8 pounds lighter than I had been Saturday morning.

Do the math.

Along with the vomiting, I was also having a lot of stomach pain, diarrhea, and a freakish amount of lethargy. By “freakish amount,” I mean that from Sunday – Thursday morning, I was sleeping about 5 out of every 6 hours.

Of course, as a general idea, I cycle through illnesses pretty quickly. So, I figured even if it was a ferocious flu, I’d be on the right side of the mountain in 24 hours…but, it wasn’t to be. By Tuesday, I was still completely wiped out, so I went to the doctor.

That turned out to be more of an ordeal than I thought because I had a new insurance company, couldn’t find the card, had to make calls, find a doctor that was in the program, go to the doctor, get a diagnosis, order drugs, etc., etc., etc. It’s was like a 4 hour ordeal. Admittedly, that doesn’t sound so tough, but remember: I was sleeping 20 hours a day like a newborn at that point — and tired? I was so tired that I hadn’t shaved since Saturday. Foggy headed, lethargic, unshaven….on the upside, I guess I did sort of get an idea of what life is like for hippies.

Anyway, I talked to the doctor and he diagnosed me in about 5 minutes: It was stomach flu. RWN blogger, Dr. Susannah Fleetwood called to check up on me and confirmed his diagnosis.

John Hawkins and Susannah Fleetwood

Susannah also informed me that the more proper name for what I had is the Norwalk Virus, that I probably got it from eating at a buffet earlier in the week, and that this is the virus that’s famous for wrecking whole cruise ships. You know, you hear about 200 people getting laid out sick on one voyage? Yeah, this is THAT virus.

So, there really wasn’t much to do but take the drugs my doc prescribed for me, nibble on toast, and wait it out for another 2-3 days.

In the interim, my mother brought over some Sierra Mist, crackers, and bread to make toast with, some friends took the time to call in and send emails to make sure I was all right — and all that is much appreciated. My dog was really cute, too. He knew I was sick and he stuck to my side like glue. He wouldn’t even let my mother take him away from me to go outside because….I don’t know. Maybe he was afraid a squirrel or cat might get in the house and start something and I might be in trouble without him around. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but the fierce loyalty from the dog was heartwarming.

Long story short, after being away so long, I thought I owed you a bit more of an explanation than, “I’ve been sick.” So, here it is. In any case, I’m back, I’ve got big plans for the next couple of months, and thanks for hanging around!

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