The stomach flu, food poisoning, gastroenteritis all suck. The good news is that most of the time they don’t require a trip to the emergency room. The bad news is that no one wants to hold your hand through your personal hell. This is my way to handle the situation (if your doctor recommends something different – listen to your doctor!).
Get to your place as soon as safely and legally possible. It’s going to get worse before it gets better so you probably don’t want to do this in a public place. You will have times where you feel sick and times that you feel really sick. Be sensitive to how your body feels. Do not hesitate to seek medical help if you feel its necessary.
Set up your bathroom. Remove that white flokati rug and anything else that isn’t absolutely necessary. Put an empty plastic laundry basket just inside the door. Put a clock on the counter (at some point you’re going to want to know what time it is). Wipe the toilet down with bleach wipes. A plastic bucket lined with a plastic bag may be useful if you think you may pass out. Grab as many bath towels that you can – put two down on the floor opposite the toilet so you have a comfortable place to sit or lay down (eventually you’re going to want to sleep). Put the rest of the towels on the counter so that they remain clean until you need them.
Bring your cellphone and the number for the medical hotline in your area – pre-program this in your phone if you can. Call your best friend and let her know what’s going on. Ask her to call you periodically through the night and the next few days until you’re feeling better. Call your boss to tell them that you’re sick and you probably won’t be making it in the next day. Keep your cellphone handy.
Grab a bottle of water and a plastic or paper cup – this is for rinsing out your mouth, not drinking. I don’t recommend mouthwash because it dries out your mouth and the taste is incongruous with anything coming up. Still, if mint makes you feel better, you can try it. Be careful about drinking too much fluid while you’re still vomiting.
If it makes you feel less alone, turn on the radio or the television.
Write down everything you ate in past 48 hours and what you suspect the problem might be. Write down your symptoms. Write down each time you get sick. If, for some reason, you are incapacitated and taken to the hospital this piece of paper will speak for you.
Tie or pin back your hair and get naked. Yes, get naked. It will be easier to wash yourself off than to continually wash your clothing. Put some pajamas just outside the bathroom door for when you’re feeling better. In the meanwhile, wrap yourself in a towel if you get cold.
When you get sick, don’t stress out. If you feel that you need medical attention, seek it.
Over the next few days, go easy on yourself. Drink clear fluids, avoid sugar and dairy, eat light foods. When your symptoms disappear you can gradually go back to your regular diet. Get plenty of sleep as your calorie count will be down. Keep in contact with your boss to let them know how you’re doing and when they can expect you back. Thank your best friend for having your back.