Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gatorade, Staff of Life

"Mom?" I heard a small voice say in the dark at about 2AM this morning. My son's voice sounded frightened, tentative. But what had me instantly on my feet was that he was speaking in that emergency frequency that is only audible to the mothers of young children. And that frequency says, "If you don't get over here right now, cleanup is going to be really, really massive."

My son had the stomach flu. And not some meek, mousy variety of stomach flu. This was the Megadeath-Darth-Vadar-Meets-Venom-Meets-Ghost-Rider version of the stomach flu. In the wee hours, I felt terrible for him. I reassured him that he would be okay. I reassured myself by remembering that he had, in fact, survived pneumonia and a 3-day allergic reaction to pennecillin before he was two. Even so, I couldn't do much more for him than rub his back every time he reunited with our bathroom toilet. By 8AM, he had thrown up 6 times. Then, I started to get scared.

I guess that's because, now that he's eleven, I'm out of sick-kid practice. For the past five years, I have been blessed with a child who rarely even gets the sniffles, much less the plague. In fact, because he almost never gets to stay home sick, I actually give him two hooky days a year. Of course, on these hooky days, Evil Mom that I am, I let him get dressed and suited up for school, before I tell him today's the hooky day. I meet him at the front door and look deep into his eyes -- just until he starts to get a little worried that he's in trouble. Then I say "You, my friend, know way, way, WAY too much. This couldn't be good for you. You'd better stay home and watch TV all day."

I hope he remembers how nice I am when he is 16.

But back this morning, by the time I was starting to get pangs about possible future trips emergency room, the gods smiled on us and made my godson late for work, giving me just enough time to dash over to the store. There, I felt calming relief as I bought a pallet of THE secret cold remedy of my Southern childhood. Jewish mothers may have chicken soup, the English dry toast. But, when you are a gal from Richmond, VA, you buy Gatorade when your nearest and dearest are spewing the Black Death of Influenza. You know that if Gatorade doesn't work, it's definitely time to kick start the major medical.

Two hours later, after measured sips of orange Gatorade, the Spewing One (SO) braved a cracker. Then, another two bottles of the orange elixir. Now he's chowing down Cheerios. Better yet, the dog has decided he can leave his nursemaid post (curled up on the sofa next to my son) and chase squirrels in the backyard. And, the real test of recovery: The SO has raised himself and is playing MySims on the Wii.

So, okay, maybe Gatorade really does have the same chemical profile as urine and it tastes like orange bazooka that you left too long in the glove box of your car. And let's not even talk about why a bottle of Gatorade does not freeze at temperatures below 32F. To me, Gatorade possesses special magical powers that are worthy of exaltation -- or at least buying stock in the stuff.

And -- as an added survivalist bonus -- if you have an onion handy, you can even use Gatorade to power up your iPod...

1 comment:

MikeT said...


I can also testify to the usefulness of Gatorade for dealing with the aftereffects of flu. Over a year ago, when my elderly father had thrown up in massive quantities (though not as much, it sounds like, as your son), I used Gatorade to replace all the salt he had lost. It did the trick.

Mike T.