Sunday, 26 August 2012

Please disregard this blog post

I can guarantee it will not be interesting. It's about me and my family being ill. I don't even want to read it. I just want to write it.

On Saturday last we returned from holiday in Devon with just one of our three children. This was not an oversight. We had left our two daughters with their grandparents to enjoy an extension to their holiday. This allowed me and Mrs Wallis to return to work without having to find expensive school holiday childcare.

On Tuesday night James woke us with his crying at 11.30pm. I went in to find he'd vomited all over himself, his pyjamas, his cot and his toys. I'd say there was a good pint of half-digested gunk covering just about everything.

The clean-up took half an hour. Fifteen minutes into this process he puked again. This time Mrs Wallis, who was holding James at the time, expertly steered him towards the sink. Again, amazing volumes of semi-digested food splattered into the bowl. I was quietly impressed.

I wiped down James' mattress, whilst Mrs Wallis gave him a bath. We got out a new sheet, gro bag, new pyjamas, found some new toys and put him back to bed. He lay there for a few minutes before puking everywhere again. We went through the whole process for the second time and got into bed around 1am.

Whatever James had, he passed on to all of us. First Amy, who woke up on Thursday with a temperature, unwilling to eat any food, and then Mrs Wallis, who was up most of Friday morning from 1am, being sick.

I felt dreadful by 3am Friday morning, so called my dear boss and regular dep Mark Carter, who sprang into action and presented the BBC Surrey Breakfast show in my absence. Friday daytime was a bit of a blur. Mrs Wallis was in bed, I was feeling very queasy, but had to look after one ill child and two bouncy ones who wanted to get out of the house and do something.

By Saturday I felt sufficiently recovered to present the breakfast show, and Mrs Wallis was sufficiently recovered to look after the children. I can't pretend the broadcast was a triumph, but I was aided by the presence of the Redhill-based actress Zoe Battley, who was my studio guest for the bulk of the programme. She provided the vivacity and liveliness, I tried to keep up.

Amy was still tired and listless on Saturday, her third day without really eating anything. She also managed to bring up what little she did eat, which was nice. I still felt very grim and was stealing every opportunity to go to bed and sleep.

By Saturday evening Mrs Wallis and I were feeling well enough to contemplate a cheeky glass of wine. Nic was better, but I hadn't eaten much all day and wasn't sure I could cope.

The decision was taken out of our hands by Abi, who had hitherto been unaffected by whatever is going round. She had just gone down to bed when she puked up amazing amounts of the same kind of congealed muck James had produced on Tuesday.

After half an hour of trying to rinse this stuff off her sheets, and pushing the big lumps down the plughole with my fingers, I decided a glass of wine was out of the question, as, chances were, we would be up later in the night. I went to bed at 9pm.

Turns out Abi did puke again during the night. She managed to do it in the bucket by the side of her bed, then wandered into our room to tell us about it. She woke Nic up, but I managed to sleep through the whole thing.

James woke us at 6.30am this morning. He is now well. Amy, who I haven't seen smile for three days, just bounced downstairs and asked for breakfast. Thank God. Abi stumbled out of bed, not looking too good and running a temperature. My stomach is now churning again.

The last time I can remember throwing up was an August Bank Holiday weekend seven years ago. I was covering the Reading Festival for Newsbeat, and got food poisoning off some festival muck. I staggered back to my hotel room at midnight and called the newsdesk to report that I wasn't feeling too good.

During the call I had to run to the toilet to puke. My colleagues thought it most theatrical. It didn't stop them calling me at 4am the next morning to send me back into the festival after receiving reports there had been a mini-riot in the camping area. I know there is always a mini-riot in the camping area at Reading, but this had gone bad with a burger van being attacked and gas cannisters set alight.

I got the audio I needed and returned to the hotel room to file before puking up again.

That felt like quite at adventure. This doesn't.

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