Mr. Cruey! Mr. Cruey! T.J. spewed.
We don't really have a student named T.J. and I've changed the names to protect confidentiality. I recognized the colloquialism "spewed" to mean that he had rejected his partially digested lunch. The bathroom our older boys use is next to my classroom.
Is he okay? I asked.
He's still working on it..., came the reply. Mr. Cruey, he missed and it's everywhere!
Marvelous, I thought. Will you go find the custodian for me? I asked.
I went into the hall and opened the bathroom door. I couldn't see the student. But I could hear something that sounded like a scene from the classic movie, The Exorcist.
T.J., are you okay?
There was a pause. I heard heavy breathing. I went in...
The colors were amazing - fit for the cover of a Pink Floyd album, or something similar.
I'm okay, T.J. said. I'll be out in a minute.
And he was. He took a quick drink at the water fountain. I asked him if he wanted to go home. Surprise: the answer was no. The day was mostly over. I let him stay.
And so it started. Sickness swept the building in the next few days. It seems like almost every student was sick for at least a day. We had one day when half or more of our fourth and fifth graders stayed home.
Maybe T.J.'s problem was completely unrelated. Not many of the kids threw up. But we had fevers and misery in children whose spirits I'd rarely seen dampened before.
They come to school. They tell you early that they don't feel well. You try to be extra nice to them when it becomes clear that they are sick. I was rewarded for this by one young girl with an unexpected hug in the hallway when her mother showed up to take her home. The child threw her arms around me and squeezed hard. Probably she left a million germs on my shirt. I was touched...
Friday night I realized I had a fever. I slept most of Saturday and Sunday. I won't bore you with details of my symptoms other than to say it is either a bad head cold or something like the flu.
My doctor is very busy today, but I have an appointment to see him at 3pm. Hopefully I'll be back on track tomorrow and back at school tomorrow or Wednesday...