Planning for the Stomach Flu


photo of page in a dayplanner with one date circled in red.


A few weeks ago, my husband called to tell me that he had the stomach flu. I was out of town and I think I kindly said, “As soon as you feel better, can you disinfect the house?” He actually did do that! I got home after the sickness-tsunami with my son saying to me, “You were really lucky you weren’t here.” I was still a bit panicked because as I had told everyone that I encountered that week, “I don’t have time for the stomach flu.” In the meantime, my browser showed the Google search, “I’ve come in contact with someone who has the stomach flu. How can I be sure that I don’t get it?”

I proceeded to look at my schedule and “plan” a good time to get the stomach flu. There were a few days that were completely unacceptable days for me to get sick. I was doing two back-to-back trainings and obviously no one else was capable of doing those talks for me. I picked a twelve-hour period over the following week that would be an acceptable stomach flu day and then I waited. Neither my son nor I got sick that week. We subtly fist-bumped in our shared celebration of dodging the dreaded bug.

Later that day, as I called my son down for dinner, he yelled, “I’m not coming down and you shouldn’t come up here either.” Signs of a second round of stomach flu were confirmed, so I started phase two of my stomach flu plan. The back-to-back trainings were three days away. I decided that I needed to get it within twenty-four hours so that I could get it over with and be back in business in time for my two classes.

Giving Up The Illusion of Control

I’m guessing it won’t surprise you that exactly one-third of the way through the first training is when I actually got the stomach flu. It was pretty much the time that I had designated as the worst possible time to get sick, thus I refused to accept it as a possibility. It will also not shock you that my amazing assistant took over the training and managed it like a champ. The company that I work for also found a suitable replacement for me in regards to the second training previously mentioned.

I’m removing the words, “I don’t have time for . . .” from my vocabulary. Life happens, the stomach flu happens, emergencies happen, and we have no control over most of it. Click To Tweet

Besides the obvious shock that I am actually replaceable was the fact that I couldn’t actually plan for the stomach flu. My calendar is one of the few things that I feel I have control over, so I manage it like a mad woman. How dare the stomach flu disrupt my perfectly organized, albeit overly full, calendar? The reality hit me like . . . well, like the stomach flu.

After the first twelve miserable hours of the flu, I had the realization that my life and my calendar seemed so inflexible to me that I literally had no room for unpredictable, unwanted events. I truly believed that I could schedule in the stomach flu. If it wasn’t so funny, it would be rather pitiful. I spent more time over that week worrying about getting the stomach flu than I did actually just caring for myself when I did get sick.

So what have I decided to change after this rather rude awakening? I’m removing the words, “I don’t have time for . . .” from my vocabulary. Life happens, the stomach flu happens, emergencies happen, and we have no control over most of it. The whole stomach flu fiasco would have been far less painful if I had just released my worry about getting it and just handled it when I did. A week of planning for the stomach flu was a week wasted on something that I had absolutely no control over.

Here’s what I do have time for: life and whatever it throws at me. I’m hoping it limits how frequently it throws the stomach flu at me, but as with so much else in life, I’ll figure it out when it comes my way. There are some things you just can’t plan for and that’s okay.



Start Your 2018 New Year’s Resolution Right This Minute What’s Your Best Feature?
Start Your 2018 New Year’s Resolution Right This Minute
What’s Your Best Feature?

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