Living Life in an RV — sometimes it stinks….literally!

Ok so I’m going to move away from the technology posts today and onto doing LIFE in the RV.  I warn you this post is NOT for the squeamish.

My kids and I are blessed that we enjoy good health and rarely get sick.  Unfortunately this year we encountered some nasty stomach bug.  Now usually these things are not fun when you have a large family (6 kids) it has to run its course though every individual and sometimes goes around a second time just for fun.  But we discovered that this can be even more challenging when your home is a 38′ RV!

Yes, the dreaded stomach bug hit us recently.  In the ipast we’ve had this happen and it went through one person at a time and lasted several weeks.  This time the old bug decided to have a little fun with us.  It first hit my youngest son (5th child).  He woke up vomiting one night and was miserable for several hours.  We all figured with him it was food poisoning as he tends to eat a lot of junk food.  Sadly we were all mistaken.

Two days later it hit four other kids!  Yep…the four older than him all got hit within 24 hours of each other.  I don’t recall which one started it but it wasn’t long after one of the girls started puking that another girl started puking.  The fighting began over the toilet.  “Move or I’m gonna poop on you.”  “But I’m going to throw up!”

Thankfully we had plenty of trash bags in the coach so each person was given a trash bag with the instructions that the toilet is first for pooping and then for puking if no one else is using it.  You can puke in the trash bag but it’s kinda hard to poop in it.  We were just getting the synchronizing of the toilet downI when the middle son got hit with it.  Now we’ve got three dancing around the only toilet we have!  It wasn’t pretty.  I should probably say it didn’t sound very good nor smell very good in here either.

There was no sleeping due to the sounds coming from both ends of all those affected. The moaning sounds in between vomits made me think I stumbled into a civil war hospital.  At one point so many were trying to get to the toilet I almost told them if they only needed to vomit they should step outside and puke in the grass.  I’m not sure Walmart would have appreciated it but desperate people do desperate things.

You have to picture that we have limited space.  We have a tiny hallway that had children lying in it waiting to get into the bathroom.  The bathroom is right outside the bedroom and due to how we are using the sliding bathroom door for shoe storage and using a curtain as a door, keeping the smells inside the bathroom isn’t possible.

Just when we get three working things out the oldest one gets hit by it.  Now we’ve got four people puking their guts out and having serious diarrhea all at the same time!  I am absolutely no help whatsoever during this because I’m trying to stay as far away from the war zone as possible as I do NOT want to be the next victim!

Somehow we made it through the night.  Early the next morning the kids all passed out.  I think it was 2:30 pm when I finally heard children moving around.  We put our infectious disease protocol into affect.  Only those who had already been sick were allowed to handle anything that was contaminated.  All the trash bags were gathered up and taken to the trash outside the coach.  Only those who had already been sick were to wipe down the entire bathroom with clorax wipes.  They wiped and sprayed everything.  Handles, light switches, toilet lid, seat, etc.  Nothing in the bathroom was left untreated.

Only two of us escaped the dreaded bug.  My youngest daughter claimed, “I have an iron stomach!”  I warned her about making such claims.  She did survive the bug…or maybe not.  The next morning in the wee hours of the morning I heard her.  It was now her turn in the bathroom.  The only thing she had going for her is that everyone else had already been where she was and she had the toilet all to herself.

We have now been 8 hours with no one puking or having explosive diarrhea.  I have still not succumbed to the dreaded illness but I am not bold enough to say I will not get it.  I believe if I can survive 2 days without any symptoms I may be safe.  We are still disinfecting everything and no one is allowed to share anything right now.

The day after the four oldest kids were sick they all decided to share their experiences with each other.  Apparently describing all the foods they ate and what they looked like on their way back up again was the topic for the day.  One has sworn off ice cream since that was the last thing she ate before getting sick.  Sadly, they all teased the little one mercilessly as she was puking her guts out they kept reminding her about her “iron stomach”.  They had no compassion for her plight at all.

We survived the ordeal with only two incidences of people puking on the floor or something else that needed to be cleaned.  Thankfully we are camped in a Walmart parking lot for a few days so we were close to a Laundromat and several trash dumpsters for disposing of the hazardous waste.  I shudder to think how much worse it would have been if we didn’t have either of those things.

The smell was indescribable.  My daughter tried once to describe it the last time someone was ill in the RV.  When the vomit smell mixes with the Lysol smell you get this bizarre combination that my daughter describes as “death and lavender”.

I think we need to work on our infectious disease protocol.  I did consider at one time going into Walmart and buying some surgical masks to wear.  Maybe that would increase my chances of coming through this ordeal without succumbing to it’s ills.  Perhaps next time when one person gets sick everyone dons a mask for the next 48 hours.  I’m wondering if 5 gallon paint buckets or small trash cans that can be lined with trash bags would be more useful to collect the barf.  Perhaps even in a pinch a 5 gallon paint bucket with a bag inside it could double as a second toilet!