Column: A nauseating trip to the backyard


At church on Sunday morning my nephew — we Bickfords go to church in great numbers — leaned over to me and asked if I was still sick.

“No. I’m feeling much better,” I said.

“That’s good,” he said, pausing a moment. Then he continued. “I really hate throwing up. It’s ... it just feels bad, ya know, when it starts to come back ...”

I cut him off.

“Yes, Cameron. It’s an awful feeling. Very, very bad. But I’m feeling much better now,” I said.

The prior week had been a tough one at the Bickford household. The Bickford infirmary. The Bickford Red Cross station.

It started Sunday. Actually, it was late Saturday night and I lied in bed and felt my stomach roll in that unsettling manner that signals definite trouble on the horizon.

At 2 a.m., I battled to hold back strange, sour burps that tasted nothing like the quesadillas and guacamole I had eaten eight hours earlier. They gurgled up from below and no matter how I turned and twisted in my bed they kept on coming.

By about 5 a.m. I had given up trying to sleep. Nausea is best friends with insomnia.

I tried distracting my mind from the queer stomach pains below and checked the early morning news on my Kindle, watched 20 minutes of a boring movie and then realized the dog was pacing and needed to go out. The backyard and the 29 degree temperature called her name: “June Bug, it’s time for you to do your business.”

I pulled on my bathrobe and sneakers and burped and then led the dog into the backyard. The cold air instantly covered over me, and my stomach rolled hard and lurched and quivered and then swiftly rejected and ejected its contents. Right there next to the garden and cellar bulkhead doors.

The rest of the day got worse, but by Monday I felt better and survived a deadline day at work. By Tuesday I was 10 pounds lighter, but feeling almost normal. My appetite returned Wednesday morning, just in time to watch my son and daughter wretch and heave within 10 seconds of each other.

Yes. Ten seconds.

My son, who emerged from his bedroom with a strange cough-gurgle-burp, said his stomach hurt and then, after watching his sister throw up her morning bottle all over a magazine, unloaded his belly into the kitchen trash can.

Wednesday was a bad day for the kids, and my wife, who spent the day entertaining and comforting and, periodically, cleaning up the couch.

The bug found her that day, or maybe earlier, and sunk its teeth into her system by Friday. Saturday was a little better and Sunday, a full week since the start of the illness extravaganza, all seemed to be returning to normal.

One week. One home. Four pretty sick people.

I am looking forward to some healthy weeks ahead, some uneventful days of normal meals and regular bathroom visits and early morning trips to the backyard with the dog that only involve her bodily functions.

bickford, sick


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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc., email