Some thoughts from Patrick and I about how you know you’ve been sick too long:

1. You struggle to suppress murderous rage when someone within ten feet of you coughs or sneezes.

2. You have puke buckets, containment towels, antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer on every floor of the house.

3. Lining up the family for nightly medicating looks like a frat house bellying up to the bar for shots.

4. You know the difference by touch between a 101, 103 and 105 degree fever.

5. The advice nurse phone number comprises more than 95% of your past phone call history. The remaining 5% is to the attendance line at school calling your child out sick…again.

6. You know the chemical structures, metabolic availability, excretion method and lactation warnings of most major antibiotic, antihistamine, anesthetic, antiemetic and antiviral drugs.

7. You laugh when the check out clerk at the pharmacy notes the expiration date on the family sized bottle of Benadryl is in 10 months and he wanted to make sure you were going to use it by then. Your response is to snark that this will last maybe 10 days in your house.

8. Your friends stop asking whether or not you’re okay, and just start leaving random dead drops of Gatorade and saltines by your front door.

9. Every member of your family has a color coded medical face mask hanging by the front door and knows to put it on before going outside.

10. The ER doctors joke that you should have gone to Med school since you know so much about contagion vectors and infection control.

11. You’ve memorized the pediatric dosage of all over the counter allergy and pain relief meds by weight and age.

12. Your family has consumed enough Gatorade to fuel a professional sports team.

13. Text messages with your spouse consist of trading notes back and forth about times and dosages of meds given to children, quantities and consistencies of puke and poop, and mildly amusing Cheezburger gifs to try to meagerly raise each other’s spirits.

14. You finally hit your goal weight but can’t muster the energy to celebrate because you only lost the weight through extreme nausea, stress and dehydration.

15. Your heart rate kicks into over drive the instant a child sneezes or says “My tummy hurts.”

16. You give thanks for the fact that you haven’t been able to smell or taste anything for several months.

17. You make meals that consist of dry toast, apple sauce, ginger ale and rice. Getting pasta on the table is considered a fancy meal.

18. Your kids know the introduction songs and plot lines to at least seven different cartoon series by heart.

19. You dream about the day you can do something as simple as go out to dinner by yourself or have a beer, but then you feel sad because all you can think about is how alcohol suppresses the immune system and that a babysitter will just bring more germs into the house.

20. You get deeply enamored with the idea of selling it all and buying an off-the-grid cabin in the middle of nowhere and shooting trespassers on sight. You get as far as looking at open houses for mountain top family compound retreats that can be hermetically sealed, until you realize that other people’s germs will be all over a pre-owned house.

21. All of your laundry gets washed twice in color safe bleach and consists mainly of towels, underwear and PJs.

22. You haven’t worn pants without an elastic waistband for weeks.

23. Your 22 month old can tell you how his immune system works and what healthy foods to eat to help boost it.

24. You can fast track the automated nurse line phone system in less than 10 seconds and sing all the hold music songs by heart.

25. Your kid hasn’t had a haircut in months for fear that he would cough at the wrong, and very sharp and pointy, moment.

26. You know the difference between cyanotic blue lips and fever chills blue lips from first hand observation on more than one of your children.

27. You think the most glorious thing on earth is the knock on the door from the weekly cleaning service.

28. You have been in more ERs, hospitals and doctors offices in the past three months than you have pairs of shoes.

29. You walk up to every EMT you see at the grocery store or Starbucks and say thank you for the work they do.

30. You’re joyous that your kids love each other enough to hug and kiss each other, but you cringe a little and start counting down the days of the next shared viral incubation.

31. You’ve inadvertently enacted far more of your “Zombie Outbreak Survival Plan” than you are totally comfortable with.

32. When you are able to taste food, it all tastes like hand sanitizer

33. The varnish is wearing off the counters, door knobs and light switches from all of the bleach wipes that have gone over them.

34. It takes three pharmacists and a call to Stanford Medical to work out the interactions for all the medications you’re currently taking.

35. Even people in a TV show sneezing makes you twitch.

36. You’ve non-ironically discussed the subtle differences in bouquet and mouth feel for all the generic brands of Benadryl. Wal-dryl tastes like deep fried shark shit.

37. Mike and Sully trying to care for Boo for the first time has taken on the tones of a horror movie. You may have actually considered spraying aerosol cleaning solution on your own face.