May 18, 2011

...Digestive Rebellion

(Okay, I know, I know, the title is questionable. And you are probably considering exiting out of this Blog for fear that I will reveal more than anyone could ever want to know about me. But don´t worry...The entry won't be as bad as it may sound...)

 The topic of this particular entry is due to the unfortunate fact that after mangaging to live the past nine+ in developing countries without serious incident, I have recently survived my first (and God willing, the last) bout encounter with Food Poisoning. Yes, capital F, capital P. The very large probability that I would eat something bad while here has always been something I have feared. I mean, being sick is bad enough. And being really sick without your mom there to take care of you...well, that just plain sucks.

 It all began with a trip to Padre Pancho's mom's house (Padre Pancho is a priest here who is kind of a big deal. Everyone knows him. So by association, Kristen and I are as well!)  Being invited to his house is an honor. Which is the reason Kristen and I found ourselves waking up at 5:30 am on a Sunday, which happens to be our only day off,  to make the three hour journey down the treacherous road to the local priest's home village. The Delgados (my host family here), Kristen and I had been asked to join in the mass and gathering of Padre Pancho´s family (Oh, he is one of 15, did I mention?) to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the death of Padre Pancho's father...(Incidently, this experience has caused the creation of the next blog enttry...). Anyway, as it turns out, having a large amount of food at family gatherings is a universal custom.

So, after being surrounded by many of Pancho's family members in an enclosed area, and head hurting from trying to make small talk in Spanish, when the food was ready, I helped myself to an overflowing plate of rice, potato salad, coleslaw, and shredded chicken-- which looked particularly delicious...And then, I went back for seconds.

It didn't begin right away...Everyone was so full from the food at Padre Pancho's that none us had any dinner. I woke up early Monday morning, my digestive system much more, um, active than usual. Still, I didn't think anything of it. My stomach didn't feel all that great as I spent the typical Monday morning trying to pay attention in meetings, but again, I didn't think anything of it. Going to the convent for lunch, I wasn't particularly hungry and after I managed to eat a tiny bit, my stomach, once again, began to make its presence known. But, through all of this, I felt relatively fine and finished out the work day.

It was during my and Kristen's daily 3 mile run that I started to feel like something wasn't quite right. Within the first few running steps, I felt each movement of my throbbing joints. Perhaps I should have stopped immediately, but I tend to push myself, and managed to make it through two miles before stopping. I walked the last mile, choked down some dinner, and attempted to shower. When the water against my skin was too painful to bear, I put myself to bed before 8 pm. The rest of the night remains a blur. I should have recognized how sick I was when I woke up in the middle of the night at opened my eyes to "see" a pillow-sized cockroach in my room, and my only reaction was to close my eyes and go back to sleep. What should have tipped me off to the fact that I was hallucinating, was not the appearance of a pillow sized cockroach staring at me, but the fact that my only reaction was to go back to sleep.

I honestly do not remember ever being that sick in my entire life. I realize now, after the fact, I should have gone to the doctor. Probably even the hospital. But I was so sick that I didn't even realize how sick I was. I spent all of Tuesday in bed. Managing to hold down only a tiny bit of soup at five pm before returning to bed and staying there (with the exception of bathroom trips) until noon Wednesday. With the care of Kristen and my host mom, Marina, I was able to go back to work on Thursday, feeling 75%. And after about four hazy days, of which I will spare you the wonderful details, my body slowly began to make its way back to normal. And now, 7 days later. All I can say is that this past week has given significant and unwanted new meaning to the phrase, "This too shall pass".

Too much information? Sorry :)

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