Disclaimer: I will be talking about gross things, and will use the word ‘vomit’ no less than 12 times, so if you have a queasy stomach, do yourself a favor and skip over this post. If, however, you want to hear the reality of food poisoning- read on, my friend.
Yesterday, around 1 am, I discovered that I had food poisoning. Well, I guess I didn’t so much discover it as it discovered me. Hiding under my covers. Like a big bad monster.
At first, I didn’t know that was what it was. I hadn’t been sick like that in years. It started with some intense nausea, and quickly evolved into the next natural step. You get where I’m going with this.
I vomited every 10-15 minutes for a couple hours before I started thinking maybe I was really dying. It was like my body was That Button in the hatch, from Lost. The nausea would build and build and build until I had to press the button (i.e. vomit) to release the pressure.
The nausea would mostly go away for a few minutes before it would start building again. I wondered if this was what new moms felt like. I can sleep for a few minutes, but then Baby starts crying for milk and I have to get up to do my duty. I decided I wasn’t going to have children anymore.
After a couple hours of this, and feeling positive that all the blood vessels in my eyes were going to burst (because honestly after a few times heaving, there just isn’t anything left to get rid of… and that is THE WORST), I decided to wake up The Husband. There was nothing he could do, of course, but I just couldn’t die alone. So I asked him to get up and wait with me while I died.
Being the sweet man he is, he woke up with no complaints and set about trying to fix me… or rather the situation. He’s had food poisoning a couple times, so he agreed with me that my symptoms sounded a lot like it. He looked up what we should do, and thought maybe all we could do is let it run its course. By this point I was sipping water and snacking on crackers to simply have something in my stomach to get rid of when The Button needed to be pushed again. 4-8-15-16 AHHLIUAYHJSAGSHGAHSGKHGD.
Since I believe everything he says for the most part, I accepted my fate and let him go back to sleep. The vomiting had slowed from every 10-15 minutes to every 30-40 minutes. So at least I was getting a little more sleep. But my energy was quickly running out. In the first 4 or 5 hours, I could make it from the bathroom to the couch. Now, I could barely make it out the door of the bathroom so mostly I was napping on the cold, hard ground in between bouts with the Smoke Monster.
When I was on the World Race in 2013, I contracted Malaria twice. The first time wasn’t terrible, because I had been diligent about taking my anti-malarial meds (which, it turns out, don’t actually prevent the disease, they just lessen its symptoms). So the first time wasn’t terrible. After I recovered from that, I threw out my anti-malarials because they upset my stomach every day and didn’t prevent Malaria. Terrible idea- the second time was worse, and I spent two days in a third-world clinic with squatty potties and no electricity.
Food poisoning is way, way worse.
This time around, no medicine could stop it. With Malaria, I vomited a couple times, no big deal. It was mostly one big headache, a high fever, and some off-putting wooziness. So long as I slept, I couldn’t really tell. With food poisoning, however, I have been extremely, extremely lucid. I knew exactly what my body was doing, and I was very aware of how much it hated me.
Have you ever honestly thought Is life really worth it? Because I really thought that. A couple times. Are the good things in life really worth living through this? That question was so real to me.
After several more hours crawling to the toilet and back, I knew it was time to wake The Husband again. We decided we’d go into Urgent Care once they opened. At this point, it had been more than seven hours of near-constant vomiting and the worst nausea I’ve ever felt. My body was so drained, and I had such little in me, that not even bile was coming up anymore. This was bad news. But I had such constant nausea that I didn’t know if I could sit in a car. We decided to wait a bit more.
The Husband kept encouraging me to see if I could sit up long enough to make it to Urgent Care, and I just absolutely couldn’t. Three more hours in, and he put his foot down. He lifted my feet from where I had crashed on the bathroom floor and put shoes on them. He gently picked me up and helped me creep toward the car, where blankets and a little trashcan were waiting for me. He got in next to me and proceeded to drive me to help (this, unsurprisingly, was one of the worse parts of my day).
When we arrived at Urgent Care, he left me in the car to check me in so I wouldn’t have to wait in the lobby. They wouldn’t even see me. “At this point, in her condition, there’s nothing we can do. You’d better take her to the Emergency Room.”
I didn’t even care. Kill me or make it better.
Y’all, EMERGENCY ROOMS SAVE LIVES.
This is so real.
Within 15 minutes of checking in, they had all my vitals and were wheelchairing me back to a room. It took about an hour, but within that hour blood was drawn, xrays of my stomach were taken, and an IV was placed with very real drugs, and two liters of fluids to bring life back to my dehydrated, cracked, and broken body. It was the first time I really slept all day. The Husband sat next to me quietly and read a book for the nearly four-and-a-half hours we were there. I slept off and on. The fluids were SO COLD they had to bring in four heated blankets, and I asked The Husband for his winter coat, too.
I slept more.
When the meds ran out and the fluids stopped, I woke to find my face puffy and my eyes could barely open. The nausea was almost gone, but it had been replaced by fogginess and a reminder of how very weak I was. I could barely answer any of the questions the nurses and PAs posed to me, and I honestly have no idea what they were trying to tell me about the supplemental medicines they were going to discharge me with. I heard them say I had Gastroenteritis most likely caused by food poisoning, and that I was contagious. UGH.
After four and a half hours, I was finally allowed to go home. It was near 5 pm when we arrived back home, and with a fever hovering between 101-102, I immediately went to sleep and slept for the rest of the night, and most of today. When I woke up this morning for a brief few minutes, I felt like I had been in a terrible car wreck. Every muscle from my hips to my nose was in excruciating pain- like, on a scale from 1-10, it was easily a 15. The Husband gave me some painkillers, and I was finally able to go back to sleep, and rested for the rest of the morning.
I’ve been up for about two hours now, and I’m pretty much ready to go back to bed.
I’m definitely recovering. I’ll likely head in to work tomorrow, mostly because whether or not I feel better we’re on a pretty hefty time crunch this week with a new semester of CGA starting in two days. I’ll be back to normal soon- I’m confident of this.
But I would never, ever wish this on anyone. Ever. I don’t know how I picked it up, or where, and I’m hoping this experience doesn’t put me off of food forever (because survival), but it honestly puts a fear of food right up there with the fear of the Lord.
I don’t really know how to end this, so I’ll just say cheers, and here’s to another 14-hour nap.