Happy Birthday….You have E. coli!!

My stomach spent about three days in and out of a weird funk. Suddenly, the morning of September 4th {around 3 am} whatever was churning down there decided to kick into high-gear.

First, feeling faint, I decided I couldn’t continue through the night without water.
I went down to reception to buy a bottle.
I got dizzy.
I fell.

The pobrecitos at reception, looking freaked, called the doctor.
Doctor came.
Doctor saw.
Doctor took me in his own car to the hospital.

Wheelchair. IVs. Temperature checks. Blood Pressure checks. Blood tests. IVs. IVs. IVs.

I was laying in the emergency room; staring at the ceiling for probably three hours; trying not to fall asleep, because I didn’t want to miss it when the doctor came in to tell me what the HECK was wrong with me. Well, by 8 am, the doctor still hadn’t returned. Just a swarm of nurses coming in every twenty minutes to pump something new through my IV.

By 11 am, I wasn’t feeling any better, and was thoroughly confused when the nurse {one of the thousands it seemed that came in to take turns poking me with things} came in with a wheelchair to move me out of the emergency room. I was escorted, via four wheels, upstairs to a much nicer room, complete with a very plush comfy bed, flat screen TV, and beautiful view of Cusco. It honestly looked like slightly-colder version of someone’s childhood bedroom plus a few machines and funny medical contraptions.

View from my hospital room of both afternoon & night {...lucky me}
View from my hospital room of both afternoon & night {…lucky me}

Por cuanto tiempo tengo que quedarme acá? I asked. When the nurse’s response was prefaced by a sympathizing smile, I knew things weren’t looking bueno.

I was pretty confused because by this point I knew I had some type of food poisoning, the doctors just weren’t sure what type. My mom had told me a story before about how she got food poisoning in Thailand, and they gave her a shot in the butt and she felt good as new {sorry mom for spreading that, but it’s a necessary anecdote for my post..}. So I was basically lying in my bed, WAITING for this magical shot in the butt, and pretty annoyed they weren’t giving it to me already. There’s not much there, but I was still willing to sacrifice a tush to take me out of my misery.

Finally the doctor came back in. First he decided it was necessary to ask me about California, my love life, and describe his eligible Cusquenean nephew, should I be wanting a Peruvian boyfriend. {I was slightly flattered he was offering his nephew to a very pale, slightly-green-looking gringo with a stomach infection, then chalked it up that his nephew must be really …really weird}

Por fin the doctor got to the climax of his visit: I have E. coli. A funny-looking piece of bacterium swimming around in my stomach, causing a type of food-contamination infection.

I thought I was going to pass out again just from hearing the results of my blood tests. Seriously…. E. coli!?!?!?! That’s so gross. And I remember a few years ago hearing about an E. coli spree breaking out across the globe that was apparently ruthlessly murdering millions. Well, I needed to calm down, because apparently it’s pretty common…..especially in Peru.

The doctor continued, telling me they’d be monitoring me throughout the rest of the afternoon, collecting samples yadeeyadeeya, and when I showed signs of improvement, I could leave. Before falling asleep again, they taped the IVs to my wrist since apparently the medication was having weird effects on my sleep and I couldn’t stop thrashing about in my bed.

By 2 pm, I was pretty happy from all the lovely drugs being pumped through my IV. For lunch, one of my thousands of nurses came in to deliver a hot plate with chicken soup, quinoa, and even an apple! I was so excited {considering I hadn’t eaten for a day and a half}. BIG MISTAKE. I took a few bites of the apple, and the effect it had made me wanting to yank the syringes out of my arms, my estomago was in so much pain.

It was blatantly obvious the head doctor was disappointed in my health progress.

Not only did they punish me by making me stay longer, but hours later for dinner, all I got was 3 different types of broth….with some mushrooms scattered about. By nighttime –only a little before turning 22– they released me from the hospital with a bag full of medication and what little possessions the doctor had previously collected from my bedroom for me {phone, passport} before taking me in.

I’m now in bed, still recuperating, but SO MUCH BETTER than before! My amazing friends –Amanda, Paige, Manny, Maxine, Maddie, Gina, Lauren, and so many others– stayed with me all day via viber, regardless of the weird texts my drug-infused brain concocted. And I have to say that the Peruvian hospital was very comfortable. My room was cozy, my nurses continuously re-adjusted my nightmare-wrecked blankets and pillows for me, and hey –if I ever want to marry a doctor’s nephew– I have a great Peruvian boy available to me.

So that’s how I spent the day{s} leading up to my 22nd birthday. In a hospital bed, in Cusco, Peru, completely wrecked in the stomach. But it taught me a little something about gratitude –more to come in a different bday blog post about that. My body isn’t as up-to-par as it was, say, a week ago, so my travel plans might be changing…..but everything happens for a reason. However, I’m crossing my fingers there’s no reason for me to ever be that sick in my life again. And I’m so thankful that the worst is behind me.

and now, a pathetic, boredom-induced selfie for your viewing pleasure! {brought to you from the collections of the many vibers sent to Manny, Paige, and Amanda}
and now, a pathetic, boredom-induced selfie for your viewing pleasure! {brought to you from the collections of the many vibers sent to Manny, Paige, and Amanda}

4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday….You have E. coli!!

  1. I am so sorry you had to go through that! What a nightmare! Hopefully you’ll be celebrating your birthday in the future in a better way.

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