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Day 13: Gastro Happens, Sometimes Where You Least Expect

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Day 13: I heart faux meat!

Day 13: I heart faux meat!

The inspiration for today’s post is a bit of a stretch perhaps. I was preparing a nice faux meat roast for dinner tonight (Pat and I eat a veggie meat dinner at least once a week), and I got to thinking about my recent gastro incident involving a half-chicken, half bolognese pizza. Since then, I have returned to cheese pizza only — at least until I can shake the fears of getting the bug again. If only I had just gone veggo that night, I wouldn’t have had to suffer like I did.

Do you know what the real kicker to this story is?

I managed to travel to some not so clean places in this world only getting one night of real food poisoning during that time, but I’ve since gotten it twice while in Australia!

Sure, I’ve had my fair share of “stomach trouble” as I adjusted to small amounts of tap water in Guatemala and to the diet and tap water in Kyrgyzstan. I had to boil my water in Ukraine in order to drink it as a tea. I ate salads and food prepared at the markets in Bishkek.

Did you wash your hands before you patted out those fresh tortillas? Hmm… I don’t know because I didn’t ask.

Perhaps I was just lucky.

Someone I met in my hostel in Antigua, Guatemala told me about an incident he had with gastro while there. He was on a chicken bus, the bus driver wouldn’t stop for him, so he literally had to take a crap while hanging his bum out the door.

That story frightened the poo out of me (figuratively), so I made sure to never, ever, ever be without immodium when traveling. It also made me thankful to never have an experience that could relate to that sort of urgency… not until our contaminated pizza night in Australia.

Boo… hiss! Every time I walk past the place, I can’t even look at it (yeah, it’s our local). Our calculations are pointing to the chicken side as it was the chicken leftovers I had for lunch the next day — before knowing that Pat had been having stomach problems at work that morning. It put me out for a week.

Fever, chills, loss of liquids at extreme rates. I was going delirious and all I could think about is the fact that this happened here, of all places in the world. I even said this:

There is no way I’m putting myself in this position again. That includes traveling to places where this sort of thing is common (think India).

It was like one of those really hungover resolutions to never drink again. At the time, I meant it, but in hindsight, I can’t give up the idea of traveling to India.

Fast-forward a week and a half after the incident. My stomach felt weak, but it was going much better, so I went out to dinner with Pat and his family. The next day, we were both in agony. It was like we were having a relapse of the food poisoning, and I got really, really worried that we were never going to recover.

After consulting with Pat’s brother and mom, it turns out they had stomach troubles, too! Although much milder, I got food poisoned yet again!

Just goes to show you can get gastro where you least expect it.

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15 Responses to Day 13: Gastro Happens, Sometimes Where You Least Expect

  1. Adam @ SitDownDisco January 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    I generally have a quite resilient stomach… But I have been done a couple of times in Bali. And I know one of the times it wasn’t food poisoning as other people around me got the same bug without eating the same food. It was one of those things you ‘catch’, which happens when you are in close contact with other people. Nasty stuff particularly when you learn about the only method of transmission.

    • Brooke January 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      Ugh, tell me about it. So gross to think about it 🙁

  2. Kieron January 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    That is a frightening story! I got it on a bus in the Nevada desert from LA – Las Vegas. Fortunately we were on Luxbus that time and they had the necessary facilities, but it still was not a fun experience!

    • Brooke January 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      I cannot imagine being anywhere besides home when it happens. Not the best experience, and I’m sorry to hear you got it on a bus!

  3. Kay January 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Gasto is like Australia’s national illness, seriously. My friend did 3 months in India without a single incident but was admitted to hospital 4 weeks after she returned to Australia thanks to a dodgey yiros.

    • Brooke January 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

      You know, I don’t doubt that comment one bit. Perhaps the food health and safety restrictions aren’t as strict here. I’ve heard plenty of stories, and I’m now also one of them.

  4. Annie January 14, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    This is one of the things that really freaks me out. I haven’t gotten it yet and although painfully uncomfortable I could fathom the thought of getting it and having a private hostel/hotel room to recover in. It’s the thought of being on the bus that freaks me out!!! 🙁

    • Brooke January 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

      There was a period of time I had some stomach upsets while in Guatemala (a little tap water here and there will do that), but I was so worried that I took an imodium before bus trips during the first 2 weeks. eek

  5. Lois January 14, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    That scared me a bit especially since I’m going to India next month. Hope my tummy can stand it. Thanks for the Imodium tip!

    • Brooke January 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      Be smart about the food you eat 🙂 Some people go and are fine, but there is the whole Delhi Belly term 😉 good luck!

  6. Sheryll January 14, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    The story of your friend and the chicken bus incident has me scarred for life. LOL I can’t even deal..I’m taking Imodium with me EVERYWHERE.

    • Brooke January 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      I have to imagine that things may have gone down differently if it wasn’t a somewhat obnoxious gringo asking for the driver to stop. Still, those chicken buses… you don’t mess around.

  7. Bethany January 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    wow. that is horrible. I can’t believe that guy had to do that. How do you even come back from that. I would cry. I don’t think it’s odd about being sick either. I camped in europe for 2 months never got sick once. Since I’ve been back in the states I’ve been sick 3 times! I don’t know what it is but i am sick of this! I guess i am allergic to the U.S. maybe you are becoming allergic to Oz?? 🙂

    • Brooke January 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      Well that’s what he said anyways… you never *really* know, but it sounded like he was telling the truth. Luckily, he’s the type of guy that doesn’t get bothered too much by having to rough it 😉 haha

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