I’m sure every culture has their own concoctions to cure the common human ailments. A weekend of shampoo-bottle-stomach (think high altitude+shampoo bottle) as I’ve now dubbed it meant that my dear Mariana got to try out some homemade brews on her new gringa. Sidenote: I think I’ve moved on from shampoo-bottle-stomach to I’m-pretty-sure-I-ate-some-nastiness-stomach but that is way too long to type.
Friday morning rolls around and I wake up feeling like my stomach has been steamrolled. I had some important things for a group presentation that I had volunteered to hold on to the day before meaning I couldn’t just stay home. So I get up, shower, attempt some juice, and explain in broken Spanish that I’m sick but have to at least go to the bus stop in the hopes that another volunteer is there to do a hand-off of my presentation materials.
If I’ve gained anything from the hours of medical sessions, it is to rehydrate rehydrate rehydrate. Lesson learned. I get to the bus stop and whisper for someone to please please come so I can go back home and not have to go all the way to the training center. Then, you know that feeling when you’re about to pass out and bad things run through your head? I start shaking, get light headed, and wonder what would happen if I just passed out right there next to a park in the middle of Ecuador. How would anyone know what to do with a random passed out gringa?
All drama aside, I made it on the bus, went to the training center, drank some water, decided to do my part of the presentation and then figure out how to get home. The Peace Corps likes to cover all their bases, especially medically. This means when you’re sick with anything more than a paper cut (ok not really, but almost), you have to explain to a handful of people what’s wrong and call Medical so they can tell you to drink water and take medicine. I try to call from my phone, and then realize its dead. Normally little things don’t bother me but I almost had my first public outbreak of uncontrollable tears.
I get home via a ride with the Secretary and by this point Mariana is ready with a list of questions to try to explain how I got sick. “Maybe I forgot to boil the water I made your juice with?” “Maybe I didn’t rinse your fruit well enough?” “What have you eaten lately?” “Um rice, rice, soup, rice, soup and oh yeah, I had ceviche in Quito on Wednesday.” She becomes convinced its the conch that came in my ceviche mixto although I’m pretty sure I’ve had a few stray unfiltered ice cubes and a handful of other mixtures that don’t fare well for the sensitive white girl’s stomach.
I spent the rest of the day in bed, pretty sure I slept a total of 16 in 24 hours. Mariana came in periodically to offer me oregano water and another concoction whose description I couldn’t understand. Think hot thick apple juice. I try to convince her no less than 4 times that I just can’t eat and I’d rather stay in bed. I will give her props for leaving me alone for most of the day.
Yesterday (Saturday), still not feeling great but a little better. I try to be social to make up for the day before by going to the viewing of a well-known man from Tumbaco who just died. I watch Glee with the host-brother and eat a few spoonfuls of soup for dinner while Mariana tells me stories about her life that just make me sad and wish I spoke better Spanish. She says she was soo worried about me the day before because I just wanted to stay in my room and I didn’t tell her what I was doing (sleeping). So then we get into the whole “I’m way too independent for my own good and I need to learn how not to be like that” plus the fact that speaking a foreign language when your sick just sucks. Cheers to cultural breakthroughs!
That brings us to today where, after waking up periodically the night before cursing Ecuador and my stomach troubles, I sleep in the latest I have since arriving (9:15). I shower and get dressed hoping for a better day only to feel steamrolled again resulting in another day of oregano water/hot thick apple juice/nasty oral-rehydration salts/some other PC Medical Kit remedies. I basically slept and did nothing today other than force myself to eat a bowl of soup and listen to a conversation between host-parents and an unknown tio about medical care in Ecuador.
Glad my first bad weekend is out of the way. Moving on in the hopes of a good week. 🙂