Adventures in food poisoning, or Pepto Bismol is your FRIEND

peptoI’m a tough cookie. I’ve been to post-tsunami south Asia. Covered dock-workers strikes at 3am. Terror attacks, shootings, floods? I’m there. Even illnesses can’t break me. Or so I thought…
Came down with shingles: Not contagious? I’m going to work!
Bad cold: taking Sudafed… and going to work!
And THEN… I got food poisoning.

I’d been covering a story in Boston and my plane back to Manhattan was late, so I ate a shrimp salad at a nice looking airport restaurant. Within half an hour I knew I was in trouble. There was a sharp needling sensation in my head. I’m sensitive to sulfites (used as a food preservative) and the migraine was coming.

I got on the plane and took prescription medicine. No good.  By the time we landed I was popping Ibuprofen and downing coffee for the caffeine. Didn’t help.
The nausea kicked in, prompting the dear taxi driver to reassure me that I was almost home, while he was no doubt trying to reassure himself that I would not hurl in his nice cab.

Once home in the Man Cave, I pushed passed the beautiful spaghetti dinner my husband had made me, kissed my boys on their foreheads… chugged Pepto Bismol and crawled into bed. For two days.

I literally felt like I had been poisoned.

Lessons learned:

  • First: Food poisoning makes you feel like you’re going to die AND that you are very lame. “You know, your colleague had a STENT put in his heart and HE’S back to work…”  YAH but I… ate uh… salad.
  • Second: Pepto Bismol is your FRIEND. Yes, Pepto, I have mocked your color and consistency. But I’m sure it made the difference between rolling up in a ball, feeling horrible… and praying to the Porcelain God Raulf, while also feeling horrible.
  • Third: I will be even MORE careful about what I eat. This might seem obvious, but on those days when I’m on assignment, rushing from one interview to the other, I will pull out this blog, force myself to read it, and remind myself I do NOT want to ever feel this sick. And lame. again.

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