After doing some work on campus, Nicole and I drove over to a little place on another part of the campus for a taste of fruit shakes. They were the perfect thirst quencher on that hot summer day. It was yummy, it was cheap. I chose mango; she chose avocado. We stayed a few minutes to enjoy the cold treats, then went our separate ways afterwards.
I went back home to pass by for some things before proceeding to the office. As I entered the living room, I felt a slight headache, so I popped a paracetamol then went up to my room to rest a bit. I'm really getting old, I said to myself, noting, too, a little ache on my side. Kaunting pagbuhat buhat lang ng baby, laspag ka na?!
Okay, lie down for 15 minutes, then drive to work, I made up my mind. In a few minutes, I noticed a tummyache and a generally strange feeling. "U feeling ok? I have a tummyache and
feel a bit nauseous. It must be d mango shake. Parang puno pa din tummy ko," I texted Nicole. She was fine, she replied.
In less than an hour, slight tummyache turned major, nausea was "consummated" and "electrolyte imbalance" flashed in my mind as I wobbled out of the bathroom, straight to my bed. How can that much fluid come out of a thin body like mine and I can still walk (sans elegance, though)? Is Gatorade my only lifeline? Must I holler for someone to buy me a case?
I was relieved, for nothing can make me whimper and feel like it's the end of the world than an impending episode of insides going outside when they are meant to stay inside and go through the normal process from the digestive system to the excretory system, as we learned in health class years ago. Needless to say, few other things can drive me to pray with as much intensity as when something like this happens, while it is happening.
Our ever reliable helper was my angel, bringing in a glass of water after my feeble call at the top of the stairs outside my door. What relief. But then, my stomach decided to launch a second revolution after a couple of hours, and by this time, I was too exhausted that I turned to technology for assistance. The bedroom door seemed like a kilometric walk from my side of the bed, and no way was I negotiating a 10-step staircase to ask for another glass of water. So, praying that my perfectly-content-even-when-her-cellphone-is-out-of-sight-for-hours sister would happen to have her phone in her hand at that moment, I sent her a text message, asking her to call up the house (where I was), tell our helper downstairs that I needed water again and to please bring the whole bottle this time.
When three minutes passed and nothing happened, I began to wonder if this was my end. Then the knock on the door came and in walked my angel once again! Ah, cold water! A glass and a whole bottle! My mother walked in, too, to my chagrin, for now she was worried as well. After I assured her that my body had expelled whatever needed to be expelled and that all I had to do was replenish the lost fluids, she seemed to calm down.
That evening (or the next morning? It's hard to keep a time element during traumatic episodes such as this), when I had updated Nicole and another friend about my experience, I figured Nicole was completely fine despite buying from the same vendor since (if I remember correctly) her avocado was sliced open only after she placed her order. My mango slices, on the other hand, were ready for the dumping into my glass even before I made the selection. Who knows how long they had been exposed to the sweltering heat and the wicked bacteria? Yuck. It couldn't have been the milk as the same batch was used on both our shakes.
Thank God it was nothing more serious than that. I mean, that night, as I noticed the dull pain leave my tummy (the nausea returned intermittently, though), I remembered cases I had read about wherein food poisoning resulted in death! Didn't the young daughter of someone famous or some government official die after eating contaminated food? I am truly fortunate.
** For information on food safety during hot months, here are 10 tips for summer food safety