Unfortunately yesterday I spent most of my day at the ER trying to rehydrate after getting "food poisoning". The only problem is that I didn't know it was food poisioning until I was in true danger. Why? Because my food poisoning symptoms looked and felt like indigestion until it hit me 12 days later. I use to think, how can someone die from Samonella or E. Coli , or an intestinal parasite yet didn't they know they were sick? I now know, it's easy to explain away the symptoms until you're deathly ill. Here's why.
Twelve days ago, my mom and I went out to catch a quick bite to eat. We stopped at Chipolte. We both got a burrito bowl. I noticed that when dinner time rolled around neither my mom nor I were hungry. In fact, we were stuffed and kind of not feeling well. My mom and I both have gluten allergies so we thought maybe we had gotten something by accident there, and decided we wouldn't go there to eat again. By the next morning, my stomach was so bloated and just hurt. I wasn't sick really, just uncomfortable. My mom was the same way. A week went by and my mom called me and asked if I was still feeling sick. I told her...I don't know what you would call it really. I am really bloated, feel uncomfortably full, and I've had heart burn. She said she was experiencing the same thing, but she had been having bowel issues as well. I tried to do everything I could to manage the heart burn. I took pepto and tums for the heartburn. And some days, the bloating would be gone, I would be hungry again, and I would eat a small meal, but by lunch time I would look like and feel like a stuffed turkey. This went on for a week.
By Saturday I started to really feel lousy. I was running a fever, chilling, and my stomach was in knots. I honestly was kind of relieved that whatever I had been fighting for the last week would work it's way out of me. But the problem was, it went away and I felt better the next day. I thought my body had fought it off. But on Monday, all that changed. I woke up and was ill, really, really ill. While I was resting on the bathroom floor, my friend called me and asked me how I was and I told her I wasn't well. She told me that she and her husband weren't well either and she described having the exact same thing. We thought, well, it must just be a virus going around. Tuesday rolled in and I woke up thinking I had gotten through the worst of it, only to go for round 2, but this time, everything was different. I drank a glass of water after getting sick and I heard what sounded like internal flushing..it was literally like the water wasn't going to stop at my stomach, it was going to go straight through. And then it did. I drank more, the same thing happened. I literally couldn't rehydrate myself. I knew it was time to go to the ER.
When I got to the ER, the doctors were explaining to me that what I had wasn't the flu. That I had been exposed to some parasite like samonella, e.coli, or giardia. They said most people consider food poisoning something that happens immediately, but the problem is with things like this it can take up to 14 days before it gets flu like. And you run the risk of "stooling out". Which is where you are now. Your outtake is more than your intake and your blood pressure is really low because of it. This is what happens to kids. We don't worry about it as much in adults, but it can happen. He asked if anyone else was showing signs. Oddly, no one. I eat everywhere with my family...and then it hit me. 12 days ago I ate out with my mom, who'd been having the same thing. I then thought of my friend who I had spoken with yesterday! I pulled out my phone and asked her, "Did you eat at chipolte before this started with your stomach?" She said, "Yes! Why?!" I told her that I thought she and her husband should see a dr, that I didn't think what we had was a virus, I think we all might have picked something up while eating there from the food. She was like, I never would have thought to think back that far? I said, me neither.
It was that realization that answered my question. I know why people die from e.coli and food poisoning, because they thought it wasn't that...no one thinks back that far when it comes to food. We all assume it is well through our systems by that point! The problem is that while the food passes, the parasites in it stick around. The fact that they are able to ever trace the original source of the parasite now seems miraculous to me. How they are able to discover cantelope was infected or spinach is truly amazing! Think of how many people had to remember what they ate for that discovery to even be made. To help prevent this from happening to someone else, I thought that I would post a link to the most common food born illnesses you can get and the symptoms.
3 bags of I.V. fluid, antibiotics, and a shot later I was finally feeling better. I got my results back and it looks like I had Cyclospora cayetanensis. Reading up on how I got it, makes me mad to be honest. There's a reason why you wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Apparently people from Chipolte have problems with that. But the main thing is that I'm ok and I'm able to inform everyone now on how you know the difference between indigestion, the flu, and food born illnesses and parasites!