June 16, 2010

This SHIT would happen to me....

Occasionally I have one of those days simply meant for the record books.  Those days are few and far between, but when they happen, I can only sit in amazement that I made it through.  Usually, my body (or its unwillingness to listen to instructions) is a determining factor in this situation, but not always.

Yesterday, it was the only factor, in a brutal and embarrassing way. . .let me take you back about 24 hours. . .

(Author Note:  If you have a weak stomach, do not read any further.)
This week was going to be a banner week for me.  I was doing my first solo site visit and my first solo BPA (Business Process Analysis).  I left LaGuardia feeling perky and confident, mostly because this also meant that for the first time ever, I get to drive in New York.  This was probably the part I was looking forward to the most.

I arrived on site, began the BPA (oh my GOD, what a mess!!!  This place is going to need a lot of help), and left at 5PM.  So far, so good.  I went back to the hotel, took a quick nap, then tried to determine my meal options.

Lesson 1:  When in a strange city, go for safe, familiar food first.
I checked UrbanSpoon, which is like a free Zagat's.  Blue Moon Mexican Cafe ranked highly and since I didn't want sushi or Chinese for dinner (sushi made me sick last week and I had Chinese this weekend), Mexican seemed like a good choice.  I made my way to Bronxville and, 20 minutes of walking later, arrived at the restaurant.

Lesson 2:  If you arrive at a restaurant around 7PM and it's more empty than full, LEAVE.
I sat, nibbled on the chips, and ordered and Lone Star burrito.  I am noticing that in New York, burritos come with the rice and beans inside.  I hate having my rice and beans inside, but no matter, I was hungry.

The first bite was . . .interesting.  Not exactly in a bad way, but in a "Is-that-BBQ-sauce-on-top-of-this-burrito?" kinda way.  I few more bites and I could tell that this was not going to make my short list of favorite burritos by any stretch of the imagination.  I ate somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the burrito then stopped.  No point prolonging the pain.

Lesson 3:  Listen to your body's signals.  They mean something.
Almost immediately after leaving the restaurant I began to feel heavy, as if I had acid reflux or something.  This feeling lasted all night and into the next morning, but I've had that feeling before and it meant nothing.  So I slept, uneasily, and resolved to get some acid reducer in the morning.

I made it through the morning sessions OK, willing the heavy feeling to go away.  After the morning sessions, I realized that I was sick...not uncomfortably heavy but SICK.  I followed Yuriy back to the IT offices and sat down.  For an hour I fought the urge to sleep and the urge to vomit. I went to the bathroom at least 4 times, but it was no use.  My stomach was on a collision course with an embarrassing destiny.

Lesson 4:  If you are going to be embarrassingly sick, wear Linen.  It cleans easily.
I stood up, calculating the amount of time it would take me to make it to the restroom if I tottered very quickly down the hall.  In the high heels I was wearing, I immediately realized I wouldn't make it.  I turned around to tell Yuriy I was going to be sick and no sooner than I had the words out of my mouth I became the Trevi Fountain, vomit spewing from me in spectacular form.  

Oh no, it gets worse.

Remember the 4 restroom trips?  Well, my sphincter decided that it would be much more efficient to rid me of whatever was plaguing me from both ends.

That's right.  I pooped myself.

I now have bright orange vomit and poop spewing from me in spectacular fashion, while an office full of stunned IT employees watched.  I must have continued for a good 4-5 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.  I had poop running down my legs, vomit splashing out of the trashcan onto the floor, and all I could do, while keeping my mouth open, was look on in stunned wonder.

Lesson 5:  People with children understand poop.
Finally, it was over.  My body had spewed out everything I'd eaten in the past 18 hours (that horrible burrito, 3 glasses of orange juice, and about a liter of water).

4 people stood looking at me, not in horror or shame, but understanding.  Mariana grabbed my suit jacket and wrapped it around my waist while Yuriy went to inform the AD (Applications Director) of the incident.  Val called custodial while Debbie packed up my bags (carefully.  Vomit had splashed onto the computer bag strap).  In the bathroom, Mariana made me strip off the pants, which she tossed into the sink and began to rinse.  I pulled off my undies and began to wash them in the toliet (hey, the toliet is the largest source of standing fresh water in any home).  I started crying and Mariana said that each time she was pregnant, she had pooped herself at least once, so I shouldn't be ashamed.  

I told Mariana I wasn't pregnant.  She said it didn't matter; adults understand that sometimes, Shit happens.

Finally, my pants were clean enough for me to put them on and leave, so I went back to the hotel, drank a couple of glasses of orange juice and water and immediately climbed into bed.  I slept for the next 2.5 hours.

Lesson 6:  Until everything is better, swear off any product that was involved in the display.
I woke up with that heavy feeling again.  I had just enough time to process it before the meaning became clear.  This time I made it to the bathroom and picked up the trashcan while I, yet again, spewed forth the contents of my stomach from both ends.

All orange.  Time to swear off the orange juice.  I got back in the bed and slept for another 1.5 hours.

Lesson 7:  If sick, stay home.
I woke up at 6PM and remembered that I had a dinner date with Al for The Tap House, a restaurant that Glenda and I found weeks ago and definitely wanted to take Al to.  It was clear as I pulled up to Al's hotel that I was sick, but I was fighting it gamely, determined to let Al experience this excellent restaurant.

The Tap House lived up to all expectations.  If you are ever in Tuckahoe, NY and you have the opportunity to eat there, please do.  Given the dodgy state of my stomach, I decided to have the Roasted Beet Salad and lots of Ginger ale to settle my stomach down.

I ate six bites of my salad, Al cleaned the pork tenderloin and he payed (I had left my wallet at my hotel, which meant that I was driving around NY without a license and I couldn't pay for 1/2 the meal. I'm not sorry; my half couldn't have been more than $20.)

We walk outside and watch these cute little kids playing in front of the train depot.  Well, Al watched.  I immediately walked over to the trash can.

That's right.  For the third time that day, I vomited.  Thankfully, no poop this time.

Having relived myself of the 6 bites of salad I'd eaten, I immediately felt better. . .well, I felt kinda bad for the kids, who were having a great time until their mom saw me going at it for all I was worth.  She had them packed up in the car before I could lift my head decently.  Al scolded me the entire way back for having come out when I was clearly sick, but he did admit he enjoyed the restaurant.  I was back to feeling embarrassed.  At this point, it was clear to me that I needed to swear off food for the day, go home, drink water and go to bed.  Maybe everything would be better in the morning.

Lesson 8:  WebMD exist for a reason.  Use it.
I made it back to the hotel, found my wallet (woo hoo!!!) and immediately hopped online to see if I could figure out what was wrong with me.  After a little while I came to the conclusion: Food Poisoning.  It fit all the criteria:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
It also said that the symptoms usually go away in 2 to 3 days.  So that's where I am right now:  waiting for my stomach to settle down because as I write this at 11:40 PM on Wednesday, I have not had a single thing to eat today and I am starving.

This s**t would happen to me...

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