Love in the Time of Giardia

2 07 2007

(Insert quote here about pride being the road to all destruction).

For four weeks, I was strong. I was fighting the standard Guatemalan bugs with gusto, and let it be known, I was damn proud of my health. While most travelers in Guatemalan seem to have at least one twenty-four hour fest with lots of food exiting the body in various ways, I would not succomb to the bacterias that be. My body was taking it all in stride.

But like all strong empires, I, too, was to fall. I started to feel sick about five days ago, but I firmly held onto my mind over matter technique, which worked for about half of each day. My family tracked my developing symptoms with gusto…each day as something new popped up, they would have ¨just the thing.¨ Sometimes, this resulted in a fantastic herbal concoction that made me feel eighty percent better. On the other hand, there were moments where they´d talk and talk about a miracle drug that always works for them, and I´d end up with a glass of Alka-Seltzer. My favorite part was that the mother of the family kept insisting that I eat toast with honey. She ate it with me  as if to prove its worth.

On Saturday, my family was incredibly unimpressed when I decided to join others on a six hour hike in the mountains. I was feeling ok, the sun was out, and hey, it was my only chance to climb some ridges and see a neighboring village. I actually completed the hike with relative ease, but returned home feeling downright nasty. My family blamed the altitude, the exercise, and my poor decision-making. Toast with honey, with a clucking, ¨I told you so,¨ was for dinner.

The good, or bad, news is that my symptoms were mainly an incredibly bloated stomach which resulted in lots of sound effects. I have never felt so pregnant or so ready to be an extra on ¨Dumb and Dumber¨ in my life.

Today, a friend and I headed on a two and an half hour journey to the nearest lab, and I found that I have giardia. The experience was great; I was armed with my dictionary earmarked to words like ¨very bloated, guttural burps and much flatulence.” The doctor was Cuban and free, both of which were fantastic (reason being, as I am guessing most of you know, that Cuban medicial training is top-notch…free should be relatively self-explanatory). My dose of medicine cost me eight bucks, and I feel better already.

As for the title of this post, if you cannot find the love within the giardia, please re-read. It´s in the toast with honey, in my friend, a fellow parasite-survivor, making a 6:00 a.m. departure to ensure I could navigate the health care system, and in the bonus of finding some Reese´s peanut butter and chocolate treats for purchase next to the lab. American (or simply decent) chocolate is hard to come by, and oh so missed, here.

As my friend Mario said when I arrived back with my diagnosis, ¨But it’s all worth it, right?” And the truth is, it really is.

Off to some more toast with honey.



2 responses

4 07 2007

glad you are feeling better, my friend! am enjoying reading about your travels. love, katie

27 08 2007

Well, well well… I hope you see this message, and that it is retrievable. You have thoroughly entertained and enlightened me through your writings. I know you are a teacher and all, but MAN are you a phenomenal writer. You should seriously consider writing a book , because the words just fall of your tongue like caramal on a sundae. I love the “cannot be obvious man” , and his self centered disappointment, I love the extra terrestrial info seeking scientist to be, and I love of course your brain. And let’s talk about scuba diving, now that is impressive, cuz my love for sea creatures and the ocean still have not overpowered my fear of breathing underwater (or not breathing). The grandparents are sweet too, its nice that they were there for you. He does the ‘naboh” , my granma, which is ” I don’t know what you are saying, but I will smile and feed you”…. Anyway, what a treat you had , world traveller. Remember, it doesn’t take a trip to have you blog it out.. it’s a pleasure to read your stuff.. well, toodle-doo… love, Bokers

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