Tuesday, May 17, 2011


In 1996, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.  For the most part, I didn't like it there.  I couldn't trust anyone.  Stuff got stolen.  The apartment complex was really close to the Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel.  Some good things happened, though. That was the year I adopted Eleanor and Henry.  They were fuzzy, cute, grey kitties and siblings. They are so named after watching "The Lion in Winter", for Queen Eleanor of the Aquitaine and Henry the second.  Henry stayed true to his name, becoming a fat slob of a kitty who often mistook the bathmat for his litter box.  Eleanor was quiet and shy and really only blossomed after Henry died of being fat and slovenly.  El now lives the life of the real Eleanor- shut in her ivory towner of a home, plotting ways to escape and raise an army to defeat the world and take over. Las Vegas is the place where I first got food poisoning.

I ate the seafood buffet at the Mirage and everything seemed fine.  For a couple of hours.  Then I started to not feel so good and my tummy hurt. I started to sweat and get chills.  Then the vomiting commenced, which bothered my other parts.  I spent the evening sleeping in the bathroom, watching the lights of the strip club next door blink on and off in pink neon.  I called my mom.  We didn't know it was food poisoning so she recommended Pepto Bismol for the the vomiting and Immodium for the other stuff.  I couldn't keep anything down.  Not water, gatorade or the leftover chicken from the day before the great seafood incident.  I couldn't stop crying.  My tongue was swollen and dry.  My boyfriend took me to the emergency room.  The doctor, who had an accent I couldn't place (I was 23 or 24, I couldn't place England on a map) chided me about the medicine.  It just had to all come out.  I was dehydrated too, so they thought to put in an iv.  I have rolling veins; they look just fine but roll out of the way when you go to stick them with a needle.  I give two pokes to each person who works with me, so after two nurses and the doctor, I made a deal that if I could just keep down some water, they would stop treating me like a pin cushion.

Now, as traumatic as that was, it didn't even hold a candle to yesterday and today.  I love a place in Oklahoma City called "The Mediterranean Deli" and I go there fairly regularly, often enough that they have gotten to know me after ten years. I bought some baba ghanoush dip and took off.  I love their baba.  It beats any other food in the world.  That was at about 2 p.m.  I ate some when I got home.  I mean, I almost all of it, since I hadn't had much breakfast and was hungry.  Went about my day.  I bought an iPad 2, which I love, and a wireless router.  I started feeling sick around 4:30 or 5.  Shook it off and borrowed a truck from a friend to move the last of my possessions from Ada.  By 8, I was back home and sick as a dog.  I became a poop conduit.  Then a vomit conduit.  Turns out most of the baba had lodged in my stomach which my body faithfully tried to expel over the course of the next seven hours.  I'm not saying that their baba was bad; I'm saying that I've been really lucky for ten years with baba ghanoush and only had one little oopsie-type episode.  I still highly recommend them for anything you care to buy in that store.

Did you ever see a movie called "The Fourth Kind"? In it, a woman is sucked into an alien spacecraft, but before that happens, her jaw unhinges and really loud sounds emerge from her.  I felt like that as I heaved.  I wasn't aware that I was making so much noise and I had a few moments where I was outside of myself, hoping that indeed, I was being abducted by aliens.  I hoped they had something to treat food poisoning because I was hornking so violently, the splash landed on my right foot.

My cat is super supportive when I don't feel well and she can always tell when something is wrong.  For instance, awhile before I got the call about my Grandmother's death, she cuddled up to my back and put her paw on me and just purred.  As I went through the gyrations of gastric death and dismemberment, she would lay on the bed with me, always keeping a paw somewhere on me.

I didn't get dehydrated, however.  Even between ex-peristalsis, I kept drinking water and gatorade- something I learned from my first bout.  I'm recovering now, though I won't be eating anything solid for awhile.  And I've learned to laugh at this too, to find those moments we all experience but don't often appreciate.  For instance, I thought I was expelling green stuff, but it turns out that my toilet water is just blue.  Since the water turned green, then I must have added...yellow.  You know, because yellow and green make blue.  I was proud to have laced two different hair bands around my wrist so that when I ran to puke (which, p.s., tasted a lot like garlic), I'd have a moment to put my hair up.  The result was no barfy hair.  I'm getting good at this.  My ribs hurt from just under my armpits to my pubic bone, but I'm at my ideal weight so there's that. You get the idea. The worst part, the tragic part, is that I won't be eating any more of the amazing baba ghanoush anytime soon.

It is said that poison is the weapon of women and the weak.  I've been in lots of fights.  Broken bones and cut myself and bruised every imaginable part and even some parts I didn't know could be bruised.  I think that if I were just mad at someone, I might get mad enough to beat the crap out of them.  Maybe break a bone.  But if I had a personal grudge and wanted to kill someone in a painful way, I'd get some tasty dip and leave it in the sun for three days, then make a gift of it with some delicious garlic-y pita chips.  Because we women are mean.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to crawl back into bed and die for awhile.

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