Ah, weekend. It was starting off perfectly. Nothing on the schedule except a football game on Sunday for DiploBoy1. And kicked off with a Consulate hail and farewell party by the pool.
The party was fun, standard FS fun – kids running around, laughter marking the end of the workweek, hunky-polite and sweet-but-I-could-SO-be-your-mother Marines serving mojitos, an icebreaker game by the CLO that I was determined to win. And the buffet table, run by the Consulate cafeteria association. All in all, a great start to the perfect weekend.
I had plans. That involved sleeping in late, cooking Sunday dinner for my family, going to the club to lie in the sun and swim. Maybe finally watch Mockingjay before it went back to the iTunes rental bin. But after the perfect start, a quick pizza dinner with some friends and a wild game of girls-only Cards Against Humanity where I learned WAY more about one of my neighbors than I’d ever imagined, my plans got changed. FAST.
It hit like a thief in the middle of the night. About 2 a.m. My stomach rolled, and I worshiped the porcelain God. (Give me a break on the metaphors and similes – I’m trying really, really hard not to gross anyone out.) Exhausted, I thought to myself, “What???!!” Because there was no way I was that far gone. And besides, I don’t get hung over. Seriously. It’s my superpower. Hate me if you want, but I don’t. (Nyah, nyah, nyah.)
As I made my way back to bed, I realized every joint in my body ached and wow, I felt dizzy. But not the normal dizzy. Nope, not the mojitos. I hoped by morning I would be better and could get on with my planned slugfest weekend.
By 8 a.m., it was clear the Dear Lord had other plans as to how I would spend it.
A few WhatsApp and text messages later, it seemed that half the Consulate families had been hit. More texts and we reached a conclusion: food poisoning. The one source of commonality between all of the early reporters was the hail and farewell buffet. Ugh. My first food poisoning in India was not from all the street food I’d eaten, but from a kitchen that was so close to the Health Unit that they probably heard the “Don’t Eat Street Food Briefing” straight from the horse’s mouth. The taste of irony was bitter in my mouth for a brief moment before it was swept away along with everything else in a wave of bodily fluids.
So I would just have to ride this out. Sleep, hydrate, expel, repeat. Hope no one else got it. By the time our text conversations narrowed down the possible buffet suspects, I had never been so happy in my life that DiploBoy2 doesn’t eat vegetables.
So I lay there all day Saturday, taking it like a champ. My family was unusually attentive.
DB1: Mommy, can I play on my computer? I’ve done all my math Kumon.
Me: Cerhseaaaah. [Under covers, hand sticking out, head underneath, in a stuffy room]
DB1: Daddy says he doesn’t know where you hid the key when you locked it up.
DB1: OK, so half an hour then. [Closes door, ignoring fact I am completely out of liquid sustenance and my obvious request for water. Or Gatorade. Or ginger ale. Or camel pee, for the love of Siva, just get me a freaking DRINK!]
Half an hour later:
DB2: Mommy? Can I go online and see Num Num Cat?
DB2: It’s this cat, and it’s lying on a peanut butter sandwich, and it has rainbows and stars coming out of its butt . . . and . . . .
Me: [Raises head, gives look of bewilderment]
DB2: Ok, then. [Closes door. Again, no offer of beverage.]
One hour later:
DD: Hey, honey. [Strokes hair, makes shhhing sounds, wakes up wife] Do you need anything?
Me: [Groggily wakes up. Cannot believe he woke me. Nope. Entertains murderous thoughts before realizing I have no strength left to get water if I kill the only person who can reach the ice tray.]
DD: Ok, then. I’ll check on you later. [Walks out.]
Me: [Looks over at empty glasses, thinking that even the camel pee I joked about sounds just fine about now.]
Sunday morning, I knew it had to be giardia. The Health Unit may quibble with me, because it turns out that a few families had symptoms before the hail and farewell, and some turned up after, they will swear it was not that buffet. Whatever. But I know giardia. Believe me, once you’ve had it (and I have and I have changed the diaper of a toddler who did too), you never, ever, ever forget. If you are curious enough, feel free to Google it. I’m going to go with not offending anyone’s delicate sensibilities by discussing it on my blog. (My mother: “Oh, thank GOD!”) What I can tell you, however, is that, according to my friend, L, it’s “one of the cuter parasites.” Well, then.
HU Nurse Neighbor was called. One thing I love about living abroad is that the house call is not dead, which is great if you feel that you are. She talked to me, went out and bought me Giardia Killer Medicine. After keeping down some peanut butter and crackers, I took the four horse pills, and waited for modern chemistry to do what my body had failed to: evict that sucker.
Finally, on Sunday night, I hauled myself out of bed. Looked in the mirror. Disastrous did not begin to cover my appearance. Stringy hair. Sallow complexion. Hollow eyes. But a flatter stomach. Hmmmm….
After a shower and a changing of bed sheets, I was back in bed, having all but vanquished the parasite, ready to head to dreamland.
The next morning, I got a call from DiploDad.
DD: Hi honey, how are you feeling?
Me: Decent. Alive. Think we are done here.
DD: Glad to hear it. There were over 25 people affected. The HU said it was like a cruise ship; once it hit, it just went rampant because of close quarters.
Me: A *&$#ing cruise ship???!! That’s the analogy?
Me: Well, the USS Consulate Mumbai sucks.
Tuesday morning, an email from the CLO came out to the Consulate community. Apparently, my persistence had paid off and I had won the hail and farewell icebreaker game. I seriously hope it’s a supply of Imodium. I’m all out.