“Somehin ain’t right here, partner” I said… to myself. I’ve been talking in a Southern accent lately because it’s funny and I grew a mustache. Or maybe it’s the mustache that’s the funny part. There’s another possibility, which is that none of it is funny and I’m simply hurting for a way to pass the time. Whatever the case may be regarding the accent and the facial features, I felt something funny in my body.
It was one of those things I had a hard time explaining to people. Was I in pain? No, not really. Just tired, maybe? No, not quite. More… depleted? Is feeling like expired jam in a can of SPAM a medical condition? Hardly grounds for a doctor’s visit. “I suppose I’ll just carry on,” I thought.
Each day became a little harder and I was feeling more jammed in the SPAM than before. I took a day off and came back feeling better. I spent half the day cleaning monkey doo doo off a collection of colorful towels while dreaming about the future, and everything seemed quite fine.
I had a nice lie down after my shift at the volunteer center, sandwiched in the Ecuadorian Amazon just a stones throw from the Andes, when some trouble started brewin’. “Better get to the hole in the ground, daddy’s about to blow cover.” The accent was back, but I was far from amused. My bumcheeks hit the jungle-yuck toilet about the same time the water works company let loose on the valve inside; flowing season was upon me before I even had time to remind myself that former Colorado Rockies legend Larry Walker hit .379 in 1999.
I didn’t have time to swat away the flies because the Projectile Vomiting Company decided now would be a good time to test their power. I had no choice but to pull the old Shit n’ switch technique and I’ll be damned and forgotten if I didn’t pull it off with flying colors; colors of all I had consumed that day, but I’ll spare you those details. I wouldn’t be so lucky as time went on.
First, I was at about an 80% vomiting to 20% bum dumping ratio at approximately 15-minute intervals, but we were just getting started here folks. Lord Sucksalot cut those intervals down to five minutes with a 50/50 split and your boy didn’t stand a fancy chance at much more than a narrow view down Cooked Canyon. The puke bucket, an old industrial butter container with a dirt bottom and home to three black spiders, was not next to the bed but on top of it.
About four hours in, the Poop Valve Control Center stopped notifying the town of any impending scenarios and simply went home for the day. I no longer knew my doom was coming and my pants paid the price. Some water never tasted so good, but I felt it go straight through me. 2x soil of pants back-to-back combo bonus +500 XP. “It’s not that much, surely I’ll make it up for the next one.” The accent is gone at this point. The mustache will not help me. We’re six hours in and my thighs are not dry.
At about the six-and-a-half-hour mark things started to turn sour QUICK. I made the fatal mistake of drinking three gulps of water, going for the classic Triple Drinker Swig Mission, which is a hell of a payoff on a weekend like this. Soon the thighs were laughing at my now soggy calves and ankles, bed sheets fully soaked in defecated creations. I decided I needed to make a swift exit and stood up, which only cued the release of every ounce of water from the Triple Drinker Swig Mission down my legs, past my pants and into a pool on the floor. The volunteer next to me sat calmly on his bed reading a novel, oblivious to the entire situation.
At this point I barely have the strength to stand, but I have to make it to the shower because I am completely covered in my own sewage system. Stumbling through the jungle I somehow managed to turn the shower water on, but I had expended my last drops of energy. I slowly folded to the shower floor and lay on the ground, freezing cold while the hot water rained down upon me. It’s in the fetal position where I realize this will not pass. I need help.
It took every fiber of fight in me just to get up. I took a deep breath, shut off the water and asked who was in the shower next to me. If I let them leave, I didn’t know if I could make it back to the volunteer house. “Who’s next to me?” I ask.
“Peytie,” she responds.
“Can you get help, I gotta go to the hospital.”
Just talking had become exhausting, and I was on a slippery slope to Nogoodsville. I somehow managed to get my clean pants on, but I’d spoil those soon enough. I don’t know exactly who was all there, but a lot of volunteers came to help. I was still conscious but pretty much a cross between a limp noodle and a zombie. Apparently, you could see all the veins in my face, so that’s pretty cool. I was told it was actually quite scary, which is fair.
We weren’t supposed to go into town this weekend because it was during the Presidential election, days after one of the candidates had been assassinated. So, timing wise it wasn’t a great time for me to be rushed to the hospital, but the city seemed alright. I mean I only peered out the window for five seconds, but they were still selling arepas, so… everything seemed fine. Everything was totally, totally fine.
The owner of the volunteer center asked me if I was scared while driving me to the hospital. I said I wasn’t, and just hoped I didn’t have colon cancer. I’m high risk for the illness so the thought obviously entered my mind. 40 minutes later we arrived at the emergency room, and I tried to sit in the waiting chair, but only lasted a couple of minutes before I had to lay on the floor.
Another twenty minutes passed before they called my name. We filled out some information and eventually I found my way to a hospital bed, where I got to spend the night going through four IV bags and watching some guy die across from me while his family gathered around. I had nothing to do but sit there and listen to the beeps of his heart meter. Was this how I envisioned things going? No, not at all. But it was happening. This was all really happening.
They tried to get a poo sample out of me, handing me a small cup. I gave it my best effort but explained to them in the best Spanish I could muster that there was nothing in my body. “Hay nada en mi cuerpo. Necesito comida.” They told me they couldn’t give me food and I wasn’t allowed to bring any in either. So, when the owner of the volunteer center came back to check on me, we devised a plan for him to sneak in some cookies so I could poop them out into this cup.
He put them under his sweatshirt and stealthily snuck them to me. I carefully opened them and slipped one underneath my mask and into my mouth. Then another. I ate two whole cookies. Whoa. This is wild. And by golly son of a swordfish, it worked. An hour later I waddled to the bathroom and took dead aim. Score. Poo in cup. Why is there blood in my IV? Ah man, that guy’s really dying. Back to the bed.
The night carried on and I felt a little less pathetic with every IV bag that went through my veins. The bloodwork came back clean, which was a relief. It turns out I had gotten supremely dehydrated and my body was half way to shutting it down. I had been drinking quite a bit of water but hadn’t had any electrolytes or sugar to balance it out. It was hard to fathom how any of it happened, but I was just happy to be alive. They released me from the hospital in the morning and I walked out without having paid a single dollar. Good thing I wasn’t home.
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