Day’s Verse:
O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call to you.
May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

Psalm 141:1-3

I couldn’t help but notice that my August 5 blog about bathrooms got more comments than anything I’ve posted in a month. I’m not sure if that’s a reflection on me or you.

Unfortunately, I’ve had ample time to reflect on this, since on Wednesday I started suffering from what one coworker delicately calls “a stomach bug.” More accurately one would call it a “lower intestinal tract bug,” and its onset necessitated my spending more time in the bathroom at work than I’d ever previously put in there. I assumed, reasonably I think, that I had come down with food poisoning. We tried to guess what it was. My likeliest candidates:

  • The cake I ate that included a thick layer of creme filling in the middle. I didn’t eat the creme, but I couldn’t completely eat around it. That cake had been sitting out at least most of one day on a coworker’s desk, if not longer at her home.
  • Spinach: Either the spinach from our CSA, although I washed it very thoroughly, or the container of spinach we bought at the grocery store and that I finished on Wednesday. That container was local, organic spinach I’ve never had trouble with, but…
  • Sausage: Perhaps the chicken sausage I ate with dinner Tuesday and Wednesday, which we had cooked maybe 5 to 7 days earlier (I couldn’t remember exactly when we cooked it – possibly part of the problem), had spoiled. It tasted and smelled fine, but you can’t really tell.

By Friday I was still suffering, and I started thinking that maybe this wasn’t food poisoning — three days is a long time experience food poisoning symptoms. In desperation I called my health resource, and Mom told me I was probably exacerbating it by eating normal (read “hard to digest, hearty, grainy”) foods like granola with yogurt and whole-grain sandwiches, and that I should immediately go on the BRAT diet:

Bread (white)/Bananas
Rice (white)
Apple sauce
Toast (white bread only)

I sadly put away my PB&J;, my slice of blueberry pound cake, my string cheese, and my perfectly ripe peach and for the rest of Friday ate only the large, bruised banana I had brought to eat if I was desperate. By the end of the workday I was heartily hungry for dinner (normally I eat every hour or so, and since 9:30 am I had eaten only a banana!), which meant more bananas and saltine crackers (apparently mild enough to not cause additional irritation). Over the course of Friday evening and Saturday, I ate only white bread toast (7 or so pieces) without margarine, bananas (3), saltines (3 packages), and apple sauce (an entire small jar). For somebody used to enjoying our CSA produce and lots of whole-grain everything, this diet has proven wholly miserable — and it also caused me to lose a pound in 36 hours, which I really don’t need right now.

The problem with This Kind of Trouble is that, unlike when you get a cold, you don’t get any sympathy. When you have a cold, people notice you snuffling and blowing and they say “Oh, you must feel awful. Go home and rest.” When you have diarrhea, hopefully nobody finds out, and you feel awful all by yourself, with no sympathy. The other thing about it is that you don’t find out when a diarrhea-causing virus is going around because nobody talks about it! They just call in sick and say “I had a stomach bug,” when in reality they spent the previous 24 hours sweating and miserable on the toilet.

I discovered this when I delicately confessed my indisposition to a coworker and she promptly told me that her entire family had suffered from diarrhea, and that it seemed something was “going around.” All of a sudden all those people who had mysteriously called out sick — and it was a lot more than you’d expect for the summer, even counting people playing hookie on nice days — took on a whole new meaning for me. I wondered if, instead of strange food poisoning, I had actually caught somebody else’s Norwalk virus! Careful babying of the GI tract never hurt, though, even if I am heartily sick of white bread and saltine crackers; today I plan to go back to real, normal food for our anniversary trip in to Boston. I hope to report no ill effects as a result of this relative adventurousness in eating.

KF quality

One thought on “Food Poisoning or Norovirus, the End Result is the Same

  1. I sometimes venture into TMI territory (sometimes = often), but I can wholeheartedly say that I fully sympathize! As a person who suffers from this particular plight (told ya about that TMI, haha) on a near daily basis due to something the doctors aren’t sure of…food allergy? Irritable Bowel? Something worse? I have noticed a definite lack of sympathy with others.

    When you can’t hand them a doctor’s note and it’s not exactly as acceptable to say “man my butt is so sore” as “man my nose is so sore”, it’s an embarrassing but miserable issue to deal with!!

    It sounds like you must have picked it up from work somewhere. This type of thing spreads like wildfire in offices I think. I hope that you’re feeling better soon! As awful as it is, at least you weren’t throwing up! Though I always say that about everything because my life fear is vomiting… I just would rather be chained to the toilet for days than be hovering over it instead.

    Sending intestinally calming thoughts your way…

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