I’ve been to Mexico one time. My husband won’t let me go back until their government is overthrown by happy people who crush the cartels with good vibrations. It was beautiful. We stayed at an eco resort. No power, tent-a-lapas on the beach, and an honor bar. There were also no children allowed. This was before I had a kid… and childhood meltdowns were unacceptable on a vacation. Now that I’ve had a kid, I can’t really hear other kid’s meltdowns. Probably due to the hearing damage I have suffered from my own. It was peaceful. It was sunny. There was a constant ocean breeze, rustling the walls of our glorified tent.
The first few days were heaven. My husband and I had only been married for two years. It was ROMANTIC! Each night we enjoyed sit-down dinners in a giant dining hall, with sand floors. We met people from all over, but ended up eating most of our meals with a kooky couple from NYC, a gay man from San Fran who was in a fight with his boyfriend, a model who had just broken up with her boyfriend, and a curious fellow who may or may not have been a former member of the CIA.
Every night was like its own reality show.
The day I got sick started like any other. We woke with the sunrise. My husband’s goal was to beat the CIA guy to the honor bar before breakfast. They were on their second beer by the time I stumbled through the sand to get my awesome Mexican coffee. We were sitting in the sand when our NYC friends stopped by to tell us about their first snorkeling adventure. I guess that people from New York do not snorkel. The poor girl. She couldn’t get the concept of keeping the mouthpiece clenched between her teeth and spent the entire day squeezing her lips tightly around the mouthpiece, trying to keep the water out. Her mouth was so sore she could hardly talk.
Man. I always thought those snorkels were pretty self-explanatory.
I was really cold, considering how warm and tropical it was. I retreated to the tent-a-lapa to warm up under my covers. After trying to read Midwife (a very graphic novel about – duh- a midwife) I started to feel nauseous. I thought maybe it was the subject matter. Things progressed downhill quickly and I spend the next two days of our glorious trip with diarrhea, vomiting, a fever, and a strange welt that appeared on my shin. At one point I sent my lovely husband for some water. After almost 45 minutes he had not returned. I pulled my fevered ass from the bed and crawled out of the tent, only to find him chatting with the model. Great. She was leaning up against a palm tree, in her string bikini, hair blowing in the wind – looking quite ready for either a photo shoot or a make-out session with my husband.
Barf. That’s what my face said as my husband jovially trotted over to help me to the bathrooms.
Then my stomach said “barf” to my new friend the toilet.
To give my husband credit, once he got me back to the tent he did happen to find a naturopath also on vacation at the eco resort. Of course. She was a naturopath to a Tibetan lama (as in dali lama, not as in llama). Well, I guess that means she’s more than qualified to take the temperature of a wayward tourist in the middle of Mexico. She brought me water with a papaya seed in it. I was not to eat the papaya seed. I could barely drink the peppery concoction. My fever began to subside. I hit the honor bar with my husband first thing the next morning. He drank his Corona. I drank my PediaLite. Good times. Our gay friend was departing. He asked me to take a picture of him with his arm around my husband, so he could make his boyfriend back in San Fran jealous. Sure. Why not! The gay boy, the model, even the former CIA guy had all hung out more with my husband than I had. They had bonded with each other, over beers and sand. I had bonded with the toilet.
The next day we said farewell to our beach vacation, the naturopath, the (suspected) former CIA guy, the model (good fucking riddance), my papaya seed, and the inner lining of my lower intestine. I nervously noted that our plane had duct tape on the emergency exit. We bounced and shook in our makeshift airplane and somehow made in back to our home in the mountains of Colorado.
I was beginning to feel human again. Deciding that all I needed was some good mountain air, I headed out on a rather steep hike. After four different people stopped to ask me if I was okay, I realized I might not be. I didn’t remember seeing spots on this trail before. I was still so sick, and the change in altitude did not seem to be helping.
I headed to urgent care.
Fevers, welts, and nausea are not as pressing as, say, a gun shot wound. Ok. I get that. Finally I got back to a room and a nurse. She asked my symptoms, and like everyone esle who had asked, rolled her eyes and said, “Sounds like Montezuma’s Revenge.” yeah. Thanks. Hadn’t heard that before. And by the way, I don’t care! Just make me feel better. I was severely dehydrated (I’m sure my attempted hike helped that) and they pumped me full of two bags of fluids. After they pulled the needle from my arm, the nurse came back in.
She asked me if I could give them a fecal sample.
Oh goody. That sounds fun.
I haven’t had a full meal in over a week. WHAT IS GOING TO COME OUT OF ME?! A grain of sand? I took my cup into the bathroom with me. A cup. Have you ever tried to poop into a cup? Go ahead. Grab a dixie cup and give it a whirl.
After contorting my arm to fit under my butt, yet above the water in the bowl, standing in a squat, I pushed and pushed. My legs were shaking with the combination of my recent illness and the partial squat position. I tried harder.
I did it! It wasn’t much, but I did it! Pride filled my chest… until I looked into my plastic cup. There it was. The only food I had consumed in the last 24 hours was a few bites of a burrito. I had just expelled an entirely whole, undigested, corn kernel and a bean. I swear.
I have to give this to the nurse. I pulled up my pants, swallowed my pride, took a deep breath, stood tall, opened the door and presented my bean and corn fecal sample to the nurse. My face was burning. She took it and tried not to smile. I said, “Um. It’s not much. I’m not even sure if you can use it. I haven’t had much to eat lately. Oh. Besides beans and corn. Obviously.”
“Obviously,” she replied.
I left the urgent care, my head hung low, and waited for my antibiotic prescription to be filled. I dared to leave my bubble and that’s what I got. A supermodel hitting on my hubby, a gay man hitting on my hubby, and Montezuma’s Revenge.
I love beaches, but I have to admit that when I think of Mexico, all that comes to mind is a single bean and a piece of corn.