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Adventures in possible E.coli poisoning

sickness e. coli personal experience

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#1 sthira

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 02:28 AM

I can't say with certainty that I was poisoned on Tuesday. But here in the US, the CDC is advising consumers to not eat romaine lettuce.

"Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick," CDC advises on its site.

But I didn't know any of this when I splurged salad-up at the feed trough in my local Whole Foods: several cups of romaine, spinach, kale, chard, and an assortment of vegan-pure raw organic vegetables all piled into one recyclable cardboard box.

I ate with a plastic fork; I chewed carefully and with mindful attention to gratitude, its thanksgiving season here.

Then I went walking. Along some city trails into the bright leafy color of dying fall, and I stopped at a friendly coffee shop, I ordered some organic decaf from Peru, and the barista told me hey you're in luck, this coffee has been sitting here for a few hours: "It's old, just take it for free, it's on me," she said, "Happy Thanksgiving."

Delighted I kept walking, now sipping, now walking, but affer the first few swallows of that coffee something wasn't right. I felt a sudden pinge. A tightness in the pit of stomach. Like a consolidated darkness. Bad coffee, I thought, and so I tossed it, I kept walking, a city path that's heavily used by dog lovers and hand holders and cyclists and the American homeless numbers are building here in the bushes beside the trails.

And as I walked, my steps grew heavier, I felt my body working harder, I usually feel very light, but now my stomach gripped, and this grip gradually intensified, I walked maybe a mile, but my head felt wrong, and my heart, but I'm often a cry baby and a drama queen when it comes to sudden physical intensities, so I kept walking, talking to my gut now, walking, until my stomach kept telling me no, my stomach kept saying stop, and then my saliva loosened, my saliva thinned, that tell tale sign before we puke, and then suddenly I spewed without control.

Embarrassingly, in a public space, and beside a mural of a smiling girl on a bike, I lost control of my bladder.

So I staggered into the bushes, I must hide now, I thought, in sudden panic, this is about to get real, and my body fell and I curled into a tight ball. I shivered. I tried to void but I couldn't, just burps and dry heaves, which helped, and my breathing was shallow. I felt intense pain in my lower abdomen, so I stayed like that, curled up in the bushes, beside the public city trail, and I don't know how long I was there, maybe an hour or two? Maybe I blacked out? I think I did, actually.

Leave me here in the bushes to die, you ugly world, I don't care, and so there in the bushes I shit myself, a steady stream of diarrhea into my clothes, no shame, just relief, maybe I'll feel better, I reasoned, and when the diarrhea stopped, I didn't feel any better at all. So I curled tighter and prepared to spend the night in the cold, I breathed, breaths one by one, and my mind narrowed into this point between my eyes, the third eye,and I didn't care, I'm often depressed anyway, I meditate daily, life is suffering the Buddha said, and I've travelled in desperate countries, I've seen starving children, and dead dogs in trashed streets, because anyone who travels far in, say Bangladesh, sees intimately the public suffering, so much terribleness, and so I curled there on the trail here in the good ole US of A, now sick to my stomach, and I breathed, and my perception narrowed, and I'm not afraid of dying, death will be ok, endless nothingness, we won't know anything, it'll be as if we never existed at all, and I thought, this is it, and I'm ready, this is my time, and I'm ready, the pain will be gone, and I thought about sister, my grandmother, both recently died, and I think I'll just die, too, here in the bushes, and it'll be private for me and reasonably ok.

See what a fucking drama queen I am?

But I didn't die, and then day turned to night, I got cold and my body shook, and I puked twice more, the shit on my clothes dried, and eventually I walked out of the bushes, back onto the trail, mercifully emptied of people now, darkness is so sweet, and step by step I straggled back to my little apartment.

I fell into bed, I puked a few more times, I shit out some more diarrhea, and finally fell into more sweet darkness.

When I awoke in the morning after a deep dreamless sleep my little black cat was curled up next to me, drooling she was, like normal, and I was still wearing my shoes, and my coat, my hat from last night, and this phone was still tight in my left hand.

And I felt wonderful: no sign of anything wrong. I felt empty and cleaned-out and peaceful. As if I'm fasting. I ate some Trader Joe's frozen cherries, I drank some warm chamomile tea, and then I headed back out into the cold blue day where the air crisp.

So I've no idea if I contracted E. coli or not. But something happened. And I'm proud of my body. I'm proud my body voided something straight right out of me, and now it's allowing me to use my fingers and eyes and mind to string these words together to share with you about my possible E. coli trip.

Namaste, brothers and sisters, I reported my drama to the city health department, but meanwhile, to you I say do not eat the romaine lettuce in America for awhile:


"CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the outbreak. This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.

* Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

* This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.

* If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

* Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.

* Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

* Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:

* Talk to your healthcare provider.

* Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.

* Report your illness to the health department.

* Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.

Advice to Clinicians

* Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with E. coli O157 infections. Antibiotics are also not recommended for patients in whom E.coli O157 infection is suspected, until diagnostic testing rules out this infection.

* Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli O157 infections might increase their risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure), and the benefit of antibiotic treatment has not been clearly demonstrated."
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