{30.6.14} Digestive Journey + Sneak Peek

Wow, it’s been a while. Sorry for not updating for so long. You’ll learn why shortly. I guess it’s been a week, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Last post was about finally finding a footing. Well, as soon as I had a footing, it seems, the footing was yanked right out from under me (although I did have some hand in it, I suppose). I’ll give you a brief overview of the happenin’s and hopefully there will be room for some of my miscellaneous crazy quilt don’t fit together thoughts on whatever I’ve come across here. 
Part 1: A Digestive Journey — the following is very vaguely graphic… be forewarned
Last Tuesday was a normal teaching day, as was Wednesday, when we had our “Clase” (extra class Laura and I taught on Monday, too, for more motivated English learners). In the middle of class, unthinkingly, I bought a little Mexican quesadilla thing with beans…. and cheese and crema. Bad Idea Number 1. Let your imagination run wild. Went for a run that afternoon at Entre Pinos (the hotel that Danny and Laura and I walked around in the week before) in which I walked up the hills, pretty unheard of for me. I chalked it up to the hills, though, and didn’t think much of it. Thursday morning felt not great, but went to school, to retreat to Juan Miguel’s house after 2 classes because I wasn’t feeling up to it. After napping a lot of the day away, I felt some better. Friday I was alright, and pretty much over it, so went to school and taught the Clase again. To make a long story short, on Saturday we went to La Palma (cutesy touristy town 4 km away that has lots of artesanía) and ate Pollo Campero, aka 2000 calories a pop of very fried fatty chicken, fries and cake saturated in condensed milk, and on Sunday morning I threw up 4 times. What followed was an incredible experience. 
I went up to the breakfast table to report on #4, and a visiting pastor who was staying with the family for the weekend asked if I was ‘empachado’. I had no idea what that mean, but Danny tapped my stomach, which sounded hollow, and said yeah, for sure. They made all these signals for me to rub my stomach, which I didn’t really understand, and asked if I wanted them to do it. Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I agreed, mostly because everyone else seemed so eager for me to say yes. I didn’t figure it could do much good, seeing as my digestive system was at this point probably clean enough for a colonoscopy. The pastor started by rubbing my wrists, which hurt a lot, actually, and when I said that, it confirmed to him that I had an infection. After a wrist and hand massage, he massaged my stomach, pressing down fairly hard and then pulling downwards, sometimes from the side and sometimes from the middle right under my sternum. Everyone in the room could hear the squelching that followed, and by that time, the crowd was formidable, as my digestive mishaps had become as much of a spectator sport as Brazil v Chile in the world cup. Turned out my issue was that I had a blockage in the ol’ intestines that had to be pushed out, and the blockage had gotten infected, causing the pain, discomfort and attempts by my body to get rid of all Food Particulate Matter In the Body. 
During the procedure, everyone present recounted their own encounters with this phenomenon. Apparently Danny learned the massage technique with baby Raulito, and the pastor had done it to himself due to delicate digestion and heavy Salvadoran food in the past. Afterwards, I tried going to church (the lack of a constant desire to throw up which had plagued me since 5 that morning was enough to convince me I was good as new) where I lasted all of 10 minutes before hobbling over to Juan MIguel’s house to nap. I finally awoke at about 2 in the afternoon to a fever and about 7 people looking down at me worriedly, and was carted off in good hands donde Danny and Lucy. There I alternately slept and drank coconut water (basically a better-tasting equivalent to ORT, I think, which I also made for myself this morning) and slept for a total of 11 hours before waking up, no longer ghostly pale, and much better off in the intestines. I’m still not 100%, yet, and I think I’m doomed to pretty much a baby diet for the next few days (much sugar, much blender), but I have learned some things:
  • do NOT, under any circumstances, ever, eat unpasturized dairy products or rue the day
  • learn to love traveling ministers from Honduras, they may save you a trip to the hospital and a 7th trip to the bathroom in many fewer hours
  • intestinal massage is amazing 
  • if your wrists hurt, intestinal massage will probably be more amazing
  • descanso, is, like, the best thing ever, muy chevere y que chivo este
Ok, that’s enough for one post. Coming up will be some thoughts on hygiene vs upkeep, sexual harassment, wakes (as in, before the funeral) and my Salvadoran Lover. Stay tuned!

The whiteness of my stomach only to be rivaled by the paleness of my face


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5 Comments Add yours

  1. I could say something parental about this, reminding you of our conversation BEFORE you went to El Salvador, but you've no doubt already recalled that; and I'm just very happy that you were afforded an alternative to hospitalization (unlike “pobrecita Isabela”)! Please take care so that you can write more. 😉

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  2. I'm just so glad you aren't the worrying type of mommy.

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  3. haha… yeah, they keep on referring to you here. like “yeah, pobrecita Isabel! En la hospital!” so I feel downright lucky it wasn't worse!

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  4. oh no!!! unpasteurized cheese will be the death of all of us gringas.

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  5. Kat says:

    Oh dear — I'm so sorry! I will resist the urge to share my own stories, and the various remedies proposed by our neighbors in Chillan. Take good care!

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