Saturday, July 14, 2007

A very special souvenir

Well, I'm back in the USA, but Nicaragua wasn't going to let go that easily. Yep, it's every developing country traveler's favorite intestinal bug - Giardia lamblia! Giardia is a cuddly little critter that likes to show its affection via fever, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and general can't-leave-the-bed-all-day full-body exhaustion. Do try never to get the stuff.*

The treatment for Giardia is arguably just as bad as the disease. The experience of taking Flagyl, aka Metronidazole, aka Something Scraped from the Bowels of the Guardians of Hell, is like being alternately kicked in the brain and the gut, a weird, woozy, free-floating nausea that percolates up to the brain and evokes thoughts of psychiatric med withdrawal.

Erica's Happy Morning Anti-Nausea Shopping List:

Reed's Ginger Brew
Ginger tea
Probiotic capsules
Probiotic goop in dairy culture
Papaya (Since it was Whole Foods, of course, I couldn't just buy a plain ol' papaya. Instead I got a sort of decorative papaya centerpiece, filled with raspberries and limes and presented for my viewing enjoyment. Very elegant.)

Celebrate your healthy digestive tract today! Go, Lactobactillus sp., go!

*No, I couldn't possibly tell you which of the many nasty "food" or water products I consumed in Nicaragua gave me giardia. One particular morning in Leon, however, shines in my memory. We had to be at the office at 7:30; my hotel didn't start serving breakfast until then. The only place in Leon where you can eat before 7:30 is the outdoor market, which is every bit as unappealing as you might imagine, sanitation-wise. I watched the lady behind the food stall stir instant coffee crystals into some boiled milk with a skin on it that she'd ladled out of a big pot, swatted the circling flies away, nibbled on my stale slice of poundcake that for some reason tasted vaguely of garlic, and thought, "I can't believe I'm about to drink this."

And then I did.

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