Unrelated: Salads in Jars and Brain-Eating Amoeba

Because I’m sick, I’ll provide a weekly wrap-up:

  • salads in a jar
  • brain-eating amoeba

In effort to feed myself more appropriately this week, I made a bunch of salads in jars. The purpose was to grab one in the morning and eat it for lunch while out and about. This, after almost killing myself by donut last week. Turns out, donuts act all nice to your face, but they (along with 5-minute-cake-in-a-mug, hundred calorie snacks when eaten in multiples of 3, chocolate cereal- because people who eat chocolate for breakfast are the same people who finish off the whole box at midnight, cheese, and almost every type of bread) don’t actually care about you. Salad cares about you.

Here is my salad-in-a-jar review: The salad was good all 4 days. Days 2 & 3 were best, and nothing ever got soggy. By day 4, I was tired of salad. I don’t recommend eating the salad directly out of the jar, because you will end up with quinoa all over your coat. Also, your grandma might say you won’t find a husband because your salad bites will be humungous, with no space to cut the leaves.  I recommend pouring the jar into a bowl to eat. Also, don’t stuff the jars full. I had to eat half the spinach before I could shake the jars. But if you leave room at the top, everything shakes together perfectly. I would not make the exact same salad every day. Boring. Next time I will alternate types of salads. And that concludes my salad-in-a-jar-review.

Bonus info: Next time on Tuesday, I won’t supplement the salad with a bunch of other high-calorie snacks before and after, like English muffin and yogurt and scoops of peanut butter and cake-in-a-mug and cosmopolitans. (What? It was paperwork day). All those other things defeat the purpose. My conclusion: salads in a jar work if I am driving and there is nothing else within reach. Although that exact circumstance makes eating salad out of a jar difficult…

The unfortunate byproduct of salad-in-a-jar is that you will be tempted to buy a dozen mason jars and find yourself stuffing all kinds of crap into jars, then pinning them to your pinterest boards. Like oatmeal and Muesli. Or fruit. Or pre-made easy cake mix. Self: just because something was made in a jar, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

#fudgemoussepuddingwithchocolategrahamcrackercrustinajar? Nope.

___

I am sick, and I am confused. Today I sound like a man, and my coworkers collectively canceled my sessions and sent me home after sequestering me in a tiny corner of the room during a meeting. I have tried every combination of allergy medication, alka-seltzer, over-the-counter cold & sinus meds, saline spray, nasal spray, expectorant, and finally, the neti pot. I remembered after I used the neti pot this afternoon, there were reports of death by brain-eating amoeba last month in Louisiana after neti pot use- as if warm salty liquid going in one nostril and out the other isn’t bad enough. I’m not sure if death by brain-eating amoeba is better or worse than death by donut. So I put the mix in a jar first, just to be sure, and pinned it to my board. I think that makes it trendy, quick and healthy, yes?

MD appointment tomorrow to get to the bottom of this mess.

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Parasite, I think we should just be friends.

Yesterday morning, after dreaming I was in Indianapolis, I woke up in Belize and wondered who I was and what I did with myself.

And then it happened (it was bound to): I cried.
I cried in bed.
I cried while I was getting ready.
I cried all the way to school.

Europe felt like a dream—I had to look at the blog to see that it was really me.
My friends felt imaginary—I had to text to make sure they still existed.
I wanted a hug from my dad.
I wanted to understand one entire, full conversation.
I wanted to digest food.

I’d been sick since Friday and “caught a pain” every time I ate.
(I had only eaten one cucumber and one tomato all day Saturday, which is the day I hiked Xunantunich.)
One old lady said it was air.
Another lady said I don’t eat in time.
Another lady said I don’t eat enough.

They gave me boiled garlic.
They gave me lime water.
They gave me Pepto.
On Sunday night, when nothing worked and I turned down CAKE, Alice said it was amoebas.

Antonia said, “Come Brooke, right now,” and she hitched us a ride to Cayo on Monday morning.

We went to the Post Office and, incidentally, paid 95 cents for a package that came regular express mail—got here in 3 weeks, and had a blanket, crackers, PB & chocolate: perfect. (Thanks, Denise ☺)

Then we went to the lab.
They took two blood tests and asked for a stool sample.
I cannot produce stool on demand.
(Not even explosively)
They told me blood results would be ready at 2pm and would tell whether or not I had a bacterial infection. It would also rule out salmonella.
The stool sample was most important, the man said. It would confirm and diagnose the right treatment for the right amoeba. He gave me a little container and told me come back at 2.

Poor Antonia.
We ate huge burritos and walked around for 2 hours trying to provoke the problem I’d been trying to avoid for 4 days. I had 3 false attempts and sent out a mass text asking for prayer that God would supernaturally “move” me (which is ironic, since all weekend I was begging God to stop “moving” me—or to at least stop “moving” me in public places). But nothing.

I had given up all hope and started to feel crazy, like I’d made the entire illness up, and decided I probably didn’t have amoebas anyway…

When lo and behold, in the computer lab, I moved.
Antonia stood up in suspense, so did the lab worker and the 3 other people checking their email—and I gave a victorious thumbs up.
It was 2:15.

“Right now, Brooke,” she said. We gathered our things and went straight to the lab.
I handed over my sample proudly (and all but bowed and curtsied), then waited 15 minutes for the results.

Results:
2 Amoeba (parasites)
1 E. Coli
1 blood infection

We took the lab results, thanked the man, and headed for the doctor—an internist Antonia’s sister works for. First, though, we stopped at the furniture store to pay a bill. It wasn’t until we were leaving that I realized we paid an electric bill, and that the electric office was in the back of the furniture store…

The doctor looked at the lab tests, stuck a thermometer in my armpit, and conducted a physical-like exam. He answered all my questions and gave me 3 antibiotics: two for the amoeba, one for the blood infection.

We paid about $200 BZ (which is about $100 US) for the blood tests, stool samples, Dr. visit and antibiotics.

Sidenote: Antonia’s father told me that the water filtration/cleansing machine broke recently, and, No, they do not have little scrolling “boil water advisories” at the bottoms of the TV screens here. You either know those things or you don’t. We don’t drink the water, but all of us bathe in it, and I definitely brush my teeth with it.

My issue (we think) has more to do with no refrigerator and eating food that has been sitting out but not reheated. Its too hot for that. Bacteria grows. We tried to explain the bacteria to Ms. Ida, but she doesn’t believe me. She thinks my stomach is just allergic to cold things. She insists that I shouldn’t drink cold water or sprite. Only coffee.

Bottom line: Ms. Ida does not have a refrigerator, and we just don’t waste food, you know? Bottomer line: there is no hand soap to be found among the kids. I don’t prepare my own food, and I play with the kids all the time.

*Interesting insight, an email from a friend said: “Pray that God uses this to help you understand what people in different places go through, and that maybe others don’t always have the means to take care of it like you do, or as quickly.”

When I got home, I called Hillside (a clinic in PG with doctors CFI knows and trusts) and double-checked everything with Patricia. She said they are taking good care of me and that she would have prescribed the exact same meds. She told me to boil my water bottle and toothbrush, and then echoed everything the Dr. said. She told me I’d be feeling better in a few days, fully recovered in about 2 weeks.

Then she invited me down to PG for a weekend in March!

I took the meds, slept all night, washed my sheets this morning and have enjoyed a nice relaxing day in front of the fan with my trusty little MacBook and gmail chat. Thanks for the concern, and for chatting with me today, friends!

In the meantime, I have decided to name the parasites Samantha and Jon, after our first cats. They died.

Pray for a quick evacuation of all things buggy. Also, I couldn’t help but remember the Kirsty Alley episode where they tell her to go to a developing country and get a parasite to “reduce” and I laughed about it all day. Funny. I’m definitely reduced.

Week four, look out! You’re almost over.

(In all seriousness, your e-mails and comments and phone calls mean a lot. I have been really homesick this week. Thank you.)