Disclaimer: I know stories of tummy trouble might be too much information for some folks, but if you can stay with me for a minute, I promise I’m going somewhere. I posted in January about being sick yet again, but was starting to feel like I was on the mend. How wrong I was! My stomach issues were up and down for a week, so I finally headed to the hospital and checked in like it was my own personal Holiday Inn. After two hospital stays last year for dysentery and gastritis, now I tend to err on the side of caution with stomach trouble. Luckily, this was another bout of gastritis. Dysentery would have meant three more days in the hospital for treatment. No fun! But dysentery does have that retro, Oregon Trail video game vibe to it, am I right? (That might be too obscure a reference if you didn’t grow up in the US in the 80’s.)
With gastritis I was able to head home, prescriptions in hand, to eat rice and bananas and more rice and bananas. I left knowing I was on the BRAT diet for the foreseeable future and wasn’t thrilled about it.
It’s hard to tell exactly what made me sick. I know it was a bacteria, but which specific food or drink did the dirty deed I’ll never know. My best guess is my New Year’s kick to take salads to work for lunch backfired drastically when I didn’t wash the greens as well as I should have. Tap water is at the top of my Things I Took for Granted in the US list, drinking it of course, but also being able to use it wash veggies. Growing up, on a hot summer day we’d drink straight from the garden hose without a second thought. As a child it never occurred to me that another way of life existed. When I actually researched potable tap water around the world I was a little ashamed about how naive I had been. Seeing the beige/unsafe water areas being vast majority of the globe was unsettling.
(It’s a long image but keep scrolling, there’s more below.)
One organization I found through my water googling was Charity: Water which brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. They had a great idea on their website to pledge your birthday, asking for friends and family to donate money for clean water in lieu of gifts. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m turning 36 so it’s not like I was expecting a pony. But regardless, I thought it was a nice way to celebrate my birthday (and achieving two months of hospital-free health!) with a good deed, so if you feel so inclined head over to Charity: Water and donate.
On another note, I hope that more people will be inspired to travel internationally because seeing this issue first hand has made all the difference to me. But I’ll save that soapbox for another day.