Monday, April 28, 2008

What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

Gosh. We are counting on that phrase to be true. Amazingly we have traveled many places, to foreign lands, and even third world countries yet we ended up becoming the sickest when visiting the modern amenities of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Yep! That was no fun! Despite the fact that we are not drug users, smokers, stoners, or hard core partiers, we spent hours with vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. I became so weak from dehydration that I collapsed on the bathroom floor and awoke a few minutes later with a t-shirt soaked from vomiting on myself the only water left in my stomach. Helpless, I lied there exhausted like a drug addict dying of an overdose.

I could not stand up without becoming faint and having a weakness spell. It felt best just to lie on the floor between the bed and the bathroom. Fortunately the floor in the hotel room was carpeted and relatively new so it provided some source of cushioning and warmth.

One more time I tried to hold down a cup of water in an attempt to alleviate the painful dehydration headache and relieve the cramping of my calf muscles and building stiffness and soreness in the rest of my body. As the fluid violently shot back out of me into the pail next to my makeshift bed on the floor, I felt desperation. I pleaded with Harley to call a doctor and the department of health to get some help. For the first time in my life I begged to go to the hospital and get an IV (this is pretty major as I hate needles and my veins are very hard to find).

As Harley was on the phone with the department of health officials, my mother-in-law came into the room to pray for me. I was in no condition to get up and make it out of the hotel to the hospital across the street. Paramedics would have needed to come to retrieve me and give me an IV. Yet, after my mother-in-law had touched my arm and said a prayer for me (and my own prayers too), I felt a sense of calm come over me. It was sort of a pause (like time standing still).

When I came back to the reality of real time, I remembered the bad experience of throwing up violently and not holding anything down when I awoke from surgery. Although they gave me an IV after my surgery to keep me hydrated I was terribly parched from over 24 hours with no fluids ingested and having an air tube stuck down my throat for about 6 hours. When ICU felt I was going to be okay, they gave me ice chips to quench my thirst and dry mouth. Recalling this experience, it finally dawned on me to try the ice chips as a last resort before going to the hospital for an IV.

Ah! Our prayers were answered! The ice chips worked and I continued to suck on them the rest of the day and began to feel better. After the last incident of throwing up the water, the vomiting and diarrhea subsided. I lied in bed the rest of the day and built up enough strength to hold down a Gatorade and later eat a banana.

My stomach still feeling queasy and my body purely exhausted, I lied in bed the next day too and went out to look at stuff for 4 hours in the evening.

Seeing Harley was able to eat pizza 2 days after the onset of his bout of food poisoning, I thought I would be okay. Therefore, totally starving I ate some left over pizza and later had a yogurt and chicken fajita mix I made over a bed of fresh spinach. Although it was not super spicy, the Mexican food just did not seem to sit well with me. At 4 am my stomach was in excruciating pain again and it felt like the bacteria in my gut were waging a war against one another.

I chewed the Pepto Bismo tablets in our travel packs and downed some Maalox that I bought for Harley the day of his food poisoning attack. I was hoping the remedies would create a sense of peace and calm but instead the war raged on getting more intense as time passed by. I was getting no sleep at all and by 6 am I longed to throw up in order to get relief from the nauseating pain.

I got up to go to the bathroom and the diarrhea started all over! Fortunately I was not throwing up into the trash at the same time again. When I returned to the bed the movement and pain was too intense causing me to hurl all the contents of the previous night's meal into the puke pail. My last day in Vegas and I was still sick and my flight did not leave until late that evening! Harley called the front desk and the hotel was gracious to overlook the 11 am checkout time and give us a smaller room for me to recover in until we needed to leave for the airport.

The food poisoning was very early in our trip (we narrowed it down to the dinner we had at the Tamba Indian restaurant late Tuesday evening). Harley was supposed to attend the conference Wednesday and Thursday but he woke up early Wednesday morning with vomiting and diarrhea. Weakened from the physical taxation on his body, he had to spend Thursday in bed recovering.

Since I did not get sick immediately as Harley had, I thought it must have either been something he ate earlier in the day or a different dish than I had. I had not eaten all of my dinner so I had the rest later the next day and then the remaining rice on Thursday. Friday morning at 4 am I had my food poisoning attack so we are pretty certain the source was the food from the restaurant we ate at on Tuesday night.

Fortunately we got sick at separate times so we were able to spend some time with his mom who met us there. I am disappointed though that we did not get to go outside of Vegas and see Red Rock Canyon and the fantastic geological topography of the Valley of Fire state park north of the Mojave desert. We had planned to go on Friday but that was the day I got sick and I could not even think of leaving the bedroom even!

When I picked up a gastrointestinal bacteria in Mexico and had a fever of 104 degrees, I was still able to take some medicine and visit the ruins outside Mexico City. No chance of that happening with this one. Harley said it is the sickest he has even been (that is included with a bad pneumonia infection during basic training in the Army and Traveler's diarrhea in central America). I have been through a lot (mononucleosis, cancer, traveler's diarrhea, a gastrointestinal bacteria infection, brain swelling, steroid withdrawal, and severe vomiting due to reactions from Vicodin, Tegretol, and anesthesia following my surgery). Yet, I had to agree that this was one of the worst. The duration may have been shorter but the symptoms were pretty severe and scary.

My stomach is still sore like someone punched me in the gut hard and I am feeling kind of weak. Therefore, I am taking it easy as I don't want it to start back up again like it did yesterday. I am really hungry. I had to drink another Gatorade yesterday and later I had an uncooked english muffin and half of a turkey ciabata sandwich. I have to eat bland stuff, stay away from spicy things, and avoid dairy. The fridge is bare as I need to go grocery shopping. Luckily I had some pancake mix left and some strawberry banana V8 juice. The pancakes were phenomenal! I was so hungry. Hopefully this will be the last day and I will be feeling more normal tomorrow. In any case, it is nice to be home. Let's hope "what happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas".


Kathy said...

Holy YIKES!!! How yucky to have felt like that during what was supposed to be a funtastic vacation. I'm glad you are feeling a wee bit better. Yes, keep it bland. Have you ever been on the BRAT diet? Bananas, rice (plain), apples & toast (dry). I was on that for some time when my IBS acted up & when my MM sends me to spinny, pukey, poopy land I eat those foods just to keep something down. Feel oodles better =)

Anonymous said...

Hey girl, its me Angel. So sorry about your bout with the food nasties. Hope you guys are ok now.