Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Es Tu Satay?

Wednesday 29 June, 2006: Banda Aceh

Yesterday… was NOT a good day. It actually started off quite harmless. I had a pancake and some scrambled eggs. Ibu Murne, our housekeeper, had made some exquisite chicken satay the night before (this is sort of like a shish kabob of grilled meat that is dipped in a peanut sauce). I was just in a munching mood and had a piece from the fridge. At work, as usual, life was very hectic. I needed to get a money transfer from our finance officer in Jakarta to pay for some operations cost. Simone, my wife, called for a few minutes and I started realizing something was not right. My mom got on the phone and I would usually love to talk, but I just wanted to get off the phone but didn’t know why. I had to go to the bank and pick up a money transfer from Jakarta. As I started off to the bank… I started getting an uneasy almost queasy feeling. Twenty minutes into the ride I was sweating and feeling nauseous. My field officer, Dedy, was by my side. I looked at him and said… I gotta get out. We pulled off the road and I puked till I thought I could not puke anymore. It felt great… you know that feeling of peace after the retching is over!

Dedy wanted to go to the hospital. He’d never seen vomit such a bright yellow and was a bit worried, but I really needed to get the money from the bank. We decided to continue on. This time I got in the car on the right side… so incase I got sick I could get out of the car fast. Glad I did… two klicks down the road I was throwing up again. I was pretty sure this was a nasty case of botulism or salmonella. I had food-poisoning in Rome last year (Simone has a pic of me tossing cookies by the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps) and I recognized the symptoms. Dedy was great though. He kept massaging my neck as I was dry-heaving. We called our nurses at the office and they suggested to go home and take an anti-nauseal. We stopped at a pharmacist (where I threw up) and got some pills (and some plastic bags for the ride home). They told me to take one pill. I got took it with the water, got back in the car and five minutes later promptly threw it up into the bag. The pills weren’t cheap, but I wasn’t even considering recycling! Thus began the recurring theme for the next four hours. I got to know the texture, color, and taste of stomach bile quite well. But boy, our housekeeper was a true saint. She kept checking in on me, wiping my brow, cleaning me up. It was not fun, but she made it so much better than it could have been. Ibu Murne’s brownie points were already high and they just went through the roof!

But I’m all better now. I finally fell asleep in the early afternoon and slept for another four hours… my body needed the rest. My appetite has improved, but I haven’t touched satay since!


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