The last few days have been pretty tough.
I spent my weekend doing two things: being sick and sleeping.
It turned out something I ate Friday night did not agree with my stomach. And I don’t mean it just had a little disagreement. I mean it fought with my stomach like the Democrats and Republicans back home trying to come up with a solution to the United States debt crisis.
I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick in my entire life. I didn’t sleep much Friday night because I felt so sick and had to run to the bathroom about every 20 minutes. Fortunately, since Friday it seems like all I’ve done is sleep.
On Saturday I spent about 19 hours (about 80 percent of the day!) asleep. On Sunday I was awake a little bit more, but not by much. By Monday I had to get up at 8 a.m. to get ready to go to work, so I was home and asleep by four in the afternoon.
I woke up at eight in the evening to say hello to my friends and see how their days went, and then about two hours later I was asleep again for the night.
The culprit of this sickness is a simple bread and beans sandwich. At least I think that’s what it is. I ate one Friday night and hours later I was in the fetal position on my bed. The weird thing is I’ve eaten at the stand where I purchased the sandwich several times, and never gotten sick.
Well, that streak’s over. It may be a while before I go back to that particular stand.
Thankfully, I have an incredible group of friends that helped nurse me back to health. Friday night they got me home and tucked into bed and have visited me regularly since to make sure I was still okay (or maybe checking to make sure I was still alive).
For a while, if I stood up for about 15 seconds, I became tired and needed to sit down. I’m a lot better off now. I can stand up for a full 10 minutes before I get an overwhelming desire to rest.
Even now I’m still not quite back to 100 per cent health wise. I’d say we’re at about 89 per cent. I still have a sore throat (which isn’t that surprising because it took a lot of abuse Friday night) which makes eating difficult and not that much fun.
As a result, I’m usually pretty tired and weak. By the time I get home from work all I want to do is sleep. It’s 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday right now as I write this and I’m already eager to take a nap, even though I just woke up four hours ago.
I thought that when I got sick during the first week of my trip that was as bad as it would get. Boy was I wrong. I know that I have to be careful about what I eat and drink and I feel like I have been. I’ve gone to places that have been verified by others as hygienic and healthy. It had all been going so well!
Friday night eliminated my absolute confidence in my stomach’s ability to adapt to the food here. I had been eating and enjoying everything, and began to feel invincible. I think I have a strong stomach so I was apprehensive, but not too worried about adapting to food here.
Perhaps I should have been.
Or maybe I’m just thinking too much about this one incident and letting it affect me too much. Forgive me if that’s the case, but I’ve had a lot of time laying around in bed to think about it.
I thought about a lot of things while lying around. I analyzed the amount of clean socks that I have remaining for the week (approximately enough to get through Wednesday). I finally remembered the pillow I brought from home, which I’m still convinced, is why I slept most of Saturday away. Most of all, I tried to remember a time when I wasn’t at war with my stomach.
A weekend in bed also gave me time to catch up with my journal. Looking back over last weekend’s entry, it’s apparent I was not in a good mood while writing. My favorite sentence that I wrote is: “I don’t think I’ve smiled in 24 hours.” That makes me smile now.
The important thing is I got through it. I made it through the woods (taking several long naps along the way) and into the clear…almost.
Then I called my mother.
I told her about how sick I got, and how while I was stuck in bed all weekend I got a little homesick for the first time. I missed being sick in my own, familiar bed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to get up and leave Sierra Leone anytime soon, but when you’re unable to hear your music over the gurgling of your stomach, it makes you miss home a little bit.
After I told her that, I swear she sounded a little happy. It took me quite a while to get homesick, and I think my mom was worried it might never happen. Even if it occurred because of illness, I think it was nice for her to hear that I missed home.
My mom then went on Facebook and alerted the world that I had “intestinal issues,” prompting many Facebook messages, e-mails and even a phone call from one of my best friends who’s working in Cambodia through the same program that sent me here to Freetown.
I’ve since assured everyone that I’m okay, and very soon I will be as good as new. I’m back to being hyper-careful about what I eat, and will do my best to make sure I remain healthy and happy during my time in Salone.
Now I think it’s time to take another nap.