So you wanna go to Mexico?
Here’s a couple of words of warning that I’m sure are no stranger to you after the ton of research you’ve no doubt done by now:
1) DO NOT drink the water.
2) BE VERY CAREFUL with street food. Look at how/where it’s being cooked and use your own sensible judgement.
And, most importantly,
3) DO NOT ASSUME THAT AFTER LIVING IN MEXICO FOR SOME TIME, RULES #1 AND 2 DON’T APPLY TO YOU.
Or you could end up in my position.
After ten and a half months of Mexican life, it’s fair to say that I’ve probably thrown up and rushed to the bathroom more times in my life than you’ve had hot dinners. In fact, I think the only other time my vomiting was so regular was when I was 3 weeks old and suffering from Pyloric Stenosis.
It all started back in December when I got my first ever bout of food poisoning from a badly-made Christmas dinner. I could barely move, suffered through it for a good week or two, but then recovered without ever going to the doctor. I just did what any normal person would do and rode it out until everything I’d ever consumed (and about 10 pounds) was out of my system.
Then back in March I got my second case of food poisoning. This was less severe but I handled it the same way I did over Christmas. Just rode it out for the weekend and stumbled into work on Monday morning.
Since then I’ve had variations of the March incident on and off. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night/early hours of the morning, clutching my stomach and stumble to the bathroom. (I know, right? How am I still single?) My days will then be filled with more vomiting and bouts of weakness and dizziness. After a day or two, I’ll be fine again. For the last six months this has been happening every three weeks or so, and it wasn’t until I nearly passed out and hit my head on the toilet yesterday that I figured it was probably time to see a doctor.
This genuinely wasn’t an easy decision to make. Like the other Brit expats here, I don’t like paying for my healthcare no matter how “cheap” it is. (You know what’s cheaper? FREE healthcare!) But I didn’t want to take the chance that my sickness was being caused by any of the things on Google, so off I went to see a doctor in the hospital close to me.
And the thing about Mexican doctors, walking around in their white coats, stethoscope around their necks, Nike-clad feet? They’re all beautiful. So beautiful I almost wanted to throw myself in front of the traffic outside so my hospital stay could be extended to more than a few hours.
But I didn’t. I behaved. I may have been a little too weak to throw myself anywhere.
And my diagnosis? I have some sort of bacteria or parasite in my stomach that keeps getting aggravated, and because I’ve chosen to ignore it for so long, it’s been making a nice little home in there and flaring up at regular intervals.
Not to worry though. I’ve been prescribed a four week course of antibiotics (Woah! What? No drinking?) which should lead me back to perfect health in no time.
The root cause of this? He couldn’t say exactly.
But he did say it was likely caused by bad street food (unlikely given that I never eat street food) or heavy consumption of the tap water here (um, oops).
In the meantime I’m letting my stomach take it easy by feeding it all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies and laying off junk and pre-packaged crap.
And as my parasite has been a complete douchebag that keeps sticking around no matter how unwanted it is, it’s only fitting that I named it Kirk after this one: