The fruits and vegetables look quite clean and fresh at the grocery stores on my street, but in China, you really never know what might be growing inside them or how contaminated they may be. No matter how Chinese I feel at times, no matter how much I want to embrace the local lifestyle, my stomach is never going to get used to China water or the raw fruits and veggies at local fruit stands.
It is impossible to pinpoint what exactly gave me the worst food poisoning (parasite) I could have ever imagined. It could have been the raw veggies, fruits, or contaminated water I brush my teeth with. Whatever it was, I have learned that I need to be especially careful. I will hold off on my salads and berries until I come home. While living in China, I am going to stick with cooked vegetables, fruit with a thick skin that I peel myself (or imported frozen berries), grains, tofu and nuts. I am still going to stick to my vegan lifestyle, but I know I need to make some modifications. As for the water, luckily we get water coolers delivered to our door once a week. I am not going to take any more risks!
The past few days were easily the most miserable few days I have ever experienced. I got so dehydrated that I was hallucinating and telling the doctors that I wanted to “ride on stingrays at work”. However, my amazing friends, colleagues and students helped me recover quickly and provided me with unbelievable support and love.
I do not know what I would have done without my friend Jeanne. She came with me to the hospital and waited with me for 9 hours while I saw doctors and got an IV. She did not complain once and just used her time to study Chinese and grade papers. She stayed with me through the night and cleaned up my vomit. She went to stores to find me plain cracks and Gatorade. She doesn’t want me to have to think about which of the 12 medicines I need to take when, so she comes to my apartment three times per day and delivers me my measured-out dosage of medicine in a cup (see below). When she is busy, she even has her boyfriend deliver my medicine! Now that is a true friend.
Today I am feeling much much better! I even had enough energy to mop my apartment and do laundry – that’s a sign I am getting back to feeling myself. Thank you to Jeanne and Shanghai Parkway Health Hospital, I am undergoing a speedy recovery! I am very glad I listened to my father and went to an international hospital. Although it was quite expensive, the doctors were very well-informed and provided me with undivided attention and immediate service. There were several other international patients (mostly French), which was a good sign. The doctors put me on effective modern medicine (see below for my stack of medicine) – I do not think the traditional Chinese medicine would have been quite as effective in this case…Who knows, the traditional Chinese medicine I wrote about in my last post may have even led to my food poisoning in the first place! From now on, if I don’t know what it is, I am staying far away from it.
Well, I just wanted to let you all know that I am feeling much stronger and taking very good care of myself. I am letting myself rest up and will not resume marathon training until the end of next week. I returned to work today to proctor a midterm and was tackled to the floor by excited 6 year-olds. They missed me so much, my co-teacher said many of them came to school crying the past two days saying “where’s Ms. Hesse?!” They left a pile of “feel better” cards in my apartment, which I thought I would share with you. They put a big smile on my face.
Love you all! XO