Q. What’s worse than being sick in a foreign country?
A. Being sick and alone and away from loved ones! (But I was never alone, having the community support system of the Cruisers’ Net and about 15 anchored boats within shouting distance).
I’ve been showing pictures of pristine natural seascapes and enjoying consistent 80 defree F. temperatures day after day. I’ve been “living (and writing about) the dream.” When I glorify a voyage such as this one it is easy to overlook the dark side.
Why haven’t you heard from me?
I’ve been sick with Montezuma’s Revenge for several days, and trying to hide it from you. After all it was not consistent with “living the dream”. It was in fact more like “living the nightmare.” First I was afraid I was going to die and then I was afraid I wasn’t! I tossed in bed, unable to do anything (including sleep) but sweat and agonize with stomach cramps, hallucinate and make hourly or more visits to the head. I’m so glad I’m been safely anchored here in the lagoon at Barra de Navidad and didn’t have to sail or worry about RD.
In all of this discomfort I began to notice something. Montezuma’s Revenge, more delicately known as “Traveler’s diarrhea”, is really not much different from the symptoms of sea sickness. The pain and discomfort are bearable, but it is not truly debilitating– it just seems that way — especially to the first-timer. It’s such a mental game. If you have to do something, you can force yourself. The real danger is that it takes away your ability to do a simple calculation or a sequence of tasks, your awareness to access and respond correctly, and your will to do or care about anything — not good qualities to lose while sailing.
If you’ve read this far, we are deeply into this subject. Want some advice on sea sickness prevention?. Don’t eat a heavy breakfast prior to going to sea. It tastes awful coming back up. Crackers and water are a better diet. I once got the following advice from an old salt: eat peaches. Why peaches? They taste about the same coming up as they do when going down.” Now are you completely grossed out?
Anyhow, I visited a local clinic, and got some meds and something equivalent to Gatorade, and I’m feeling much better today. Soon I’ll be returning to my former chipper self, rather than bemoaning my plight like some feverish, pitiful self-centered clod not worthy of being on the planet..
My friend Bernie suggested that my distress might have been caused by a contaminated Margarita… which I regard as an unspeakable thought! It might have been caused by a nightmare where I was reading a Garmin chart-plotter magenta line guiding me into the middle of an island (see previous blog). My stomach’s guess is it was caused by eating a hot dog cooked by a street vendor (probably not a good idea in Mexico).
To quote Satchmo: