It is only natural that the day after I published my post on how healthy I’ve been feeling as of late while here on the beaches of Goa, I would be stricken with an illness. And what an illness I’ve ended up with.
My face is swollen and red, there’s a rash on my arms, my legs and even in my ears. And if I were to list all of my body parts that have been affected and that have been itchier than the itchiest chickenpox, it would be one long list, not to mention quite inappropriate for a travel blog. Yes, that’s right.
The culprit appears to be seafood poisoning as all of my symptoms began only thirty minutes after eating a questionable fish curry a couple of nights ago. Actually, the fish curry looked fine but it was the restaurant that looked questionable.
Despite a strong dose of anti-histamine that I received from a pharmacist and despite a visit to the local government hospital (which was quite a nice hospital I must say and which charges only 300 Rupees / $6 USD for a visit) where the knowledgeable doctor confirmed the medicine I had was the best option, the swelling, rashes and itchiness have remained, although there has finally been a slight sign of improvement this evening.
But this morning, it was an entirely different story.
I woke up, washed off the zinc oxide soothing ointment that I plaster on my face every night in order for me to enjoy a semi-itchy-free sleep and then I went out to the beach. Thirty minutes later I felt tired and so I returned to my hut and laid down on my bed.
And it all went downhill from there. I only remember a little from the following couple of hours but according to my friend, who has had the most unfortunate job of taking care of me, I was in a most delirious state. I passed in and out of sleep, often times waking up in an instant, muttering some nonsense and then closing my eyes immediately after. My words were jumbled, I couldn’t focus on any one location for more than a second and I wasn’t comprehending much of what she was saying to me. Using my own strength to sit up was impossible and I would alternate between very quick and extremely slow breathing.
After about an hour of this, my friend finally managed to get me to stand up and while she wanted to take me straight to the hospital again, I used my ridiculous stubbornness to convince her that I should eat some lunch and see how I felt after that.
And then, on the way to the restaurant in front of my beach hut, I nearly walked into a tree. I didn’t even see it and again, according to my friend, I could barely walk in a straight line at all.
Anyway, I sat down, ordered a tomato soup and within minutes of taking my first spoonful, I thankfully started to feel a little better. But even though I managed to regain some of my awareness, I found it difficult to do much more than just stare into space and after my meal was finished, I just went back to my bed again for another sleep.
So now, here I am tonight. I just took my latest dose of medicine after waking up again after taking a long hot shower, and now my body is not nearly as itchy as it was earlier. I’m still covered in a good amount of rash and tiny white bumps, though, mostly on my fingers and legs, but this is the best I’ve felt since I ate that fish.
Of course, I am wondering if my brain has been severely affected by this poisoning considering that I am sitting here telling all of you about the swollen, itchy parts of my body, something that I am relatively certain you don’t really want to know about.
All I can hope for at this point is that I wake up tomorrow morning feeling a lot better and that you’ll forget I ever wrote this post. So, on that note, it’s about time for another layer of ointment and then I’m off to sleep.
But before I go, just in case anyone is curious, there seems to be two basic types of seafood poisoning – Ciguatera and Scombroid. Ciguetera seems to be more severe, at least the symptoms are, and is caused by eating fish that have ingested certain toxins that are produced by dinoflagellates (that word sure gives me a flashback to high school science classes!) that are found in tropical and sub-tropical bodies of water. Scombroid, on the other hand, which is what I’m dealing with, occurs when you eat fish that was not properly refrigerated or preserved after it was caught. The toxic agent in this case is histadine, which is found naturally in fish, however, if the fish reaches a certain temperature (which would occur if it was not properly preserved) the histadine transforms into histamine which is what causes the allergic reaction. And once the histamine forms, it remains, even if the fish is cooked properly.
Any seafood or any kind of food poisoning stories to share?