I hardly ever eat papaya. It’s so expensive and on this continent, it’s just not the same as fresh from the tree. But there was a sale and it looked so ready to eat, so I bought it. I had been dieting and lost about 12-15 lbs. After a week of re-introducing my best friend – butter, oils, nuts, dairy and some fruits, I was feeling sphelt and deserving of treats. so, the other morning after Pilates class, I was ravenous. I peeled and chopped this large, perfect papaya, doused it with lemon juice and ate half of it. A couple of hours later, I was still hungry and decided to make myself some guacamole. I had bought a bag of quinoa chips (later, reading the label, I realized quinoa was a minor ingredient among things like cornstarch and sugar – rats!)

Right after polishing off the guacamole, my stomach went into spasm. I was thinking “what did I eat, what did I eat?” But I wasn’t sure. Had I overdone the transition from diet to indulgence? Was my gallbladder acting up? Was it appendicitis? My whole abdomen burned and ached. I felt like I had swallowed a bag of nails. I decided to do an enema. If something was obstructing, perhaps it would be dislodged.

I am used to looking after myself. I live in a remote place where a visit to hospital is a big deal. Actually, it was a 3-hour trip. I had the car clock to tell me that the spasms were coming every 2 minutes. I was convinced that something was about to burst. It was a very long trip during which I writhed and yelled, thankfully alone in the privacy of my car.

In emergency I was processed and left to wait for 2 hours. The whole demoralizing experience of The Emergency Room is the subject of another blog… let’s just say it’s not like on TV. I began to feel faint and the nurse gave me a place to lie down.. the pressure was increasing and I was thankful there was a toilet nearby, as I vomitted quite violently. It was late, I was exhausted from the pain and I drifted off. Coming to the surface of consciousness I realized that the pain had subsided. I could see that I would be waiting at least another hour, probably 2. I told the nurse I felt better and I left, booking myself into a motel nearby.

After the effort of driving, checking in, changing and washing up, I collapsed in bed. Horribly, the spasms began again. During the night I vomited twice. the taste was super alkaline and harsh. I awoke at 6 and thought I should return to emergency, but I had not the strength to dress, pack or drive. I vaguely thought about an ambulance, but must have passed out. At 8 I awoke and the pain was much less. I dared not trust it, but used this reprieve to gather my things and get back to emergency.

I knew at this point that I was going to live. I was processed all over again (really?). My tests from the previous night showed little problem. The doctor remarked that I did not look sick. He examined my aching abdomen and decided I probably was experiencing diverticulitis. I was not convinced, but, knowing i was out of the woods, I came home in great relief.

I slept and rested and consumed many liquids. This morning it is 3 days since the beginning of this nightmare. there sits the papaya, half eaten. I consider tasting it… from the fridge I take the bottle of organic lemon juice and open the cap. The smell is very familiar!! Like ripe, harsh bile. OMG!! The lemon juice has gone off. The label says good until August 2015. I have had bottles of lemon juice in the fridge before, but this was organic. I don’t know if it was already bad when I bought it. I am guessing that I opened it about 10 days previous, when I ran out of fresh lemons. I know! how did I not taste it? Well, I didn’t.

I have intuitively been having spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Now I think a wash of aloe vera juice would be a good idea. I am grateful to be coming out of this nightmare knowing that I don’t have an anatomical problem. But I can tell you I’ll be more careful. Food poisoning is NO picnic.


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