Road Trip Day 4 - Food Poisoning



Road Trip

[Note: This posting is more about food safety than travel highlights.. Read at your own discretion.]

About one o'clock in the morning I woke up and got violently ill. Over the next several hours, I emptied the complete contents of my stomach (and more).

I might have gotten some satisfaction about the weight loss, if I was not afraid I was going to die. I can joke about it now, but it was not at all pleasant.

I was weak and after several hours decided to try to replenish some fluids. I was unsuccessful in my attempts to consume (and retain) warm tea or warm instant oatmeal.

When the sun began to rise, it became obvious to me that I probably would not be able to travel after two hours of sleep. A friend brought me some Saltine Crackers (which I could not successfully eat) and a soft drink called Sierra Mist (similar to 7Up or Mountain Dew).

I considered going to a hospital emergency room, but decided that rest and rehydration were the priorities. Fortunately, the room was quite dark, and I slept most of the day (except when I was on my knees).

Sierra Mist and Pepto Bismol were the only things that I could tolerate until evening when I ate a few crackers. It is not clear that Pepto Bismol was a valid treatment for food poisoning. I wish I had some Activated Charcoal Tablets or Powder (though it may not have been the right thing to do either).

[ Looking back, I suspect that the source of my infection was probably either:
  • The Sweet Peach Iced Tea (made locally in the restaurant), or
  • A raw Jalapeño (of which I ate about one quarter).
It was later called to my attention that some food servers were plating the garnishes with bare hands. Actually, it is quite interesting to watch the restaurant's webcam (where you can see one of the two plating areas). I am also guessing that maybe they view the Jalapeños as decorations and possibly don't wash them. I have learned since that restaurant-made Iced Tea is notorious source of coliform bacteria (see the Escherichia coli portion of this article). Never again, will I order Iced Tea at a restaurant! Never again, will I eat uncooked Jalapeños in a restaurant! I think this episode impacted my health and energy for the rest of my trip.]