Thursday, January 29, 2009

my week with salmonella, or, wash your hands!

I went grocery shopping on Monday morning of last week. They were completely, 100% out of packs of chicken breast. No regular packs, no family packs; no thin-sliced, no regular; no name-brand, no generic brand. Nothing. So I picked up a whole roaster. It was wrapped in plastic, but I dropped it into a plastic baggie anyway, to be safe.

I brought it home and put it in the fridge. There was no room on the bottom shelf, so I put it on the top shelf, on top of a very large gladware container.

On Friday morning, I picked up the double-wrapped-in-plastic chicken to put it in the slow-cooker. And it was dripping, sitting in a little puddle. I don't know if it had dripped on something else in the fridge, or if it was just that I hadn't washed my hands after I picked it up at some point; but I suddenly knew exactly how I had gotten sick. (Actually what I think happened is that I picked it up from the cart to put it on the register belt, and then opened a Frappuccino and probably touched the top of the bottle before I started drinking it. Because I'm usually fairly obsessive with the hand sanitizer, but it had never occurred to me to use it after unloading my groceries from the cart.)

I had been sick since Monday night. Very, very sick. Brian and I started out with similar symptoms - kind of woozy and lightheaded, with weird tingly feelings in our backs - you know how when someone is giving you a backrub, and they get a particularly sensitive spot, and your back kind of involuntarily tenses up, and a kind of electric shock radiates out from that spot? That was exactly what it felt like, except it was happening for no reason. We both spent all day Tuesday trying not to pass out. But then our symptoms started diverging. He got what seemed to be a really nasty head cold, and I got what seemed to be more of the intestinal aspect of the flu. At one point on Wednesday afternoon, I had pains in my stomach so intense that I was literally screaming in pain.

It wasn't until maybe Thursday that I finally realized that nobody else in the house was going to get what I had. That it wasn't the flu at all, that it was food poisoning. I started trying to remember what I had eaten on Sunday and Monday that nobody else had. Popeye's mashed potatoes. A vanilla Frappuccino. Reese's Whipps. Cherry Cordials. A Hormel chicken & dumplings meal.

I started wondering about the peanut butter recall. The only thing with peanut butter in it that I had eaten, whose manufacturer hadn't come out and specifically stated they weren't affected, was a granola bar that I'd eaten at around 4:30 am on Tuesday morning. But I'd already started having symptoms before that, and they really kicked into high gear about 2 hours later - too fast for salmonella to work its magic - and Brandon had eaten one later on Tuesday morning as well. And he, blessedly, was completely fine. (Jack, of course, was pretty cranky all week, nursing almost constantly and following me around screaming. I was severely dehydrated and my milk production was obviously suffering. He has a touch of the cold this week, but he's otherwise fine.)

It wasn't until Friday that I realized that the chicken was the culprit. I felt well enough to leave the house on Saturday. I'm still not eating full meals, and the pendulum keeps swinging back and forth; I'm still waiting to get back into equilibrium. You can't be as sick as I was and just instantly go back to normal. It takes a while.

So that's why I haven't posted in a while. I was lying on the couch, moaning, for about a week. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go refill the bottle of hand sanitizer that I keep attached to my keychain.


Dawn's Thoughts said...

Thank God that you are okay. It only takes once going thru that to assist a person in rethinking all that they do. When I was a teenager I had it and my mom was sterilizing everything.

Dianne said...

Oh man!! that sounds awful - I know how weak it makes you

chicken can be evil

Dawn's Thoughts said...

NJ time Fri 6pm-Today's Oprah had stuff about Japan and how they put stuff in food and women drink it diluted. USA injects this stuff so skin looks nice. My thought, what if any of you eat this stuff, what effect could it have?