That time I got food poisoning and rode in an ambulance. Part One.

Editor’s note: This post is disgusting. Read at your own risk. Also, this is Part One of the story. Tune in tomorrow for Part Two. Read Part Two here.

Like I can only assume is the case for most stories about food poisoning, this one started with steak tacos.

And I’m more than a little pissed about that because steak tacos with corn tortilla shells, cilantro, onion and some lime juice used to be my favorite food in the whole wide world. But now, I kind of want to throw up just writing that last sentence. Dammit.

Anyway, so ya, I ate some steak tacos with my mom and my sister Saturday afternoon at this Mexican restaurant near Rockford. And then Saturday night I kind of threw up in my mouth a little bit one time and I was like, hmm, that’s weird. But I brushed it off as a fluke and went on my merry way back to Aurora.

When I woke up Sunday morning to get ready for church, I realized it was not a fluke. Not at all.

As soon as I got out of bed I headed for the toilet and there I sat for about an hour straight. Pooped out everything I ate for the last week. No joke. Then, I got off the toilet for about three minutes before realizing I need to sit my butt right back down.

For another hour or so.

At this point, I realized that I was probably not going to make it to first service at my church, so I called Pastor Wes and let him know that I thought maybe I had eaten something bad, but that I was going to try my best to get to second service.

Then, after laying in my bed for about 10 minutes, I thought to myself, “Self, you’re feeling a little better. Just go ahead and hop in the shower and get to church.”

So I did. Because I’m an over achieving idiot.

Standing up while showering turned out to be a little too much for my body though, and as soon as I stepped out of the tub I started feeling extremely sick.

And then my hands started going numb. And then my feet started going numb. And then I suddenly found myself wearing only my underwear, on my hands and knees in front of the tub. And then I started FREAKING THE F OUT! And then, my fingers started to curl under so that they were bent in toward my wrists and I lost all control of my hands. And then I started FREAKING THE F OUT!!! EVEN MORE!! And then I was like, “Holy crap, I’m going to die basically naked in my bathroom. Like Elvis. Er well, he was on the toilet, wasn’t he? Oh, who gives a crap right now CRYSTAL! YOU ARE GOING TO DIE HERE IN YOUR BATHROOM WITHOUT ANY CONTROL OF YOUR HANDS!!! HOLY SH*T! What if I’m having a stroke? Is that even a symptom of a stroke? Oh sh*t. Oh sh*t. Oh sh*t.”

Seeing as how I was home alone and scheduled to be at church all day, but had already called said church, I started to calculate that the soonest someone would find my body would be Monday morning.

And then I was like, holy crap CRYSTAL. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER.

And then I made my way over to my cell phone, which was on my nightstand, and I called 911. I had to dial with my knuckles (note to cell phone makers, touchscreens kind of suck for that) but I got through.

Then, I pushed the speaker phone button and tried to tell the woman what was happening.

Except then I realized that my tongue was numb. So I was trying to tell her to, “SEND HELP!” But instead it came out more, “STHED ELP!!” And she was all, “Ma’am, what’s wrong? I can’t understand you.”

And I was all, “STHED ELP!” And then, you know, I started vomiting all over my nightstand and my bed, which didn’t really help the communication situation. Also, diarrhea was shooting out of me. Into my underwear. If you were wondering.

And the 911 dispatcher was all, “Ma’am, can you tell me where you live? What is your address?”

And I was all, “THEW. THEW. THEW. FOUR. OAKRIDGE DRIVE. ARRRORORA!” And then I vomited some more. And some more diarrhea come out.

And then she was all, “Ok, I’m sending paramedics. It’s 2225 Oakridge Drive?”

And then I vomited some more. And then I was all, “THEW. THEW. THEW. FOUR!!!” And she figured it out

I knew though that I needed to tell her my apartment number because there’s like 15 units in my building, so I shouted, “APARTMENT 14!! (Yes, now you can stalk me. Because before this, all you had was Facebook).

She seemed to glean what she needed and after a few minutes I finally stopped throwing up and some of the feeling started coming back into my hands. And the woman asked if  I was able to unlock my door for the paramedics and I did. And then I realized that there was diarrhea in my underwear, so with all the strength I had in my body and with all the coordination I could manage with half-numb hands I set out to put on some clean underwear and a tank top. Which I somehow did. And I even managed to throw the dirty underwear in the garbage can before the 15 paramedics, police officers and firefighters started to file into my apartment. Best. Achievement. Ever.

Of course, there was nothing I could do about the vomit in the bedroom, but, eh. You win some. You lose some.

When help arrived, I felt like I was half dead, and I could barely lift my head, and they worked with me to calm my breathing down and told me that my hands and feet and tongue were numb because I was hyperventilating and my body had too much carbon dioxide in it.

WHAT THE WHAT??!! WHAT? I have never heard of such a thing in my entire 28 years of life. Gray’s Anatomy, ER and Doogie Howser all failed me. Never had I seen this symptom from a patient on any of those medical shows.

Once my breathing started to return to normal, the paramedics said they wanted to take me to the hospital because everything had come on so suddenly, and I was like, “Umm, OK.” So they put me on a stretcher, loaded me into the ambulance, stuck an IV in my arm and drove me to the hospital.

My mom, my sister and my sister’s dad were told about the situation and came out to help. When they finally go there, my sister walked around the curtain and gave me a look that said, “You look like crap.”

Then, I got up to give a urine sample, and while in the bathroom, I noticed that I did in fact look like crap. And when I came out, I was all, “I look horrible.” And my mom was all, “Yes, yes you do.”

About five hours and a slew of tests later, I was given anti-nausea medicine, told I probably had food poisoning, and sent on my merry way.

Of course, when we got back to my house, there was still the matter of cleaning up all the vomit by my bed. And because my mom and my sister are angles in the flesh they took care of it for me.

I love them.

A lot.

I was still having epic diarrhea, and I was still too weak to even hold up my own cell phone, but I thought things were looking up. I was wrong though, of course.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Two of this story, where I tell you how I ended up back in the emergency room and I detail the process of giving a stool sample! YAY!

UPDATE: Read Part Two here.

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  1. The best thing about the ambulance ride is that you get to skip straight past spending eternity in the waiting room, and go straight to a hospital bed, with some IV fluids and a doctor. Can you imagine if your brother HAD been home? You would have had him bring you to the ER, where you would probably been labeled as an acuity level 4 because your issues were GI related and thus non-life-threatening, and so 95% of those in the ER would have been seen before you plus all the people in the ambulances. You would have probably a minimum of 4 hours in the ER. With intractable vomiting and diarrhea. It’s too bad you didn’t get sick from a bigger restaurant or grocery store. I have a friend that got salmonella from Jewel years ago, and he got a $10,000 settlement out of it. I hope you’re feeling better now!

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