The year was 2000. Sixteen hours of abdominal pain sent me crawling to the Emergency Room, and lab work confirmed something was very wrong. An ultrasound revealed nothing, but astronomical white blood cell numbers had the surgeon preparing for an appendectomy. But that lack of visual confirmation made him hesitant to cut, so a CT scan was ordered.
(Un)fortunately the doctor was a friend, and a smile slowly spread across his face as he reviewed the films. “Girl, I always knew you were full of $#!%. Now I have pictures to prove it.”
Yeah, yeah. Very funny.
Turns out my colon was about as useful as a curling broom in Georgia. I’ll spare you what happened next. (You’re welcome.) But the long-term recommendation was to make life as easy as possible for the useless organ. So no more with the meats. It was strictly veg with a little lean seafood from time to time as a treat.
That was all well and good until our first trip to Peru in 2004. We were heading deep into the jungle, and food sources would be dicey. I had resolved to gratefully eat whatever was prepared and deal with the consequences later.
But there were no consequences. The diet turned out to be mostly fresh fruit, yucca and other vegetables, and a tiny piece of meat with dinner. No trouble at all.
Until returning to the States, that is. After an unsettling experience
bribing tipping our way out of the country during a transportation strike — during which time there was a momentary fear of robbery and death — I vowed to kiss the ground in Atlanta and run straight into the arms of a good ol’ hamburger and Coca-Cola.
And that’s exactly what I did. For about ten minutes until halfway through the meal when I became violently ill. That was the first time I began to wonder, is it something about meat raised and prepared in the States that could be making me sick?
To be continued…