Sick happens – but not me

DIARRHOEA isn't fun at the best of times.

Come to that, where diarrhoea is involved, there's no such thing as the best of times.

But almost as if stomach pains, fears to eat and bathrooms quite possibly in need of fumigation weren't enough to prove that thesis, try adding in the fact you're in another country, your doctor is not and you're sharing a motel room with people whose sympathy probably runs dry when that fumigation issue comes into play.

Quite simply, they won't give a sick, or so the saying goes.

For the record, I've been fine. As I search desperately for a plank of wood to touch, I can at least say that the horror stories I'd heard about drinking water, eating water-washed foods and even brushing teeth with water all seem to have stayed at bay for me.

Don't get me wrong: the food is incredible, and if not for my paranoia and a notoriously weak stomach which struggles to keep something down after it's been out of the fridge for a couple of minutes, I'd have nothing to worry about.

But the harsh reality is, food poisoning has been known to ruin many a vacation.

Sick happens, or so the saying goes.

We may laugh at our friend's unfortunate tales of Bali Belly, Delhi Di-Di and Cairo-ea, but that's because they're our friend's unfortunate tales. I have no interest in being one of those friends, even if it does make me popular for a couple of minutes at a party.

So… I took precautions.

Travelan is a type of tablet designed to prevent traveller's diarrhoea, and despite the fact it may well have saved me from the toilet turmoil in which certain tour group members found themselves, there's something a little unnerving about relying on something the size of a jelly bean to make your holiday a good one.

They all laughed at me, not least of all the tour guide, as I downed my pill before each meal. Not that it stopped them from using me as a guinea pig for any foods they thought were a bit iffy.

"Jack, eat the tomato to see if it's safe."

"Jack, I made you a sandwich; let's see what happens."

"Jack, have some yoghurt; you have Gastro Stop in your bag, so you should be right."

They laughed at me, but whether they'd care to admit it or not, they had a pretty severe case of dia-fear as well.

Now, I apologise if you're reading this with breakfast.

However, you must understand that when one considers my eating regime over the past three weeks, thoughts of solid (or indeed not so solid) waste to filter through your mind during meals isn't that outlandish.

With every bite of a piece of chicken, the vision of a toilet bowl flashed before my eyes.

The flip of a pancake symbolised the flip of a coin as it contemplated which opening it would choose to leave from.

And a humble piece of lettuce was transformed into a vicious green monster with cunning schemes of turning brown and runny before deciding to exit the body.

There was no escape!

With every mouthful, the onboard toilet became a very real prospect when it came to seat selection on the bus… for the 12-hour drive. I survived. Give the boy a medal.

Even if the tour guide thought I was a sickhead.

I'm still not saying that right, am I?

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