I’ve been laid up sick the last few days with what the doctor confirmed is a campylobacter infection. What is campylobacter, you ask? Long answer is that it’s a bacteria carried by animals, including poultry and pheasants. Humans can get the bacteria by handling the animals themselves or improperly cooking the meat.
The short answer? As my wise-cracking father would have said, campylobacter is the shits. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Well maybe all those terrorists wreaking havoc around the world. I would wish this on them. It would be hard to focus on world-destruction and murder when you can’t get more than 20 feet from a bathroom at any given time.
I contracted campylobacter by handling the pheasants then inadvertently touching my face before I washed my hands. Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism. I had all of the above. Emphasis on the former. I even reached a new low point in my adult life when I was required to poop in a bucket to provide a stool sample.
The only levity of the situation came when I was at the doctor’s office getting checked and I handed the nursing student the “Physcian’s Alert Card” my husband had provided me. The card alerts physicians to consider zoonotic diseases when evaluating a patient with the card, because of proximity to wildlife and/or livestock. All the wardens, biologists, etc. carry them. The card lists a whole host of diseases ranging from brucellosis, Avian influenza and leptospirosis to giardiasis and rabies. The little student nurse visibly blanched when she read it and quickly scurried out of the room to “consult with the head CNP.”
I half expected her to return in a Hazmat suit. But she came back a few minutes later with the head dude in tow and proceeded to give me a wide berth the rest of the exam. I think she feared for the integrity of her sassy orange Sperrys.
When she asked if I was depressed or feeling sad, she didn’t appreciate my response that was along the lines of “I accidentally pooped my pants when I sneezed the other night. So no, it’s not the best week of my life.”
Two hours and some blood tests later I was sent home with orders to get some “bowel rest” and hydrate. The nurse also didn’t think I was funny when I said if I could get my bowels to rest I wouldn’t be in the doctor’s office to begin with.
Yes, it’s toilet humor. But the toilet is about all I’ve had the last four days. I work with what I’ve got.