Barfing, Berkeley and Brisbane

As director Kevin Smith would say, Brisbane, Australia, I’m inside you.
(Smith was inside Sydney last week as part of his touring standup Q&A sessions that get turned into fairly entertaining movies.)

Other than torturing Sorenne for 36 hours of transportation from Manhattan to Brisbane, the only excitement was the ‘Do Not Spit Here’ sign on the garbage can in the Auckland airport, also available in what looked like Chinese and Korean.

But there was a good food-related barf story out of Berkeley, Calif.
Julie R. Smith writes in The Berkeley Independent that she used to sneer at germs, but is now plagued with the “social food” problem, when you’re faced with food that has not been prepared in a state-licensed restaurant with a sanitation rating of A+. Unless I’ve actually watched you crack the eggs or cook the meat (and preferably inserted the thermometer myself), forget it. I’m a nervous wreck.

In 2007 I started throwing up at work, which led to throwing up in the parking lot, which became throwing up in my car (a co-worker was driving, thank God), which segued into throwing up all over the ER admittance desk.

After barfing on a nurse and two gurneys, the fun began: I started literally foaming at the mouth. Every time I retched, foam flew far and wide. My co-worker, a staff photographer who served in Viet Nam, was convinced I had rabies.

Two hours later, after shots and IVs and heated blankets, the ER doc announced that I appeared to have norovirus. “Nora who?” I asked fuzzily. …

A year ago, I returned from a trip to North Carolina feeling fine. At 1 a.m. I woke drenched in sweat, fell out of bed and threw up on the dog. Then the other end of my digestive system decided to join the party.

Five hours later I was again in the ER with dry heaves and a nifty potassium drip. The doctor asked if I’d eaten anything “that didn’t taste right.”

“Not really, but I pigged out all weekend,” I admitted. “Chicken, deviled eggs, pasta salad, fried fish, pie, baked potato with sour cream. Too much rich food, I guess.”

He shook his head. “When you eat something that doesn’t agree with you, you throw it up and life goes on,” he said. “This is food poisoning. You ate something that was contaminated.”

So there you have it: Norovirus and food poisoning. Life’s too short to spend it throwing up. Pass me the meat thermometer.