Friday, February 27, 2009

Starting a Blog

I used to "write" on Sometimes I journal-ed pithy, amusing items... sometimes the posts were intended to show how artistic I was... using lots of enigmatic phrases that I wanted to read as "groovy" I am. A couple times, I indulged my inner, brooding adolescent, pondering love and issues of the heart.

Today, I want to start a new blog about diarrhea.

I was talking to my good friend, Michael, about my trip to Ghana. I explained that I incurred a bout with something that caused me to have "the runs". He thought I should blog it.

So, I had been cruising along just fine, not struggling with any of the "there's-no-place-like-home" issues that we were warned about--things like: hunger (as a result of the tiny portions we'd be fed), the interminible heat (NO air conditioning in ward-style rooms where the outside temp hovered in the 90s), and bugs (we heard about bites the size of baseballs and, even, a story of egg implantation in someone's arm where he "hosted" some larvae until it "hatched"!) I had resolved myself of these things before I left the United States and was "struggling through" just fine.

Then, all of a sudden, I ate a meal and felt it process from chew to evacuation... all in about 3 minutes. I knew I was in trouble. In general, it's really unpleasant when that happens. Specifically, when you're living in close quarters, where the toilet stall is sort of in a hallway (or a de facto hallway because it became a passage from dining room to sleeping quarters for approximately 32 people), it's intolerable. And, of course, you have no control.

To put this in the proper context, I haven't... um... evacuated in such a manner... publicly, since the fall of 1990, I believe. That strangely temperate day in 1990, I was alone in an office and felt like it was a safe time to just, um... let 'er rip. Long before that, I recall, I once went five days "without", when I was camping with a large group, because I couldn't bring myself to sit--or even hover--on, or over, the makeshift toilet... and ESPECIALLY not when someone might know what it was that I was doing.

So, you understand, this quite public moment of Ghanian bacteria-induced diarrhea was agonizing for me.

Thank God for Cipro. I began pooping them... excuse me... um... POPPING them, immediately.

The problem took care of itself after several days... and then it was time to get on a 14 hour flight to return home (JUST in time!) The point is, though, that such an experience really numbs you a bit to talking about poop... even allows you to blog about it. People I have known who spent any substantive time in Africa all say this: once you've been humbled by your intestines in public ways, you can never go back to it being a dirty little secret!

So, there you have it... an auspicious start to a new blog... poop... or, more specifically, diarrhea.

I promise more cerebral topics in the future. Also, likely, more to come on poop. Or diarrhea.