I was awakened two nights ago by violent cramps that felt like a black belt in karate was in my abdomen trying to kick his way out. I thought, well, this is it. Game over. I knew it couldn’t last. I am miscarrying.
I got up and went into the bathroom expecting to see blood all over the place, but much to my relief: nothing. Well, diarrhea, but that’s it. In fact I was never so happy to have diarrhea. In fact if diarrhea were a person, I would have been smiling and waving to it, motioning it to come over so I could give it a big hug, and it would turn around and look over its shoulder to see if I was talking to someone else.
The love fest was soon over. I went to bed, and five minutes later, I was back in the bathroom. I went back to bed and 15 minutes later, same thing. What the heck did I eat? I thought. I went through the day’s menu like I was scanning a deck of cards. Raspberry ices? Couldn’t be. Steak? Nope. Sliced tomato? Nah. Corn? No way. Corn’s too nice. Suddenly, all the foods I’d eaten over the last day were suspects, like when your lunch is stolen from the office refrigerator, and you find yourself looking at all your co-workers with suspicion.
The following morning, I felt better. I went to work for a couple of hours on a community farm to which we belong. We get fresh organic produce every week throughout the summer, but you have to put in a few hours labor as part of the arrangement. Knowing I’m pregnant, one of the farm’s owners, Juan, sat me at a table and had me replant vegetables from small containers into medium containers, and then replant vegetables from medium containers into larger containers. For the first 15 minutes I stood over my chair rather than sitting, and I found myself surrounded by hens, one of which kept leaping into the air and pecking me on my backside.
“Hey. Stop it,” I’d say, and for a moment, she would. But after a minute, she’d be back again, while another was pecking lightly at my foot.
I walked over to Juan. “How do I get these hens to stop pecking at me?”
“City folks,” Juan said, barely looking up.
“Dude, the thing is leaping into the air and biting my ass,” I said.
“Just shoo them away,” Juan said, adding, “I forgot to pick up their food.”
People sometimes say things to try to make you feel better when they really have the opposite effect: “Don’t worry. Her beak hasn’t been sharpened since last week.” “They don’t eat people. Usually.” “Your butt has a lot of meat on it. It would take her some time to draw blood.”
I walked back and began waving plastic plant flats at them like wings, scattering the hens like bugs –though after a couple of minutes, one came back and sat at my feet like my cat does.
By the time I left the farm, I was hungry and had a hankering for a bacon cheeseburger. As I got to the restaurant, I slipped on these elastic acupressure bands I’d bought that people wear on cruise ships for motion sickness. The band has a little bead that sits over a particular acupuncture point that controls nausea. They worked the day before so I figured they’d work now –though I felt a little funny wearing them on both wrists. They reminded me of the bracelets little kids wear when they’re allergic to penicillin or bees. But with the bands, I felt impenetrable. I had super powers. When I wore them, I was invincible. Morning sickness could not hurt me. I sat in the diner with my wrist bands eating my burger and about halfway through, I bit into a raw onion and bam! A feeling of naseau moved in so quickly, I thought I was going to puke. I was flapping out there in the breeze, thinking the bands would protect me and that I could eat whatever I wanted, and somehow, my protective shield had been breached. And now I’m about to throw up in a public place.
I sat for a moment and tried to relax myself, taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly. Soon, I began to feel better, but I wanted to go home.
At dinner, I was convinced the villain from the night before was the salad. I just kept thinking about the bad California spinach that sickened people because it was contaminated with e coli that came from cow dung from a neighboring pasture.
“Did you have salad last night?” I asked Bruce at dinner.
“No,” he said.
“Hmmm. I had two bowls. And I had another one just now,” I said. It felt like a witch hunt. “Are you going to have any?” I said. I wanted to see if he would get sick.
“In a minute,” he said.
A few minutes later, I said, “Did you have any salad yet?”
“Not yet. I’m going to eat like an Italian. I’ll have it after the meal.”
I waited for him to have some. I felt cruel. In my zeal to learn what wrought havoc on my intestines, I was dragging my husband down with me. Hopefully, he’ll understand it was all in the name of research.