In my gut.
Giardia. I have giardia.
I haven’t been outside to drink sketchy water in, like, a hundred years, because I’m old and work all of the time.
Way back in the early days, (that means before tablets, before blue lights, before filters), I treated my drinking water with iodine – so did everyone. But the iodine made me sick beyond imagination.
When I first started working for COBS, it was explained to me that susceptibility to this particular little pest is genetic, so I decided to risk it and stopped treating my water in the backcountry.
I figured that giardia couldn’t be much worse than iodine poisoning.
(So far, I still believe that.)
YEARS. Years upon years upon years of creek water, pothole water, puddle water.
Nothing. Nada. Never a problem.
I never drank water out of the San Juan. I figured that the fungus that I got on my feet from being in the water was a good indicator that I shouldn’t ingest it.
I have been
walking slurping my way through life confident that I was one of the lucky ones.
And then, two weeks ago, I felt a little twinge.
And I thought, “Is there something living in there?”
Then it petered out.
Next thing I know Lucky Charms don’t even taste good and I’m throwing up the water that I sipped.
When you are a Wilderness First Responder and you basically live in the backcountry for years, the one thing that you know like the back of your hand is the list of symptoms of Giardia.
Last night I lay in bed and talked to the critters in my craw. “Please die. Please please die.”
I tried to pretend it wasn’t true, but it is.
Between the Divorce Diet and racing for the restroom I haven’t eaten in a week. I’ve lost almost 15 pounds in the last month. I’m so dehydrated that my lips are chapped and my skin looks like alligator hide.
It’s been textbook WFR shit. Enough so that when I went to the doctor today she said that I did a fine job self-diagnosing.
The photo at the top of this page…that’s what the little buggers look like. They latch on with that giant suction cup of a mouth and eat you.
Seriously, a concussion, a breakup, and now this – all in one month.