If you’re reading this and eating at the same time … I wouldn’t advise it. You may lose your appetite.
This post will be a bit of a departure from my usual updates. It’s not about an adventure or making friends or adjusting to tico life – it’s about table talk.
Dinner tonight was a frightening enough affair. We moved our table outside onto the porch a few days ago because the evening breezes were just so alluring. Tonight, at some point, Chance rubbed against my leg – until I realized that Chance was nowhere near me and actually a giant spider was making it’s way up my shin. Then a moth repeatedly dive-bombed our plates, followed by a bat who flew over the table a few times. It may be prudent to move the table back indoors.
But none of tonight’s issues compared to the discomfort I felt during a conversation at a recent dinner party. It seemed to me the kind of conversation you’re more likely to have when you’re on an adventure like this, so I thought it was worth recounting here.
We were having a lovely dinner with two other families when somehow, the subject of parasites came up. Because, you know, that’s what you talk about at the dinner table.
One of our companions had been traveling in Central America about a dozen years ago and got a mosquito bite. Little did she know at the time, the mosquito had also transmitted the eggs of a parasite. The bug bite got infected, was swollen and painful, and no one seemed sure what to do. Was it a snake bite, they asked? “No,” she said, “I think I’d remember a snake biting me.”
Finally, one local doctor was able to diagnose her correctly – there was a parasite growing within her bug bite, and it was eating its way out.
Right – you just threw up a little, didn’t you?
His remedy – and I’m not kidding: put a piece of deli meat on top of the bug bite and then wrap it up really tightly. The parasite won’t be able to breathe, and it’s hungry for meat anyway, so it would finally eat its way through her skin’s surface.
Not knowing what else to do, she tried this method. In the middle of the night, she unwrapped the deli meat to find that the creature HAD EATEN ITS WAY OUT AND THEN GONE BACK IN. So basically, she’d provided it a really nice meal. And it was sticking around.
Finally, she went to a clinic to have the parasite surgically removed. Which I’m pretty sure I would’ve done before the deli meat method.
So then another companion at the dinner table passed along this bit of advice: if you get a tapeworm, just don’t each much for about three days. Starve yourself along with the tapeworm. On the third day, hold a bowl of milk up to your mouth or your “other” end, and entice it out.
I literally had to get up from the table and walk around, I was so disturbed at the idea. All I could think was, “We have insurance with medical evacuation to the states. If I get a tapeworm, will that count as a medical evacuation emergency?”
Because I can tell you, I’m not trying the milk method. I’m trying the Emory Hospital method.
So there you have it – plenty of reasons not to sleep tonight or eat, ever again. And lots of reasons to wear bug spray.
I do hope you’ll still come visit though. I hear these instances are quite rare…