After two weeks of dealing with constant stomach pain and thinking that I may in fact be pregnant because my stomach had swollen to the size of a watermelon, I decided to bite the bullet and call the doctor. After a quick consultation and the shameful process of spooning my feces into a bag, I was diagnosed yet again with parasites. I happily accepted the pills that my doctor promised would kill the parasites once and for all. I smiled the whole truck ride home, happy that soon my embarrassing stomach woes would be over.
I was wrong.
I headed to work on the second day of my super-duper-parasite-killing medication regime feeling empowered by my recent positive bowel movements. Off I went to a small community about an hour and a half walk away from where I live to teach a yoga class.
For once, the sun was shining and I beamed as I strode along the dirt road with my furry four-legged partner in crime named Henry. I arrived in a great mood and began my class with a group of ten elderly people. About half-way through, my stomach started to do some interesting things. I would describe the feeling as a small army of gremlins ransacking and burning the village (lets be real large metropolis city) of parasites within me. While doing yoga poses in a village with no running water and an average temperature of about 40 degrees, this sensation was alarming, painful and daunting. I had nowhere to run to release the impending carnage so I cut the class short and began my long walk home.
The sun was no longer pleasant, instead it mocked me by illuminating the discomfort and grimace on my face. Henry, being the blissfully naïve idiot he is, bounded around the fields and river while I marched forward thinking only of the relief that my hopefully-functioning toilet would provide. The cows moo’d their wicked laughter and the horses neighed their amusement as I passed by their fields doubled-over in excruciating pain.
About 45 minutes into the journey it happened. The Double Dragon. I had heard of the legend but never experienced the horror myself. I felt the dragon awaken, fueled by the flames of the burned parasite village, and the next thing I knew it was exploding out of both ends. Unrelenting lava flowed out of me, rivaling that of the volcanos that dominate the Ecuadorian landscape. As I recoiled in disgust unsure of what to do next, a sweet indigenous farming lady screamed out “mija, el rio! El rio!” I stumbled into the river’s frigid waters and through tears attempted to clean myself up. Meanwhile Henry paced on the riverbank barking loudly as he was convinced I was drowning, but didn’t actually care enough to jump in and try to save me. Alerted by the noise, every farmer and animal in the area shifted their gaze my way and was horrified by the image of the foreigner covered in a variety of bodily fluids bathing in the river.
I cleaned up as best as I could, gathered what remained of my dignity and began the long walk home. During the remaining 45 minute walk to my house, I tried to avoid the judgmental stares of passing strangers and contemplated what I did wrong in my past life to incite such terrible karma. When I arrived home I discovered that I had run out of gas and therefore hot water was not an option. I peeled off my sodden clothes and jumped into a shower that rivaled the temperature of my recent river bath. Thanks to my shower, my whole body was numb when I began the gag-worthy process of hand washing my soiled clothes in the sink. Hand washing clothes is difficult to begin with, but hand washing clothes in cold water while not being able to feel your hands and fighting off the urge to vomit at your own fetid human waste- that was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do.
After a good cry, and about half a box of red wine (I drank for heat purposes obviously), I reflected on my own humanity. We humans are truly disgusting and I never want to be “feelin’ myself” like that ever again.
DIE DRAGON DIE.