Monday, January 12, 2009

The Freeloader - by, Christopher

I took my last dose of medication last night. Seven days of powerful antibiotics that essentially poisoned a little bit every day. But I think it worked. I think my parasite is dead.

Yes, I was diagnosed with a parasite named giardia, or "beaver fever" as it's colorfully referred to. It lived in animal poo that accumulates in dammed up beaver ponds, and then when you go camping and decide to take a dip, giardia makes a home in you.

Except I didn't go camping, and I haven't taken any dips. I have taken showers. I have brushed my teeth with the tap water. I don't want to spend too much time thinking about what that means.

I only talked to my parasite out loud once or twice, ad both times I felt a little ridiculous. Fortunately I was alone. But the reality is I've been carrying around this other mouth to feed. A disgusting and unwelcome presence for sure, but still, I think we both did what we could to make the best of our respective situations.

I woke up out of a dead sleep one night after dreaming of pizza with a very strong urge to go into the kitchen and begin eating things. This isn't totally abnormal for me, but I couldn't help wondering if maybe the giardia had noticed my dreams, started to think it was food time, and woken me up somehow.

And it's difficult, given all the tv advertising I grew up watching, not to imagine my parasite building a little house inside my stomach with an easy chair, a tv and a swimming pool outside. It would be a shabby, run-down house and the living room would look dirty and disorganized. My giardia virus would belch loudly and his wife and kids would get on his nerves a with their incessant demands for more food. TV commercials love to anthropomorphize anything they can. Which is everything from flu bugs to spark plugs. I'm sure it's a tactic that helps move units.

But realty is often simpler than television commercials. Giardia is just little one-celled guy, or thousands of guys, who hang out and eat. They don't do much besides eat, divide or sleep in a dormant state. They can live dormant for months in a cool pool of water, so they're pretty laid back. In no hurry. Downright patient by design, you could say.

Now that I'm through taking my course of meds, I wonder if it worked and all the giardia are dead. I certainly feel much better today than I have lately. There's little I can do to check if I'm really better or not. I'll just have to wait and see.

But I'm starting this week with the hope that I'll get to spend a good chunk of my time out of the bathroom.

1 comment:

  1. Really that might be the most humorous way of telling a story about the lovely parasite that was camping out in the intestines. If nothing else it gave me a good laugh today at work (probably helps that I work in a hospital and have an already disgusting sense of humor). So thanks for the afternoon e-mail break entertainment. Hope that little giardia is killed off for good.