Let me tell you what botulism tastes like

Did I actually get botulism? No. Did I get sick and vomit at work, my wife’s car, and throughout my home? YES.

For the last month or so (basically since my last post), I’ve been working to create and maintain some positive life changes. I’ve made a daily commitment to exercise, the preparation and consumption of healthy food, 8+ hours of sleep, 30 minutes in quiet reflection/prayer, and  quality time with my family.

On Thursday morning, I didn’t have a chance to prepare lunch for myself so I quickly grabbed a can of soup and some fruit for my lunch. When I got to the office, I discovered that I had picked up Chicken Noodle Soup for myself…no bueno. This stuff is for sick people, and I wasn’t sick!  As I weighed my options, I put the soup back into my bag and figured I’d just grab a sandwich from a local place right off campus.

I ordered the “daily special” – a 5 dollar roasted chicken sandwich. Deep down, I knew that I had made a poor decision. In my rush to get a cheap and fast meal, I avoided my own rule of Never EVER ordering the specials! In many cases, I knew that the “special” consisted of the aging food the restaurant needs to get rid of fast. This usually includes aging meat, old veggies and leftover sauces — all of which made their way into my sandwich.

Two hours later, I sat in my office, feeling progressively worse with each passing moment. I had to make to through my 3:30pm meeting and decided I would head directly home after that. I was sweating and nauseous. I had gas. My head started to hurt. I had to use the restroom. Is this how my wife felt daily for 8+ months while she was pregnant?

At 3:25pm. I used the restroom, vomited, and prepared for my 3:30pm meeting.  I was hurting, but figured I could get though this planning meeting. As I sat there quietly and pretended to take insightful notes, I internally debated the closest place for me to fully empty the contents of my stomach. As my eyes started to run and my reflux became more noticeable and aggressive, I dropped my notepad and did my best Usain Bolt impression towards the door. I barely made it into a classroom and let it all out into the trash.

Now it was the time for the drive home. Although I vomited twice in 30 minutes, I had this uneasy feeling (no pun intended) that MUCH more was on its way.  I was driving my wife’s SUV that day and knew that she would castrate me with a rusty butter knife if I vomited in her precious vehicle. I was only a few miles from home but as I took the wide right turn off the highway, I succumbed to the worst projectile vomit I’ve ever experienced in my life. There was no shoulder lane and since I had cars in front and behind me, I had to vomit- into my own shirt. I figured that although it would be disgusting, my tucked in t-shirt would serve as a temporary containment device that would allow me to drive the 2 miles I needed to get home. Well, it didn’t work. The vomit bounced off my chest, back into my eyes/face, and onto my lap and the interior of the car. I cannot accurately describe the disgust of having your own vomit in your face, the smell of said vomit in an enclosed space, and the genuine fear of serious injury/death since this is all happening while operating a vehicle at 50+ mph. I managed to vomit 2 more times in about 15 seconds, mostly due to the smell of the first.  I eventually managed to pull over safely and found myself covered from head to toe in my own vomit.  I took of my shirt, cleaned the large chunks from my pants and car with a file folder and continued on.

I made it home and did my best to clean the interior of wife’s SUV (boy was she was pissed). That night, I vomited at least six more times, banged my mouth against the toilet bowl and cut my lip during one of my many trips to the restroom,battled vicious diarrhea, and was so dehydrated that I could barely sit up.

The next day, I ate my can of Chicken Noodle soup.



About Andre Moore (109 Articles)
Atlanta based Food Writer, Essayist, Hunter/Angler, and World Traveler. I create meaningful experiences for my family and write about it.

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