“Even if you have tens of cars, you will always trek to your bathroom. And you cannot drive into your bed.” 

2023 did not have an auspicious birth. The last few days I had what I figured was the flu. The worst days were Tuesday and Wednesday. I was considering moving into the bathroom and bringing amenities given how much time I was spending there. I was thinking iPad, coffee and bon bons.

When I was a kid, I had all the usual kid illnesses: mumps, measles and chicken pox. I remember the measles and being in a dark bedroom so I wouldn’t go blind. I don’t remember the mumps too much except for checking in the bathroom mirror at how gross my face looked. Chicken Pox was the worst. It itched and scratching wasn’t allowed particularly on the face because if you broke the chicken pox blister you’d end up with a scar, with a small, round scar. My mother was ever vigilant, “Do you want scars on your face?” was not said gently or kindly. I didn’t scratch, but my neighbor did. She got chicken pox as an adult. She scratched and had the round scars on her face my mother had predicted if we scratched.

In Ghana, during my Peace Corps training I got sick. It was week 7 or 8 in Koforidua. My symptoms necessitated sitting all night by the bathroom door. Burnt into my memory drawer are those steps, the dorms to the left and inside the bathroom by the door. The Peace Corps doctor came.

After training, I periodically had the usual, diarrhea. The first few days meant sleeping on the kitchen floor close to the door so I could run to the backyard where my toilet room was. Speed was of the essence, but after those first few days, the diarrhea merely became an inconvenience and a topic of conversation. I only worried when I traveled, but I had trusty little pills.

I have told this story before, but it is one of my favorites if not the favorite story of my day to day life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. I had taken the magic pills and traveled to Old Tafo to visit my friends Bill and Peg. They lived on the second floor in a house with no plumbing. Bill hauled water in buckets for the house. Down the stairs were the necessities, a row of single seat outhouses. No longer taking the magic pills meant running down the stairs and staying awhile in one of the outhouses, my own single seater. Now that you have the background, here is my story. I was sitting there in my little house biding my time when I heard a sound behind and underneath me. I stood up and a head appeared below the hole. It was the night soil man whose job it was to empty the buckets. He saw me, gave a little wave and said, “Hello, madam,” as he emptied the bucket. When he was finished, I sat down again.

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2 Comments on ““Even if you have tens of cars, you will always trek to your bathroom. And you cannot drive into your bed.” ”

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Hope you are feeling better. I absolutely hate being sick. Thankfully, I have made it through the last three years healthy. One of my colleagues had a very simple cure for traveler’s diarrhea. He was an international flight crew member for United Airlines. He ate all of his meals in McDonald’s regardless his location. He also keeps a supply of antibiotics in his desk drawer. He orders his antibiotics online on the Internet from China. He lives on a strictly no carb diet and keeps himself in shape by doing ballroom dancing. He’s in pretty good shape at 77. He’s a single guy who has a married dance partner. A very strange relationship and an even stranger person.

    Yesterday, we set an over 100 year record of 85°. Miami only hit 79°. Today a cold front dropped the temperature down much lower but still warmer than the average.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      I was last sick after my flight to Denver 5 or 6 years back. It was a three day event. This was a two day event and much kinder than the last one. I hadn’t been with other people since the Wednesday before so where this came from I have no idea. Today I am fine.

      Where I have traveled there are no McDonald’s, no fast food at all unless you count street food. Lately, on my trips back to Ghana, I usually had diarrhea in the night or early mornings so I could take full advantage of the daytime. When I lived in Ghana, it was now and then. The strange part of all of this is I had horrific diarrhea after I got home. It was the change in food and quality of water. My system didn’t do well with all that purity.

      Today was relatively warm, in the 40’s. Right now it is raining and will get to 50°. Tomorrow-more rain with a temperature of 54° This is the craziest winter.

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