Travels 2015: Shellfish Food Poisoning Is a Horror.

Travels 2015 is a series of updates I originally posted on Facebook while on vacation. What started as a quick update and a couple photos transformed into a series of mini-essays that I would have posted on this website had it been up and running at the time. This one was written on August 1st, 2015.


Since Grampie wasn't going to help me finish those remaining two dozen oysters, I thought had better get cracking and slurping. But were they still good to eat? "Check with Mum" was the advice given; after all, one doesn't cook for 30 people on a cross-Pacific-tropical-voyage-sans-refrigeration without developing a certain authority in these matters. She sniffed and felt the beasts and gave her okay, but just to be on the safe side I opted for frying them instead of eating them raw.

So I shucked the beauties (lots of work), and then made homemade breadcrumbs (more work), then breaded them (ahem, work, work, work), and waited for them to chill (an evening swim at the beach killed the time). My family watched the whole process, with cautious comments, while eating their leftover roast beef. Smart family.

They didn't quite taste right. Slightly bitter. And they looked a bit like fried chicken embryos. So after eating a couple I tossed the rest. Good thing it was before my agèd grandfather arrived in the kitchen hoping to give them a taste.

For all that wretched evening I slept very little, otherwise occupied in depositing every bit of food and liquid from my digestive track into the toilet bowl. I moaned and groaned, trying to match my melody with the beat of my twisting stomach (which was trying to replicate the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee). Any drop of water I dared swallow was rejected with a vehemence, until my mum was calling the island nurse and speaking words like “intravenous tubes".

But the stomach relaxed after the food gave way and no rides to the mainland were needed. I slept all the next day, and all the next evening, and read in a hammock all the day following. While I was grieved to give up my precious holiday, I did ask myself "are there worse places to read than under an Arbutus tree, refreshed by the sea breeze?" And I remembered my pastor Gavin's story from his recent vacation and knew that I too was learning to trust and give up control. My rest is not my god.

P.S. Because my sleep cycle is now null, I spent last evening listing to Wendell Berry on audio book before finally walking down after midnight to the full-moon-lit-sandy-beach. I don't do this every night, folks. Just once in a blue moon.