Backpacking Horror Story: The Beer that Almost Killed Me

Many of my friends and family heard this story when I came back from Bali, but it is too funny and unreal to not share permanently on the internet. This is a TMI post about food poisoning and the bodily fluids associated with that so it will get graphic (just a warning)

In my last post about my itinerary, I mention the meal where I got sick. I hadn’t really touched my dinner because of my anxiety induced nausea. The carbonation of beers actually help to settle my stomach and the alcohol calms me down, so I order my last Bintang of the trip. This time it tasted a little off. The lip was metalic and the beer just didn’t taste right. For the last 5 days I had been drinking this beer so I knew what it should taste like.

I rubbed a white napkin on the lip and it came off a little red. I had one more sip of it and in the end only drank about one third of the bottle but that was enough.

I had a red eye flight so I left my hotel at 8 PM that night, about 2 hours after the beer at dinner. The hour taxi ride to the airport was awful. I thought I had a mix of nausea from anxiety and motion sickness. I was laying down in the back seat closing my eyes and trying to ignore the feeling in my stomach.

I finally get to the airport and I have a little diarrhea that I assume is just a little upset stomach side effect from the food. I sit on the ground for about 5 minutes waiting to be able to check in. This is when I run to the bathroom and vomit for the first time. Keep in mind that I have three bags I have to take with me so nothing gets stolen. I barely make it to the toilet and let it all loose in the family/handicap stall.

I had been in such a rush I ended up getting some on my shirt. No biggie since I still had my luggage, I just changed, brushed my teeth and got some water and sat down again.

Commence anxiety attack. Luckily it was around dinner time in California so I call my dad and his fiancé and she calms me down. Another smart move for me, I sit next to the bathroom and sure enough I have to hang up to run to the toilet and throw up again.

I chalk it up to anxiety and call my dad’s fiancé back and talk for a little longer. Finally I can check in so I assume I am good, and head in through mini security.

I get to the check in desk and tell the woman at Korean Air my name. Again, I start feeling nauseas and I look around desperately for a trash can. I see one behind the woman and say I’m going to get sick and that I need a can. She say “Oh, please don’t”

As if I can control it.

I go into my back pack for the plastic bag holding my toiletries and she asks if I am going for medication. I say no and proceed to kneel and throw up right at the check in desk….

A man asks if I need help and gets me a wheel chair. I am so embarrassed I hold back tears for a little bit. The woman behind the check in desk was so nice that she changed my seat to one by the bathroom and in the aisle. Later I find out I had the whole row to myself.

The man asks if he can take me to quarantine and I say yes hoping for some drugs. I start crying as a woman rolls me to the doctor and she tries to comfort me but I just tell her I am ok just embarrassed.

We go through the entire airport to get through to quarantine. I am rolled through security with people staring wondering why I am in the wheelchair and cutting in line since I am so young.

When we finally get there I get into a hospital bed. I was worried I would be exposed to some horrible sick people but I was the only person there. The woman doctor asked me questions and checked my vitals. I assured her that it was only my anxiety (LOL thats what I thought) and once I was making my way home I would be ok. She tells me my heart rate and blood pressure were normal, which I was shocked since my heart felt like it was beating so fast. She gave me an antacid and some water (that I had to pay for) and I relaxed for about 10 minutes and then headed to the airplane.

I was given a piece of paper that told the crew of the plane that I was fit to fly and not contagious. When we were in line to get on the plane I started feeling sick again. There were some tan French surfer guys, one with a broken leg, getting escorted on the plane behind me and I knew they saw how pale I must have looked. The girl rolling me along told me not to and started massaging my arm which was actually distracting me from how I was feeling.

The second I got my stuff to my seat I ran to the bathroom and threw up again. I didn’t realize it was food poisoning until an hour into my flight when the diarrhea kicked in. One time I had to logistically choose to sit over throw up because I didn’t know what was going to come out when. Luckily the sinks are so close to the toilet I knew that if worse came to worse, I could do both.

I had asked one of the flight attendants for a bag when I first sat down and it ended up coming in handy. I was half asleep and woke up to the immediate need to throw up. Thank god for that bag. After pretty quietly vomiting in the cabin of the plane I got up to go to the restroom and that is when the flight attendants knew why I was escorted via wheelchair onto the plane.

When I came out of the bathroom that time, they offered me antacid and refilled my water every time I asked them to.

The medicine only helped for about 30 minutes and I couldn’t even keep water down but they were so nice and understanding.

7 hours.

Thats how long my first flight out of Bali was and 5 of those hours were spent in a half asleep haze of running to the bathroom to get let my body get out the demons it had contracted.

When I was in New Zealand, I met a girl who loved these kinds of bad backpacking stories that showed the realities. At that time, I didn’t really have anything to share. Oh boy do I now. I now find this story so hilarious so I’d thought I’d share my horror story.

Backpacking to foreign countries isn’t as romantic as it seems all the time….

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