Romance on the Road (or Gastro Meltdown in Amman)
When Mike and I were visiting my cousin in Amman I woke up with rampant diarrhea. It was like Trainspotting meets Bridesmaids. Mortified, I snuck out to sleep on the sofa. I was nervous that the symphonic range of my stomach noises and my hourly trips to the bathroom would tip off Mike.
Even though we’ve only been dating a year, traveling together has pretty much eliminated any mystery between us. It started the day I applied medicinal cream to Mike’s foot worm, Harry. From there it was like we hopped into a relationship time machine and blasted to a future full of stomach parasites, farting, rashes, nail fungus, deodorant showers and leg hair you can braid. STILL, I was determined to maintain a shred of romance between us so I didn’t tell him.
Well into sightseeing the next day, I finally spotted a pharmacy and tried to lose Mike by zigzag sprinting towards it. “Be right back!” I shrieked over my shoulder. Unfortunately, curious and concerned Mike followed me inside where I was busy confusing the pharmacist.
Me (holding my abdomen like an actor in a Pepto Bismal ad): Hello, I have a stomach problem.
Pharmacist: Is it indigestion?
Me: Uh, no, I don’t think so.
Mike: What’s wrong with your stomach?
Me (staring her into her eyes and willing her to read my mind): Well, there’s some of that.
Mike: You have cramps?
Abby: I’m fine.
Me: No, not spasms. The problem is in THIS area…
Pharmacist: You have stomach ache?
Me (desperately scanning her shelves for the pink bottle of relief): Not exactly.
Mike: Maybe it’s something you ate.
Pharmacist: Heart burn?
Me (giving up): Mike, can you please, please just wait outside?
Pharmacist: OHHHHH! You have diarrhea.
Me (defeated): Yes.
Even though I’d confessed, there was a hopeful moment when I thought: Sweet mercy, this friendly female pharmacist gets it. She’s figured out my dilemma and now she’ll try to make this as painless as possible. Holy dysentery, Batman, was I wrong. Not only did she say “diarrhea” about 12 more times, she also asked me to describe it in detail (mustard yellow?). She even wrote “anti-diarrhea” in magic marker on the medicine box, advising me to take two pills if there was “heavy diarrhea” and one pill if there was “little diarrhea”. I swear as we walked out of the store, she yelled “DIARRHEA!” over the door chime just to be mean.
The Takeaway: Always, always carry Pepto Bismal with you. Pharmacists can be evil. Comfort over mystery is not always a bad thing.