Cholera In The Time Of No Cholera

l 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

Living in Pacific Palisades in the greater Los Angeles area, I was only 12 years old at the time. I was in what is known as the Marquez Knolls, and my school, the Marquez Elementary School, was only a block away. If I recall correctly, it was on a Friday, just at the beginning of the weekend, when I began to feel weird. I had one episode of upchucking, followed by intestinal cramping like you wouldn't believe. Then, after only a couple of hours passed, I had to make a mad dash for the loo. It was the beginning of the worst episode of diarrhea I have ever had in my life!

It seemed that just as I thought I was through using the loo, I had to go back to it. The stools eventually devolved from melted yellowish chocolate ice cream to diluted potato purèe, or rice water.

Quite naturally, my family was concerned. So I was driven to the nearest medical center where, to all of our surprise, I was diagnosed with -- of all things -- cholera!

I shall always remember the strain: Vibrio cholerae O139. Since then, I have done some research on this, and this strain is extremely rare in the USA. It is most common in southern Asia, in places like India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. How I had contracted this strain -- especially in an affluent area of Las Angeles such as Pac. Pal. -- I shall never know! The only possible thing I can think of is that my dad often patronized a shop specializing in goods from southern Asia... perhaps one of these goods he had bought had the bug in it? But still, why just me? Why was it just yours truly that had to come down with cholera?

I must say however, that I was very lucky. I had only a mild case of the disease, and was just below the borderline of having to be admitted to hospital. I was able to hold down the vast amount of fluids to fend off dehydration.

The actual disease of cholera BY ITSELF is not necessarily deadly -- if so, I most certainly would have never been around to offer this topic! But I am here (quite obviously) as a survivor of the disease. What DOES kill is the other major symptom: DEHYDRATION. Cholera is endemic in the third world areas where fresh, clean water tends to be scarce. The fatalities commonly come from the water being contaminated with the pathogen, thus making matters worse. So with either the bad water, or the lack of enough water, the problem of dehydration becomes the killer.

As was my case, in an affluent area within an affluent country, not only was clean water plentiful, so were drinks such as Gatorade, Pedialite, various juices, etc. My chances of becoming fatally dehydrated were slim.

Unlike in the nineteenth century, cholera is virtually unheard of in the States today. Granted, there may be isolated cases from international travel, but it is extremely rare in the USA and Canada. But as I proved, that doesn't mean that it would be impossible to contract such an illness. So far as the gory details are concerned, as one can imagine, having to defecate so frequently (multiple times within an hour) not only exhausts the body (let alone of depleting and upsetting the electrolyte balance), it makes it hard to get sufficient sleep -- being 'married' to the loo was a real problem. It became a chore to get out of bed to make the frequent trips to the bathroom. In fact, there were a couple of times when I had some rather nasty accidents in bed! It was suggested (and almost decided) to acquire a cot and bucket, cut a hole in the cot. and evacuate through the hole into the bucket, but that was expensive and unnecessary; plus, it presented a potential problem of the, well, fragrance.

This lasted about week and a half or so, until I began to gradually get better. I was able to get much needed sleep (without accidents), and eventually made a full recovery.

-- The Other David

15 Comments on "Cholera In The Time Of No Cholera"

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Holy fucking cow!!!! Cholera?!? You were damn lucky to say the least!
My worst bout of illness almost killed me, and it wasn't anything close to cholera. Mine was chicken pox of all things. The chicken pox developed into encephalitis (they think), and I was in bed for three weeks.
Of course my asshole family never took me to the doctor, so it took me five years to recover from it. Eleven years later I still get body aches and migraines.
But cholera. Geesh!!!

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Tydirium's picture
k 500+ points

that's pretty amazing. cholera. In America.

Love In The Time Of Cholera is an incredible book, in a completely unrelated note. Well, related to the title.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Ew! What are you, a rabbit? They regularly eat their poo. No joke! It's a fact! I don't know how hydrated it keeps them, though.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Pooperscooper's picture

Fascinating. Someone may have contaminated some fruit or vegetables your family ate, if they failed to wash thier hands. We had a Hep B outbreak in SF that was traced to an ice cream parlor. Someone who was a Hep B carrier failed to wash their hands after using the john and contaminated a batch of ice cream. Its the stuff that isnt cooked that will get ya.

Chicken Pox is scary if you get it as an adult. I had a pal who got sick with it. He almost got encepalitis but not quite. He was home alone for 2 weeks, had to live in his undies because of all the eruptions, had to take oat meal baths to get temporary relief from the hellish itching, and slept with mittens on his hands so he wouldnt go nuts and begin scratching in his sleep. He was too sick to cook for himself so his mom left pots of soup outside his door.

I think whatever Job suffered from it was probably an adult case of chicken pox. The minute the vaccine was available, I ran and got it.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Some people say they are squeamish about needles. I would have taken a poke in the arm with the chicken pox vaccine over the actual disease. When I was offered the Hep B vaccine I took it immediately.
The moral to your story pooperscooper: Wash your fruits and veggies when you get them home. After some of the stories I've heard about SOME harvesters (not all of them) in California (or anywhere else) I think I'll do that from now on.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Nudder Cholera Survivor's picture

Man, I survived a bout with it in the Army.. What I vividly remember from it, was not pissing for an entire week. I think every bit of liquid that needed to leave my body left via my screaming, waterlogged starfish.

elliot's picture

excellent storie folk keep them coming

jenifer's picture

There is no time fixed for this freaky disease. It attacks anytime, anywhere.

butt monkey's picture

I realy learned alot from this article, about the American people an myself. Godbless that little anus, I could never bear with the emotions of pooping alot...and alot...*fart* pardon me. My freinds from he poop clinic also thank you. Godbless America!

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

Based on TOD's description of symptoms, I will have to conclude that I have had a low-grade case of cholera for the past three years.

And the idea of Job having adult chicken pox--fascinating! Does this mean that Jeremiah had the squirts when he had to go bury his underwear? And what was Ezekiel doing when he built a campfire of his own dung? MY shit would put out a campfire!

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points

You were very lucky that you didn't have a worse case. I can't imagine what you went through.

Washing food and washing the hands is very important in preventing the spread of diseases like Cholera.

TSV, you had to have one hell of a case of chicken pox to get that sick. I had the chicken pox in 1984, and I only recall of going to the doctor once or twice. My parents treated most of my chicken pox with Calomine lotion, and some home remedies. The one home remedy that helped me alot, consisted of a tablespoon of honey, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 2 cups of warm water. Within about ten days, I had fully recovered from the chicken pox, it sounds like you had an extreme case. You were very lucky.

A man who farts in church, sits in his own pew.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

DungDaddy's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

I'd have to say that TSV was very UNLUCKY.

lauren54's picture
l 100+ points

holy shit dude you had Cholera and lived to tell about it you never said in your story how long a go this event took place.

Everything comes down to poo.

Anonymous's picture

Meh, cholera is nothing... I've had plague (really!) Caught it in New Mexico. No biggie...

I lived in Africa and India for several years and managed to avoid cholera, yellow fever, malaria, sleeping sickness, and a couple dozen things that you don't even want to think about (gotta love guinea worms, though). It taught my immune system to kill anything and everything it sees. I can drink Bombay sewer water and hardly ever get a case of the hershey spurts, Spent a week in New Mexico and caught the freakin' bubonic plague.

Anonymous's picture

The chances are slight since your girlfriend isn't the one in direct contact. Actually I didn't know this myself until recently but shingles is contagious to others while the blisters are present. You just need to be sure that you do not come in contact with them at all because the viral load in the fluid is enough to spread the disease. By the way, tell your grandma that aloe vera gel is great for getting rid of shingles! Just tell her to always use a cotton pad/ball and not to touch the blisters with her fingers it will spread the virus elsewhere.

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