My Life is So Glamorous: Reflections on Barfing into my Salad Bowl

Norman and I went to the cinema last night. We got Quizno’s first (and I must say, Subway FTW), and then got the usual movie snacks – popcorn, candy, and delicious fountain beverages.

Fast forward a few hours, and I’m shivering on my RV couch, barfing popcorn and guacamole into our salad bowl while Norman wraps me up with a heated blanket, trying not to barf himself. (He’s one of those that gets sick when other people get sick.) And our RVs water tank was empty, so…. I washed the contents of the bowl down the toilet with a bottle of drinking water and a little bit of juice.

So how did my life get so glamorous? Let me tell you.

When I was barely 21, I lived in Armenia a short time. (It was supposed to be a much longer time, but it turns out this formula:

21 Year Old Perfectionsist

+ A List of Extremely Strict Rules with no Wiggle Room


Physical and Psychosomatic Illness Exacerbated by Environmental and Psychological Stressors

makes you come home early with intestinal ulcers. Whod’ve thought, right?)

Here’s me (on the left) when the power went out. Our pipes also froze… so we couldn’t shower….

So this illness…. it was caused by real factors (dirty water? contaminated food?), and then incubated in my body which was already shocked by a completely new environment (lack of healthy food, odd bacteria, very, very cold weather with inappropriate footwear, lack of indoor heating and inability to bathe sufficiently), and then worsened by the fact that I a ball of stress because I couldn’t follow all the rules because I was TOO. DAMN. SICK.

In Armenia, they told me that I had “mrrsell”-ed; my feet had gotten too cold, and they wanted to cut open my intestines and let out the cold air. At this point, I literally got out my English-Armenian dictionary, looked up the desired word, and told the doctor this:

“You are a SAVAGE.”

This is probably what my face looked like when they told me my “diagnosis”.

It was all downhill from there, but just imagine – I was losing tons of weight, my hair was starting to fall out, my skin was turning gray, and all I could eat was rice and coke (which probably made the illness even worse).

It was the perfect storm of misery.

In the 10 years since this lovely incident, I’ve just learned that I will have syptoms whenever and wherever my body wants. The only discernable pattern is this:

Environmental stress

+ Psychological Stress


Intestinal Warfare

I’ve learned to deal with it – sometimes I’m just going to be sick. And that’s that. If my body catches it in time, I’ll vomit – violently. If not, then it’s usually a day when I need to stay as close to a bathroom as possible.

Oh, and I keep toilet paper in my car. Always. (One time, on a trip home from California back to Utah, I was driving with a new friend. At one point, I had to pull over, and I just turned to her and said “I’m sorry, but I have to go be disgusting now. But to be honest, if you can’t handle it, then we probably can’t be friends anyway.” She just shrugged, turned on the radio, and got out her book while I squatted in my polka-dot skirt in a weed and cactus infested field. Needless to say, this chill lady and I are still friends.)

So now, living in my less-than-300-square-feet-home, getting sick isn’t a huge deal – I’m always less than 5 steps from my bathroom. UNLESS, its another perfect storm of misery:

No Water in Our RV’s Fresh Tank

+ Fake Butter on Cinema Popcorn

+ A Home That’s Internal Temperature Drops to about 50°F after 10 PM


Barfing in your salad bowl, shivering, with no way to get rid of it

My life is so glamorous.