December 16th, 2007


Food poisoning!

Hisae and I have food poisoning! I think we'll survive, but just in case we suddenly disappear off radar, I'm writing this as a kind of technical note in a bottle, information for neighbours and doctors and friends. Jan, we won't be coming to your Recycled Furniture Prototyping Workshop, alas, and Nathan, it looks like we won't make that late-night drink after all. Oh, and Y, you might want to investigate the pickled kabu.

During the night I noticed a little knot of discomfort in my stomach that got more insistent. To my surprise, when I got to the bathroom I was suddenly sick. I very rarely retch. It's been years! To my even greater surprise, this didn't really placate the burning ball in the pit of my stomach; in an hour or so I had to return and start vomiting again. This went on all night, basically, and woke up Hisae, who also started hurling. (Well, two's company!) On some of my trips to the bathroom I got really feverish, drenched with sweat.

I drank as much water as I could, and managed to get some sleep in between the technicolor episodes. H and I also speculated on what we might have eaten that had this effect on us. We narrowed it down to a bag of kabu (radish) a Japanese friend had given us, prepared in the pickling technique called nukamiso. This technique uses a bucket filled with nukadoko, a rice-based medium which ferments whatever's put in it. The nukadoko can be really old -- fifty years or so, although it has to be added to frequently. Sometimes small flies can add to it with their eggs, too. Joi Ito describes the process here.

We're lying in bed in the positions that hurt the least, currently unable to eat anything but at least not hurling any more. We sip water and Hisae whimpers from time to time (in a style that's half-real, half-ironic; whimpering in quotes). Morale is okay; we don't think this will require hospitals, drips, stomach pumps and so on. Just the other day I was reading about how comedian Marty Feldman died of a heart attack brought on by food poisoning, but his was shellfish-related, which I think is more dangerous. Anyway, I'm feeling slightly better now, though the knot in my stomach is still there.

Any food-poisoning tips? Send them along! No pictures of food, though, please.