Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I don't recommend eating in the streets here

Parasites and amoebas are swimming inside my stomach, Dr. Perla told me today. I found out about her through one of my students, this nice family guy who is really anxious to learn English. I called him desperate for the medical hook up on Monday, when the stomach pains from whatever I caught on Thursday continued to persist. He gave me the number and said I had 40 minutes to get there, or I could wait until another day, so I dropped my teaching planning and hobbled over with my parasites. (These days there always seems to be some reason to drop my teaching planning...or just plain never to get to it. Luckily my students seem pretty happy with the way things are going, but I have a feeling my style is not exactly textbook.) I was pretty relieved to have gotten a recommendation, and not just wound up in any old doctor's chair, especially when they were sticking me with a needle and prescribing me with medication. All in all, if I had to describe the experience in two words, those words would be almost spiritual. The office, on a quiet street, was like an oasis. It had natural looking walls, and the reception desk had a ceaselessly content little lady smiling underneath a huge painting of a red flower. I felt calmer, more comforted, than I'd been in a while. The room was long but spacious, with high ceilings that let strong rectangular streams of light cut in from above. I felt I could sit in the waiting room as long as they wanted, just breathing in and out, knowing they would soon rid me of the waves of stomach pain, and maybe the other symptoms too. It all started last Wednesday, and I'm not exactly sure what it was I ate that triggered it. It started with chills, then a day of a fever, then the stomach issues and everything else that goes with Moctezuma's revenge. During all of this, my roommates decided to give me lectures about dishes that weren't mine and to ask me to clean the entire bathroom. They're not exactly the warmest people you'll meet.

The truth is, you really never know who a person really is until you've known them for a while. Many of my students are beginning to become friends, which I did not anticipate happening. I think they like it when I call them outside of class and they get to hear me stumble through my Spanish, instead of them having to wade through their the strange new sounds and flaky rules of English. I realize when I try to talk to strangers that while the sentence structure makes sense to me at this point, there are still a lot of words I don't know. I've got to get some more vocab!!! It's tough, though. I am still struggling to make it to my classes with prepared lessons. There is always something that comes up that takes up more time than expected---a broken copy machine, a long wait for a bus, the need to write...oops, I guess that last one could be helped. Maybe I'm not cut out for teaching. It's pretty ridiculous when the teacher is the one who just can't stop yawning.

But according to Dr. Perla, I have am not fabricating my chronic tiredness out of my imagination as some sort of sorry excuse for poor teaching, as I had suspected. I actually do have anemia. I couldn't help but laugh in her office today as she dished out the list of sicknesses I had. All I could think was well, good. Great. I'm not crazy. I thought I was going crazy, or that the elements were just overwhelming me or something. I had been refraining from running, conserving my energy, even before the amoebas and parasites invaded. I kept thinking it was the sound of the rumbling buses or the pollution or maybe the need for more water. But no, I'm actually physically hindered right now. So I've got new medicine, and am scheduled for another consultation about the anemia. I wish I had more to report about Mexico, but I've really just been surviving lately. I'm going to be eating more red meat, and not in the streets. Those are my plans for the next few weeks. And well, if all goes okay, I'll be going to see the butterfly migration in Morelia this weekend.

I hope all is well in the grand 'ole U.S. of A!!!

Until next time...

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