the night i almost died in paris.

so, many people have been asking me for more details about my epic food poisoning during our stay in paris two weeks ago. because my life post-europe has been an insane cluster of non-stop emails, long work hours, wedding planning and friend/family-filled weekends, it’s been hard catching up with all of my loved ones to tell them the tale.

well, luis had a brilliant idea the other night: let’s blog about it! that’s all good and fine, i said, but im not sure people will want to read about the story on our blog – it’s a little gross. plus, we didn’t take any photos (thank the good lord). luis’s instantaneous response: let’s use DRAWINGS. at that suggestion, i decided i was all for it.

so i give you, my fine readers, the story of the night i almost died in paris in cartoon form. BUT, said luis, not just any cartoon drawings, let’s pay tribute to our most favoritest blog in the whole wide world: HYPERBOLE AND A HALF. we basically live and die by this blog, so it only seemed fitting. this is not just my story of near death in the city of lights, but also a tribute to our favorite blog, hyperbole and a half (if you haven’t ever read this blog, give yourself a good hour and be prepared to laugh your ass off).

the night i almost died started out like any other. except that we were in paris. walking along the champs d’elysee, so really it wasn’t like any other night.

but regardless, after ten straight days of eating no fruits or vegetables or anything that even remotely resembled nutrients, i decided that i was going to forgo the alluring smell of pizza and pasta and order a salad at the italian restaurant we settled in at.

the romantic mood was perfect. a dark corner booth just the right size for two love birds. two newly engaged love birds, on the trip of a lifetime in the most romantic city in the world.

my salad came and i ferociously started at it. it was amazing – the best salad of my life! no salad would or could ever compare. little did i know how true that would be. that lettuce was like pure gold in my mouth – nutrients and vitamins were filling me up faster than i could shovel more greeny goodness into my mouth.

oh salad – i would never leave you uneaten for so long ever again. it felt so good to be reunited.

as we finished off our food and started to walk back home, i felt fuller than i had been all week (which was saying a lot, since i literally ate three chocolate crepes in a day earlier that week). i figured the pain in my stomach that was brewing was merely my stomach finally catching up to my brain – i was full from eating that huge salad, and probably just from the sheer healthiness of it all.

we kept walking along the seine river, taking in the glorious sites. but the more we walked, the more the pain set in. hmmm, i said, i am REALLY full. my stomach really hurts! luis brushed me off as i tend to over eat at pretty much 100% of my meals, so this whole “being really full” thing was routine with me. as more time went by though, i realized this was not just fullness. my stomach was now in panic/pain mode. it started to get worse and worse, and i had to stop frequently to hold my stomach and take deep breathes. it felt like there was a knife stabbing me! after 20 minutes of stop and go, i realized my worst fears had come true: i was going to puke. right here, right now, along the f-ing seine river.

and that is just what i did

mortified doesn’t even begin to describe it. for those of you who haven’t had the chance to visit paris, let me just tell you that the seine river is a force field for making out. couples from all over paris spend hours hanging out along the river in each others arms, kissing on a bench, or walking hand in hand. they watch the twinkling lights of the eiffel tower and the ferry boats go sailing by.

those same couples also got to witness an extremely unattractive american girl puke her brains out into the river.

fast forward 24 hours later, and the vomiting hasn’t stopped. at this point, i couldn’t even swallow from such severe dehydration and my temperature was through the roof. i could barely walk from lack of energy, and told luis i needed to go to the hospital.

enter le hospital:

i entered the emergency room looking like a homeless, deranged crazy person. i was dressed in about ten layers of sweatpants, mismatched socks, t-shirts and various hoodies/coats. i was simultaneously crying and convulsing into a plastic bag and sweating profusely all while shaking uncontrollably.

once i was admitted, the nurses immediately recognized how serious my dehydration and temperature were, and put me on a bed and told me to wait for my nurse to come and give me fluids and medicine.

i sat on that small hospital bed for over an hour before someone came to check on me. i was dozing in and out of consciousness, so at the time i didn’t seem to notice the long wait.

finally, the door swung open, and i was brought face to face with a demon.

this nurse-demon was the real reason i almost died. she told me she needed to take a vile of my blood, but because i was so hot and swollen from my temp, she couldn’t find a vein in my arm. as a result, she stabbed the giant needle into an abnormally small vein in my abnormally tiny hand and proceeded to stick another tube down that needle to suck up the blood. well, you can imagine that with hands as small as mine, that tube did NOT fit into my vein. but despite my screams of pain and agony, she refused to stop until she got enough blood.

after five minutes of some of the worst pain i’ve ever experienced, and my temperature still at a steady 104 and severe dehydration, she pulled the tube out and cursed me for not being able to get the blood she needed. relieved that the horrid needle was out of my aching hand, i laid back down and started wiping away the tears and sweat that had soaked my shirt through the ordeal. that’s when i looked up at her face and saw that she was descending upon me again, reaching for my OTHER hand. i begged her over and over again not to, in my sweetest-maybe-you-have-a-daughter-my-age kind of voice. she had no mercy. the minute she crammed that tube down my vein, i blacked out.

when i came to, my first thought was that i was alive. my second thought was of luis, who was sitting at my feet, delirious from sitting in a french ER waiting room for hours on end watching shampoo commercials with vanessa hudgens. poor luis, he doesn’t speak a word of french, and for almost three hours he paced back and forth hoping to see me or at least find out what room i was in. he didn’t know what to do.

i laid there in my small bed, still burning up a high fever, and thought about how much i missed home. i thought about my bed, about fresh, non-tainted produce, about my family and friends. i felt like i was on fire, not to mention my hand was in the most excruciating pain imaginable (i had both the needle and giant tube shoved down my tiny vein and tapped onto my hand).

i thought about the cats. belle and pig. how i wished i was home tending to the needs of those fat little divas.

the next time i remember waking up, i stayed awake. the IV bag was done, the meds were in my blood system, my temperature was down and i was feeling great. great meaning that for the first time in 48 hours, i didn’t feel like vomiting my guts out for hours on end and my body wasn’t burning itself alive.

i told the first doctor i saw that i was better, that it was almost 4 am and i was ready to leave.

that doctor said, ok, and left.

next doctor, told him the same thing.

ok sure, he said. and never came back.

i sat there, with luis, for another hour. i told countless nurses and doctors that i was better, ready to go home and sleep. more than anything, the throbbing pain in my hand was fueling my desire to leave, as the IV bags were empty and there was a disturbingly large needle just chilling in my vein. i suddenly became very agitated, remembering the nurse-demon and how she tortured me. then i saw her. i told her i wanted the needle out and i wanted to leave. she said no and walked away.

by the time i had asked a third doctor (who spoke english) if i could leave, he told me he was going to keep me overnight. i told him that i very much wanted to leave because i was feeling much better! but he didn’t care. he actually wanted to take MORE of my blood and keep me through the next day.

no way. no way no way no way. he laughed at my protests and told me to lie down because he’d be back for more blood.

oh HELL no.

that’s when i looked quickly out the door to make sure no one was coming, and i peeled off the tight bandages and RIPPED the giant needle out of my vein!!!!!

it was awful. blood was squirting everywhere. i didn’t care. self-inflicted pain had never felt so good.

i threw the needle onto the floor, grabbed my clothes, blotted my hand with a paper towel and bolted for the waiting room. i looked left and right down the hallway, and when no one was coming, i said LUIS! pssstttt! come on, let’s GO!

poor luis looked very confused, but followed me outside regardless of how crazed and manic i looked.

once we were out the doors, we bolted away from that awful place.

we ran until we were back at our apartment (which was two blocks away). i have never wanted to leave a place as badly as i wanted to leave that hospital. i have never had a bad experience at a hospital until that night, and i fully blame the nurse-demon who wanted me to die of hand pain.

the next day, i woke up feeling slightly better, which was still me at my worst in a normal situation. over the next few days once we came home i slowly started eating real foods again, and my stomach healed itself.

however, my vein has not yet healed. i have a collapsed vein thanks to that retched nurse-demon and i’m praying that it heals itself over time.

but – the important part is that i survived and am ok now. you’ll be relieved to know that my appetite has returned in full and i am once again consuming my usual 3,000 calories a day.

this experience has inspired luis to learn french, so that the next time i end up almost dying in a french hospital, he will know where to find me.

and this experience has taught me to never try to stray from the three main food groups of carbs, coffee and chocolate in paris ever, ever again.

we hope you have all enjoyed our story. i would also like to give a big shout out to mah man, luis, who did each and every single one of these drawings himself over the course of many evenings in between the bachelor, glee, mass amounts of girl scout cookies and the kardashians while i jumped up and down excitedly because we have no life.

the end!

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12 responses

  1. I think Luis does have a new career! But, the question is, how many “odd” experiences does Rachel need to have to stimulate his creativity? Will she survive it?

  2. This the worst story ever, but made so much better by the drawings. And this line: “i would also like to give a big shout out to mah man, luis, who did each and every single one of these drawings himself over the course of many evenings in between the bachelor, glee, mass amounts of girl scout cookies and the kardashians while i jumped up and down excitedly because we have no life.”

  3. A few thoughts:

    1. Rach, you are a savage.
    2. The story telling is gripping beyond compare.
    3. Glad to hear you made it back to The City in one piece.
    4. Frog is an artistic GENIUS.
    5. You both rock.

    Hope all is well in SF, we look forward to seeing you both soon! We don’t blog as often (or as well, for that matter) as you guys, but I threw it down as our website in case you guys are board at home one day 🙂 Isn’t life as a mid-20’s couple living in a big city exciting??? haha

  4. So let me get this straight: you dine-and-ditched a French hospital? Allright! I commend you for your American spirit!
    But I am sorry to hear you had to endure that much pain, though. That must’ve been one hell of a time. I’m glad you’re feeling tons better!

    By the way, I have a pro tip for dealing with the French: Next time they give you sass, tell them they’d be sprechen sie Deutsch if it wasn’t for us Americans — that shuts them right up! (Haven’t used it yet, patiently waiting till I get to France… But it should work, right?)

  5. OMG!!!!!!!!!! Like the story isn’t funny and sad enough as it is when Rachel is dramatizing it in person……… but this takes the cake!!!!!!!!! SOOOOO funny!!! Totally LOL’d!!!
    If you need representation for your collapsed vein Rach, I will get that damn evil Nurse!!! Oh wait, she is in Paris….that might be a problem!
    Shelly

  6. What an awful experience but you relayed it so well and had me lol in some parts. Bravo to Luis for the great illustrations! (You should consider him for your wedding invitations.)

  7. You are a champion of champions. I love keeping up with your adventures on this amazing little blog you’ve got going! We need to hang out soon, and congrats on the engagement!!!! xoxo ryanthegirl

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