Back in the hotel room, I ready myself for a night of misery. I leave the bathroom light on but close the door. I get out my pads and load up my underwear to catch the mess. The pain and gas have built up, ready to hurt in the night. I change into my nightgown with trepidation. I sleep, wake up soaked with night sweats, run to the toilet, have diarrhea, pain. Change my shirt, sleep some more, sweat, run, shit, change, sleep. Sweat, run, shit, sleep. The nights have their own pathetic rhythm as my husband quietly snores.
I wake up tired and have my final painful emptying. Why does it have to hurt so much if it’s liquid? We have a few hours until my clinic appointment.Â I get out my yogurt custard and try to spoon a few small bites.Â I’ve had no appetite for months.
I make a video while I’m still in bed and Karsten’s showering. Here I am! See how awful I look! I am pimply and tired, emaciated and wan. I am here to get 10 hookworm larvae in the hopes they will eventually make me better.Â IÂ stare at the rising sun outside the balcony until it’s finally time to get dressed.
I put on my clothes and get ready for my infection.Â I film my steps as we walk across the hotel. Last chance to be parasite free! Here I go, one foot closer to my wellness.
Oh God, please keep me safe and guide me.
We arrive at the clinic without mishap. I go upstairs leaving Karsten again in the waiting room, and I feel like a loud theme song should be played as Dr Llamas lifts the larvae out of a vial and puts it on a band aid.
“Are you ready?” Dr. Llamas asks.
I feel nervous. This is it. I’ve never been infected with a parasite and perhaps that’s the reason I have Crohn’s disease. It all started with a stomach flu that never went away. It’s been 20 years. If this works for me, I am done with researching, trying, hoping, praying. I’ll be done with constant fear and pain.
“I’m ready,” I say, and the $7,800 band-aid is on. We chat about things, but I am staring at the light coming in through the mini blinds. He wraps the bandage with gauze around and around, and the reality of what I’m doing sets it. I am in Tijuana at a strange clinic getting an infectious parasite for an incurable disease.
Oh my God.
I start to feel a strange sensation, like little tiny fingers drumming on my arm.
“I feel something! How many minutes has it been? Jasper checks his watch and says,
“Precisely 7 minutes. You’re completely average!”
It’s the last time he ever utters those words about me.