A Tale of Gastrointestinal Turbulence

Toilet seat

Image Credit: Pixabay

Last year, during this time, I had gone to India to visit my family and do some soul searching in Benares, on the banks of the Ganges. Apart from being one of the holy cities in India, Benares is a glutton’s paradise. I tried to find the meaning of my life in pipping hot Kacchori, spicy Alu ki Sabzi, Tamatar Chaat, hot Samosas, crispy Jalebis, and some soothing cold Lassi topped with Rabri at the famous Pahalwan’s Lassi shop. My soul was satisfied after the week long trip. My stomach was NOT. This post is to remind myself about my bad day at 35,000 feet in the air.

Waiting at the airport, I heard the first rumbling sounds in my stomach. It was past midnight. I was dozing off in my chair when a faint explosive sound inside jolted me back to the present. Brushing it off as my stomach’s call for food, I tried to sleep again. Little did I know that it was a warning call by my stomach, similar to the ones given by a volcano before it erupts. The call of Nature, they say.

As soon as I settled down between a sleepy middle aged woman in the aisle seat and a chirpy young girl on the window, the first signs of Traveler’s Diarrhea started bothering me. A gluttonous soul, sometimes, brings illness to the body. Cramps and nausea overwhelmed me, not the air turbulence. In my mind, I was trying to remember my Geography teacher; how she used to explain that air bubbles build up the pressure inside a volcano and how magma explodes to the surface when this pressure gets released. I was resisting the urge to pass obnoxious fumes in order to save my fellow passengers. At least, I was trying my best!

Usually, I feel claustrophobic inside an aircraft lavatory and try to hold my bladder tight while flying. Not this time. For the next nine hours, I was running between the toilet seat and the middle seat. The toilet seat seemed more comfortable than my assigned seat on the aircraft. Whenever I came out of the loo, I met a queue with at least four pairs of accusing eyes looking directly at me. I lost count of the number of times I requested the woman on the aisle seat to move her legs to let me continue my run. At the end, she gave up and gallantly offered her seat.

Medicines could not help me to restrict my onward journey to the loo. My cautious brain refused the food offered by the airlines. I can’t explain the pain of munching on salted crackers while inhaling the aroma of lunch being served around.

After landing safely on the ground, it took me more than a week to recover with multiple visits to doctor. But the incident has made me respect the mechanism of airborne waste control technology. Does it already take into account the number of passengers onboard who might suffer from diarrhea while traveling? Or is ‘blue ice‘ a dirty truth? I’m still searching the answers on Google.