Thursday, June 22, 2006

Meet My New Friend, Fred!

Bathroom humor is all part of being a Peace Corps volunteer. You get to a point where you and your fellow PCVs openly discuss bowel movements over dinner.

For a year now, I've been joking about Fred, a worm that lives inside of me. Though I didn't really think I had a worm, it was good enough to explain the weird stomach ailments, weight loss and general malaise in the digestive tract. Call him an imaginary friend. Whatever. But he typically surfaced in conversation. Just the other night, I was telling some other volunteers how I was feeling a little queasy because Fred was acting up a bit.

Turns out that Fred isn't imaginary at all. In fact, he's very real. And he might have friends. Yesterday, after giving a few, um, samples, I got the diagnosis that I have roundworms. Not the tiny little worms you can't see but under a microscope. But the big round ones that grow as long as 15 inches. "Amazingly, up to a hundred worms can infect one person," says one bit of research. Uh, amazing. Unless it's your gut!

Roundworms are common when you live in a tropical country, especially one like the Philippines with poor, unsanitary conditions. Not a big surprise that most people get them here at one point or another. Perhaps I should consider it a badge of honor in the Peace Corps. Does this mean I'm a real volunteer?

I guess I'll chalk it up to experience and hope they don't come back. For now, I'm off to the C.R. (bathroom) to clean out the system....


Blogger Dunc said...

What, no photos of "Fred"?! I need to lose weight but don't want "Fred" or any of his friends in my innards!!

All kidding aside...hope you're better soon.--Cousin Dunc

8:37 PM  
Blogger Pinay Army PA said...

Kumusta? Nakakadiri naman ng posting mo. Biru lang. First time ko pa lang sa blog mo. Nakakatuwa. I've never really read anyone describing their worm before, even naming it. The only time I can remember having a roundworm was when I was very little, when I was around 4 or so. They gave me meds to get rid of it. I didn't have the sense of humor to name it back then, I was too young.
I'm quite impressed how you're assimilating in the Philippines. Your description of your experience of being in two worlds is quite like what I felt when I first came to the states from the Philippines. I met GMA before, too. I met her in L.A. when she was a VP during a Lubenean. She's from where I'm from in Pampanga. Have you had a chance to visit Pampanga yet? I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I have a friend who has a sister in the Peace Corps. She hasn't written back on my last e-mail. I commend you for getting yourself out of the rat race and doing something completely different. I started my own blog. Check it out if you're interested. Would love to chat with you in Tagalog. Sige, ingat ka diyan.

9:58 PM  
Blogger geary said...

Dear Fred - get out of my sister's behind! Seriously, my dear sister - you have the best sense of humor that I have EVER known. Not sure what I would do under those circumstances. Do you want me to send you some MREs?

Love you - Geary (aka Ms. Wiggly's sister)

7:30 PM  
Blogger wrcampiii said...

WOW! I don't think you wanted THAT kind of Philippine experience! Glad to hear you are feeling better. Take care. Love, Dad

5:51 AM  
Blogger . said...


7:05 PM  
Blogger mclxiii said...

Sorry to hear that you had those nasty squirmy things in you. I did go through that twice myself when I was still living there.

8:59 PM  

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