I remember the principal trainer for my group in Peace Corps, whose name was Prudence—Pru for short—talking to us about dehydration.
And on a side bar, I would really like an em-dash button on my keyboard. I always have to go googling and copying, because otherwise I just get the double dash, which I don't enjoy the look of, functional as it may be.
For the most part, I quite liked her.
But every once in a while she'd do somethings like try to force our van of tired selves to sing camp-type songs on the road back from a training exercise.
We were all adults in our 20s and 30s, and we wanted to sit quietly, or chat with the person sitting next to us.
We'd been busy all day. We didn't want to sing songs all the way home.
Another time, we had to write an essay or something. Pru wanted us all to sit quietly until everyone finished writing. Not to discuss. Just so she could dismiss us all together.
I asked why we couldn't just leave when we were done.
And she asked me if I was an only child.
But I remember clearly this story she told us, which has stuck in my mind lo these many years.
She started out talking about a long bus trip.
I was going to say "the thing about buses in Ecuador"—but there were many things.
The most concerning issue was that you took it as a good sign when the brakes squealed, because then at least you knew they were working as you rounded tight curves on steep Andean roads carved just deeply enough into the side of the mountain for one lane of cars each direction.
Sometimes you'd sit and hold your breath as your driver and another met in opposing directions on a tight turn, and had to take turns backing up by inches so they could pass each other.
It was always more comforting to be on the inside of the turn in those situations.
I remember sitting by the window, looking at the 3,000-foot drop we'd plummet down if our driver backed up a wee bit too far.
The drivers always seemed pretty cavalier with the loud music and constant flirting with the girlfriend they brought along and such, but they must've been really, really skilled.
Anyway, the other thing about these busses was that stopping for a bathroom break was at the whim of the bus driver. I remember begging, pleading with a drive to stop, just for 30 seconds, so I could pee on the side of the road next to the bus.
It's super weird to think of that here. You definitely couldn't do this with the Peter Pan bus on the New Jersey Turnpike.
But I've also never seen livestock or grain sacks on an American bus.
Aanyway, the safest thing to do for a 12-hour bus ride was not to drink water. Or drink a little but also eat salty snacks.
One of my fellow volunteers wound up with a kidney infection. Your body needs to be processing liquid.
So, in Pru's story, being a seasoned bus rider, our trainer had taken this no-water approach, and arrived home utterly exhausted. And then the next day she had these tiny rabbit poops.
Which wasn't surprising to talk about, because we talked about our poop all the time. Because nobody's bowel movements were normal.
We got all kinds of parasites.
My exquisitely beautiful friend Neeta kept getting worms. The lesson she had to learn more than once was not to buy tripe from the street vendor.
Me, I got giardia, and because it is a smell you never forget, I was able to correctly identify Jordan's case and insist the pediatrician get him tested.
So back to Pru's story. The lesson of which was that dehydration, particularly at altitude, was dangerous.
And among the symptoms were exhaustion and rabbit poops.
Should this happen, you knew you needed to hydrate.
This was an excellent bit of teaching, at least for me, as it made a big impression and stuck with me way longer than any factual historical information ever has.
And every time that happens to me, I think of Pru.
Which is to say, Pru popped into my mind this morning.
The truth is, I was warned by multiple people that Zofran can make you constipated.
I had a telehealth visit with the oncology NP yesterday, who I really liked when I was talking to her directly.
Because I'd been quite offended when the nurses reported her saying that it would be highly unusual to be nauseated on anastrozole. As if I couldn't be trusted to report my symptoms.
Or like she was saying I shouldn't be feeling the way I was in fact feeling.
When she repeated that yesterday, it was clearly in a caring manner. Like, they pretty much never have people with nausea to the point of needing medication.
The fact that I was taking Zofran more than once a day was concerning. I'm to message her on Monday about my symptoms to see if we need to change meds.
So, Zofran, she told me, they don't like you on it for long. It can make you constipated.
And I was all, ohh yeah. Checked that box already.
Because it happens to me whenever I travel, I thought I knew constipation. But this is industrial strength.
This particular flavor of constipation is resistant to Smooth Move tea, prune juice, gallons of water, raw carrots, lots of walking, yoga, and hot water with lemon first thing in the morning.
It's making me long for the days of foraging in the woods for poop sticks.
I have to say, though, I'm kind of impressed.