We were on vacation in Belize, staying at a resort in the jungle. That day, we had gone tubing on a river that runs through a system of caves, wearing head lamps and floating through the pitch black caverns for hours. I was a little concerned about the creepy crawly things that exist in the wet, Central American darkness. But what I should have been more concerned about was the creepy crawly things that existed on my boyfriend's big toe.
We returned to our hotel and spent that night and the next day in lockdown mode. He had a kidney stone for a few weeks which caused a lot of pain, but he had passed the stone that morning, so a celebration was in order.
The place where we were staying was a tiny “boutique-style” resort, so the staff pretty much knew what everyone was up to at any given time. When we didn’t come out of our room, they actually called to make sure everything was okay.
Everything was fine. But if they had snuck a peek into our room, they would have thought they were witnessing something illegal -- my boyfriend is the take-charge type, and I’m down for anything he suggests, and I wrote some examples but deleted them because I’m afraid my dad will read this.
Anyway, during this particular rendezvous, he rubbed his feet all over my region, and mean all over. I may or may not have had a pillow over my head. Yep, we're filthy. Unfortunately, so were his feet.
This is where the waters get a little murky -- for cave tubing, we wore our sneakers instead of water shoes, and they got wet and were submerged in the water throughout the day. Even though we took showers at the national park after we went tubing, he put on his sneakers afterward, so whatever foreign matter was in them probably got onto his feet again.
Anyway, I was OK for a few days. We drove down to the southern part of the country for the next leg of our trip, and it was there that I began to feel like I had a urinary tract infection. I had a major urge to pee, but only a small amount would trickle out, and it burned and stung, and the urge didn't go away.
I looked for pills to treat a urinary tract infection at the resort's gift shop, but no such luck. And then the feeling just subsided. Yay for having a healthy immune system!
On my first day back at work, I was slogging through a bunch of e-mails when a pain began to develop in my back, on the lower left side in the kidney area. It wasn't significant enough to warrant much attention, and when exchanging texts with my boyfriend that afternoon, I didn't even mention it.
But within an hour, the pain had grown to the point where I was slamming my feet on the floor in agony. I had forgotten about the vacation urinary tract infection, but it hadn't forgotten about me -- it was back, now reappearing as something much more serious.
I went down the hall to my older co-worker, who I turn to with any vague and concerning health conditions because she is a grandmother, so I figure she has some experience and authority. She told me I "looked like death," felt my forehead and face and said I was clammy and burning up with fever.
More symptoms kept emerging. I felt lightheaded, and I ran to the bathroom and threw up. My pee was a sort of a murky, disturbing color, kind of like iced tea. I made my way back to my desk and Googled "urinary tract infection.” I found that if a bladder/urinary tract infection is left untreated, it can turn into a kidney infection, which could also cause a full-body infection called sepsis, and that's potentially fatal.
So, I left work (it was 5 p.m. so I didn't even get to blow off early -- total ripoff, kind of like getting sick on a weekend) and drove myself to a hospital.
One of the other symptoms of a kidney infection is disorientation, which explains why I missed a turn and drove in a really confused state for more than 10 minutes before turning around. As I walked from the parking garage to the emergency department, I felt like I was about to collapse, the pain was so severe, and I was sobbing.
I had a bunch of tests and a CAT scan over the course of six hours, and they confirmed I did have an acute kidney infection. They said a kidney infection can cause permanent kidney damage, and said I got back to the U.S. just in time before it got even more serious. They loaded me up with fluids and antibiotics, along with a few handouts, which said "vigorous sex" was the leading cause of kidney infections, because it has the danger of introducing foreign matter into the urinary tract.
Then it hit me: My boyfriend's podiatral probing put me in the hospital.
It had to have been it. He was sitting at my bedside in his professional work attire, adjusting my pillows for me and getting me snacks and doing the things loving boyfriends do. A part of me was thinking, “Hey buddy, you better damn well make sure I’m comfortable, because you got me into this mess!”
The nurses and doctors must have known that what I had was the result of crazy sex. I mean, it said it in the literature they gave me. How embarrassing. You don't really hear much about how an untreated urinary tract infection can turn serious so fast. What would have happened if I hadn't sought treatment that night?
So, bottom line, be careful. As for me, the next time my boyfriend's feet get near my girl parts, my foot is going straight up his ass. Wait, he might like that…