Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to fight a tummy bug in Jakarta

Like most newcomers to Jakarta, we've had trouble with the hygiene. I mean, I come from Malaysia, which isn't exactly the cleanest place in the world. I've eaten at places where there are rats running around your feet and you've got to keep your feet propped up on the stool provided or you'll get a visitor up your pants. The food was delicious though! Hehe. I usually get tummy bugs at mamak stalls when the condensed milk they use to make my beloved teh ais isn't too fresh and then I get it. Otherwise, I'm usually okay.

But Jakarta is well... different. I've been here twice before and I got the runnies the first time simply because I didn't know tap water wasn't quite suitable for brushing your teeth. The 2nd time I was here, I was careful to keep my mouth shut during showers and only brushed with the bottled water provided and I was okay.
Dear Hubby isn't having it as easy though. He's been here for 5 months now and he's gotten sick at least once each month. This isn't endearing the city to him as he'd lived in KL for 5 years and only gotten sick twice. I can't remember the first time he was sick but I clearly remember the 2nd time. It was at his farewell dinner and he'd gotten sick because he'd eaten too much sushi and sashimi at a top-notch Japanese restaurant.

Our latest incident in Jakarta was on Monday. He'd come home from work looking positively green. I knew he was not feeling well at all. Lunch at the restaurant near his office had not been agreeable. He spent most of the evening running in and out of the toilet and according to him, all that came out was brown water. Eek.
He took Immodium, which normally helps plug him up but this time, it didn't work. I didn't know what to do, he was looking sick as a dog and all we could do was fill him up with fluids. I was starting to feel a bit ill myself. It wasn't sympathetic sickness though, something was wrong with the hotel dinner I'd ordered and I was starting to feel its effects.
I was getting worried because when he's sick like this, he's normally out for about a week. I knew there was no way I could persuade him to stay home the next day as the Global Director was coming for a visit and they were scheduled to meet a big client. So I was racking my brains, trying to think of something that might put him right.

Suddenly I remembered something DG told me. DG's an old online friend who comes to Jakarta frequently for business (and has kindly volunteered to be my pool boy, thanks DG!) and he'd told me that a swig of whiskey neat did the trick. No sense going for the expensive ones, he said, just pick a cheap whiskey. After all, you're going after the alcohol content, not the taste. Kills the germs, so said DG.
So while Dear Hubby's throwing up in the toilet, I went to the kitchenette and poured him some whiskey into a glass. Not much, just a little. I didn't want him drunk. He looked utterly sceptical but I insisted and anyway, I've never known him to refuse a whiskey. :))

And guess what? It worked! He woke up the next day, still feeling a bit groggy but was well enough by lunch time to eat a slice of pizza. By evening, he bounced through the front door, looking quite well and went off to the company dinner, wolfing down curry and beer. Thanks for the tip, DG!

As for me? I suffered through a tummy bug for the entire day yesterday and threw up twice. No whiskey for me, can't risk it with Little Monkey on board.


  1. My dear girl, is a persistent tummy bug good for the little monkey? Or would a sip of whiskey be the lesser of 2 evils??

  2. PB: I thought about that too but luckily the tummy bug cleared up in a day and I happily wolfed down food the next day. So far, so good. *touch wood*