The current salmonella outbreak started me thinking about my experience with the bacteria 15 years ago. I got it from eating undercooked beef liver—my own fault.
I had gotten up at 4:00 a.m. to drive my son to meet a group that was taking a weekend hike on a mountain. When I got home I asked my daughter Jill if she was cold. She said, "If you're cold, maybe you have a fever. It's not cold in here." Boy, did I have a fever! Within a half hour I was shaking so much, teeth chattering, that I, who usually avoid doctors and hospitals, asked my DH to drive me to the ER.
I couldn't walk from the car to the entrance. In a bed in the ER, I was delirious, thinking my cat Nocci was on the bed with me. I couldn't open my eyes or communicate very well, but I could hear people around me. I know at one point my BP was 80/28. I don't know if it got any lower.
They did a culture and diagnosed me with salmonella. They started antibiotics. I was in the ER all day. They wanted to admit me to the hospital, but I insisted on going home late that night.
Without getting too graphic, I'll just say that salmonella is one very messy illness. The Dept. of Health called me the next day and said it's highly contagious, so I would have to clean up after myself. I could barely raise my head from the pillow. They told me the antibiotics the hospital had prescribed would do no good, but I kept taking them anyway. I think that was probably a good thing, as a raging infection like that could have spread into something unmanageable. It attacked my colon to the point where there was lots of blood.
I was in bed for more than two weeks, during which time I couldn't even imagine myself being well. Jill told me later that she feared I would never get better. I've had wicked cases of the flu ("Martian Death Flu"), but I have never been as sick as I was with salmonella.
Months later, I went back to the ER to thank the doctor for his good care, and he told me I had such a severe case that if I hadn't been so healthy going into it, I might not have survived.
I never ate liver again.