My Food Phobia

The mind works in mysterious ways. At least I know mine does. I claim to have an eating disorder. No it’s not anorexia.

I have a difficult time eating if I don’t know the cleanliness practices that were used while preparing food. I didn’t grow up worrying about such things, but for my adult life I’ve had this fear. I know it’s irrational to go into a fast food place where 12 teenagers, without a care in the world past body piercings and heavy metal music are preparing food that has been handled by who knows what.

Those places are all suppose to have health department standards but we all know how many of them get failing grades when the health department shows up. Proof that it’s all in my head, because I eat in fast food establishments most of the time.

This phobia of mine goes back to when I was just turning 21 years old. To celebrate our August 1973 birthdays, Madeline booked a trip of a lifetime for us. We went to Big Bend and spent a couple of days. Then on to Presidio, Texas where we boarded a train leaving out of Ojinaga, Mexico.

Please know this isn’t my interpretation of a Texas map. It was the best I could come up with that somewhat shows the scope of our trip.

This trip has some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. For miles and miles you skirt along the rim of the Copper Canyon, being compared to the depth and grandeur of the Grand Canyon. As we traveled along we saw several complete trains laying in the bottom of enormous deep canyons. When they jumped the track, there was no stopping them, nor retrieving them.

Our first night was a stopover in Chihuahua at beautiful historic hotel, of Poncho Villa fame.

The next morning we were back on the train for another day of breathtaking views. That night we arrived in Los Mochas. We were treated to fantastic accommodations.
We ate at the hotel and both had shrimp fixed the same way.

Afterwards we went to bed , with plans to go on to the little fishing village of Topolobamo the next morning. I was turning 21 years old that day.

About 2:00 AM I awoke with the most severe pains I’d ever felt. The feeling of being stabbed with hot knives was my best description. I’m sure my screams were unnerving to Madeline. Once the pain got to a certain level I would pass out, only to wake up after a little while to go through the same thing all over again.

We had became aquatinted with another couple on the trip down, that were from Baton Rouge, La. Luckily she was a Registered Nurse. Unable to find a doctor to come to me or a place they could take me to, they did the next best thing. They went to a pharmacy and loaded up on anything that would help me survive. Lot of pain meds. After surviving for that whole day, I just wanted to get back to Texas.

The only way out was a 24 hour point to point train trip. It went straight through without stopping for the night, as our trip down provided. I don’t really remember the trip back. I just stayed doped up enough trying to survive.

Sometime along the way back I felt like taking pictures. When we developed the film there were some bizarre photos is the best way I can describe it. I wasn’t very good at focusing at that point.

We arrived back in Texas the next day. There was no hospital in Presidio so she took me to Alpine, about 3 hours away.
I don’t remember any of that two days. I can only imagine what we must have looked like trying to re-enter the US.

After getting me in the caring hands of hospital, she went to a hotel to get some rest. When she showed up at the hospital early the next morning I was dressed and sitting on the front steps. Seeing her drive up was the first time I remember anything. She wanted to know if they released me. I suppose I found my clothes, got dress and wondered out unnoticed.

I went and got in the car and refused to go back inside. I don’t think I had any idea where I was. I’m not sure why I wouldn’t go back in, but I just wanted to see Austin, Texas. Eventually she explained to them that I wasn’t coming back in so we made our way back home.

During that few days I lost about 25 lbs. That’s a lot for someone that only weighted about 150 at the time.

I have often thought about what a disaster it would have been if we both had contracted food poisoning that night.

These photos are ones found online and not out trip photos. Just to show the magnificent beauty.

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