I discovered superbugs in 1997. I came out of a documentary shoot from a jungle in Malaysia, carrying a fever that got a bit stickier every day. After 10 days, I checked into an emergency room. parasites
I suspected monkey meat. I had recently read Hot Zone, a book on the Ebola virus in which the index patient has contact with a simian. I had tasted medium-rare monkey with a nearly extinct tribe known as the Senoi Temiar. In addition to fever, I also detected a fresh and mysterious lump, the size of an organic free-farm egg, under my armpit.
I was called in to see a doctor after a blood test. She didn’t raise her eyes to greet me. Her index finger told me to “hold a sec.” She read through a report, picked up a telephone, and pressed a short dial.
“We have a code nine three… ” she said, and placed the phone back into the cradle.
The good news was that I was lucky to have come to the hospital to get checked, because judging by my blood values, I would have lived about three days without treatment.
The bad news was that the bug that was hijacking my bloodstream had no identity. I had to be treated with antibiotics immediately, but she wasn’t sure which one, yet.
I was relieved. At least it wasn’t Ebola. It was “just a bug, right?”
Before she had a chance to respond, two big dudes in white overalls pushed through the door. I’d seen them earlier in the hallway wrestling one patient into what seemed to be a straitjacket. I wondered if they were part time bikers. One of them told me to lie down on a stretcher.
My brain swerved to Paranoia Drive. While they pushed me through an underground hallway, chatting about their weekend plans, and ignoring my queries about our final destination, I gained my first real appreciation for microbial lifeforms.
We’re divided down to the particle. A sum total of 100 trillion micro-organisms fool us with singularity. Hundreds of thousands of microbial species exchange and trade nutrients, chemicals, information, and energy to keep the mother ship ticking. It’s a balance you don’t want to disrupt — although due to the standard toxic load that comes with modern living, it’s probably too late.
I was on antibiotics in the jungle and then quit, two or three pills early. My resistance was already down from lack of sleep and travel. From a microbial perspective, I’d carpet-bombed a civilization, and left the fittest Spartans to evolve.
The survivors had to fight off a Rommel barrage of intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. I lost 24 pounds in three days. My tongue and throat blew up with boils- from an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. My mother didn’t recognize me. I readBreakfast Of Champions in record time.
A doctor walked in and discovered a despondent blow fish. He took a brief look at me, whispered to the nurse, and left. She leaned over and said that there was one more experimental drug on the way.
“This is the one,” she said and tapped my shoulder.
I shared the ward with an 89-year-old, classic era cinematographer. Kaarle also had an infection. He’d been under the dripper for two days. He joked that we had about the same life span left. He also explained how to use three hours to frame a perfect shot. The camera had to be bolted to the floor. He even mentioned the size of the steel bolts. That was on a Sunday; on Tuesday he was dead.
Two days after Kaarle’s departure, I was still under the dripper, with the new experimental antibiotic going frontal against the “300” – the last frontier of super Spartans. As the temperature in my brain increased, a liquid blue metal flooded my dreams. I flowed through a red haze, leaving a wake of dead, frosty blood cells behind. I was the liquid version of Mr. Freeze, personifying the poison in my veins.
I woke up to a pain in my wrist where the needle had been inserted. It felt like an icicle about to crack. They’d been pumping this stuff into me, err, for how long? I was delirious. I sensed someone was in the room and mumbled that she was “a bad witch.” Whoever was in the room responded very calmly and said that the dropper was warm.
A moment later, she disconnected the needle.
A day later, she gave me blueberry yogurt.
Shortly after, I recovered.
I walked out of the hospital as if nothing ever happened. And nothing ever would.
I repeated the mistake a decade later. This time I opened the gateway to a gang of parasites from an underground Voodoo cavern in Haiti. To shoot the ritual – a first for a white man – I stood in feces, blood, and entrails, a bacteriological Shangri-La. And I was taking Zipro as a countermeasure. Big mistake.
By the time I was back in the U.S., I started losing weight again, quick. Ten pounds in a week. Cedars Sinai concluded that two of the three parasites were unidentifiable. A natural doctor identified two more unidentifiable visitors. Cedars prescribed more antibiotics. The natural doctor meanwhile told me to give up sugar, do a herbal parasite cleanse, and under no circumstance touch antibiotics.
If you’re newbie to parasites, you’ll most likely end up going with antibiotics. Since I’d already made that mistake twice, I went for the herbs. Pumpkin seeds, wormwood, propolis, trace minerals, garlic, cloves, neem, thyme, marshmallow root, cinchona, and what looked like Chinese crackers. I dropped two-thirds of my menu and bar items. I went all the way to a neighboring galaxy, with an Amazonian medicine, thinking it would disenfranchise me from the critters.
What I was really doing, however, was closing the door on them temporarily. If you fail your body (with bad nutrition, for example) or your mind (with stress, for example), you create an opening for them. Sometimes, if your immune system is on the edge, all it takes is a full moon to turn the handle.
Parasites play on a higher level than bacteria do, judging from their ability to mess with our biosphere. They have influence over not just our biological, but also our mental domain. They’re present in most humans, although only a minority of us are aware of them.
The load factor on our immune system increases with the presence of parasites. Their trigger systems are delicate. They can tip over a weak resistance and then take over. You will certainly sense them, but never in exactly the same way. It’s like dealing with conniving shape-shifters, who have the ability to mess with both your gut and your neurotransmitters (read: behavior).
It gets weirder. The timing with the full moon is no joke. Parasitic symptoms often begin two or three days before the lunar disc is complete. The manifestation is individual. In pronounced cases you may experience fever, hallucinations, and/or intermittent vomiting. Whatever the symptoms, they are usually exacerbated between sunset and sunrise. Some full moons you may feel nothing, which is even more insidious (they’re probably regrouping).
Other symptoms may include:
- gas and bloating
- irritable bowel syndrome
- joint and muscle aches
- cravings, especially sugar
- skin conditions
- sleep disorders
- hyperactivity, anxiety
- teeth grinding
- chronic fatigue
- fuzzy thinking
- runny nose
- blisters on lower lip inside mouth
- loss of appetite
- bad taste in the mouth
- food allergies
- dark areas under eyes
- yeast/candida infection
Parasitic influence on our body and mind should be the subject of serious scientific study, but it’s not. Humans play host to hundreds of identified species that can infect the brain, the digestive system, the lungs, liver, muscles and joints, the throat, blood, skin, and the eyes. We don’t know anything about the majority, the unidentified ones, except that they range from microscopic to several feet long like the tapeworm. We also know almost nothing about their modus operandi.