Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Quantum BRAT Diet

As A mentioned in the last post about dinner at Chic, I got sick on Day 9 of our Quantum vacation. Based on all the symptoms (which I won't get into here), I'm pretty sure it was food poisoning, but from what, I have no idea. It's pretty impossible to determine, especially when you're eating and drinking so many different things from so many different places made by so many different people over a short period of time. Whatever it was from, it happened, and I had to figure out how to deal with it on the ship. Trying to cope with this on a floating vessel in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean was much more difficult than being at home where you have a lot more control. I pretty much spent the next day and a half (until dinner on Day 11) trying to follow the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet to recover, so I'm going to combine all of my meals from that time into this one post.

I skipped breakfast the first day after the incident. I was still recovering from a really late night of food poisoning and spent the entire time in bed. (Actually, pretty much spent the entire day in bed, thankful for a channel that played DreamWorks movies all day.) A went up to the Windjammer and looked for things to bring back for me. The ideal thing would have been bananas, but it was only 75% of the way through the trip, and the entire ship was out of bananas. How do you run out of bananas? It's not exactly the type of thing that's menu-dependent. Three days of no bananas? Someone's calculations were pretty off. That made trying to do BRAT a little difficult.

At lunch, I still didn't have much of an appetite but went up to the Windjammer anyway, partially because we had to vacate the room for the stateroom attendant to clean. I ate some rice (buttery, so not good), the insides of some French bread, and some really dry roast chicken. Not exciting, but it was what I needed. I pretty much just picked at it and ate very little. There were no bananas, no applesauce, and no toaster, so this was going to have to do. I would normally not have moved to chicken within 12 hours, but not a lot of options.

We spent most of the time between lunch and dinner just resting in the room, watching movies, napping, and trying not to feel sick, between my food poisoning issues and really rough seas. We were in the front of the ship, and for whatever reason, you could feel all of the swells way more than we had on any other ship. Sea bands didn't really help either. Adding the seasickness on top of the food poisoning after-effects was not fun.

Dinner that night was at American Icon, which A will write about more later, but I went straight for the Simple Tastes menu there. I still didn't have much of an appetite but I knew I had to eat, so I went for the grilled chicken which seemed safe. The one on the Simple Tastes menu came with root vegetable mash and steamed green beans, which on a normal day would sound good, but I ditched those and asked for a dry baked potato. What arrived also had some sort of brown sauce on it, which I wasn't expecting and didn't ask for, but it turned out okay. I thought it would be plain grilled chicken since the menu didn't mention a sauce, but I guess the restaurants couldn't turn out anything that plain. I think my digestive system was so beaten up and I still had so little appetite that I couldn't even finish this.

The next morning, I ate half of a banana after getting up. I think my parents, after they heard that there weren't any more bananas anywhere on the ship, gave us a banana they had stashed in their room earlier. Then we went up to the Solarium for breakfast. I was starting to feel a little more normal (other than the rocky seas) so I tried eating some more - a little bit of a turkey chorizo patty, a toasted English muffin, a toasted piece of white bread, and a few spoonfuls of yogurt. I was pretty glad Devinly Decadence had a toaster. Although I wasn't reacting badly to food anymore, I didn't want to stress my already irritated stomach while not at home, so I was trying to play it very safe. I really just wanted to eat bananas and toast for the entire time since this started, so at least I finally got some of both. A also managed to find some pears for me at the Windjammer for a snack, since that was the closest thing I could think of to applesauce. Trying to follow BRAT on board the ship was so much harder than doing it at home. After breakfast, more movies.

We went back to the Windjammer for lunch that day. I thought I would branch out and try some chicken and vegetable broth, thinking that could be good for an irritated stomach. After a tiny spoonful of broth, I stopped, because it occurred to me that I had no idea what vegetables would be included in their vegetable broth. What if it was one that I already have issues with, like broccoli? My brain had totally blanked out on that possibility when I was walking around the buffet, but at least I remembered before I had more broth. I thought I'd eat the crackers instead while waiting for A to get food, but they were soggy and stale.

After ditching the broth, I got a little more buttery rice, a turkey burger patty, a hot dog bun, some baguette pieces, and a very dry piece of grilled salmon. It was so bland and boring (other than the turkey burger), but seemed fairly safe. We rested through the afternoon again, watching more movies and napping some more, as the seas were still rough. By dinnertime, I was feeling well enough to stop trying to do BRAT and just make careful choices with regular foods, so I'll pick up with those meals in our regular posts.

So how hard was it to deal with food poisoning on the ship? It was pretty difficult. They always recommend a bland diet like BRAT when you're recovering, but the ship had (1) no bananas, (2) buttery-tasting rice, (3) no applesauce, (4) only occasional access to a toaster, and (5) stale crackers. (On other trips where there were always bananas everywhere, this might have been easier.) I pretty much had to stick to various forms of (untoasted) white breads and dry grilled chicken or turkey or fish, which is usually not where I start after an episode like this. Luckily I was able to recover enough to be able to eat somewhat normally two days later, but those two days were pretty difficult. Hopefully this won't ever happen again.

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