Nothing could of prepared me for a burger and 8 hour convulsion. It could of been worse though. I could of eaten the whole burger. Now this whole issue started before we got to the rig. We had been travelling for 2 days to get to Turkmenistan.
The job was offshore Turkmenbashi. We arrived here and had to wait for the helicopter, so the company agent took us to a restaurant to get some food.
The menu was relatively small and illegible, but I managed to order a hamburger. Myself and the barge master were the ones that ordered hamburgers. The rest had chicken. Well it might of been pigeon? Or perhaps a rat?
It doesn’t taste right
So the food arrived and I opened the burger up to put on some ketchup. As I opened it, it smelt a bit funky. I smelt it again, then thought maybe it’s the local meat. Or it could of been that I was starving and didn’t really care.
Needless to say, I poured on some ketchup and took a bite. “It doesn’t taste right”, I thought to myself. But then I wasn’t too sure as I had ketchup on it. I got about half way and thought, “No, something isn’t right with this burger”. So I put it down and left it.
Everyone finished and we headed to the heliport. I was still a little bit concerned about what I had just eaten, but by that point 2 hours had passed and I felt nothing. So I let it go.
Am I getting flu
I woke up the following morning and went to gym before the start of my shift. Half way through my routine and started to feel achy. My groin and lower back was aching terribly, so I stopped training and decided to go for a shower.
Half way back to my room, I started feeling weak. It was a strange feeling, but it felt like it was subsiding. I turned the tap on in the shower and stepped in. While I was showering I was feeling cold. So I turned the water temperature up. After my shower I still felt cold and thought that seeing as I still had 30mins before shift started, I would lie down.
I got into bed and started shivering. My room mate (who was also the rope access supervisor) was out and I figured he had gone for breakfast. The shivering increased dramatically and so I got out of bed and put on more clothes, before climbing back into bed.
A burger and a 8 hour convulsion
By this time the shivering had changed into a full on convulsion. I couldn’t do anything but shake about on the bed. Luckily my supervisor walked in and ran straight to me. He took one look at me and said he’s going to get the medic. Funny thing is the medic was with me at the restaurant.
The medic came running into the room (along with the OIM) and proceeded to pick me up and take me to the sick bay. I was at this point convulsing uncontrollably, yet completely coherent. However, I knew exactly what was going on and could hear everything. Admittedly, I couldn’t speak probably, but that was due to the fact that my jaw was snapping open and shut along with the convulsions.
The medic and OIM managed to get me to the sick bay and tried to get me on the gurney, but as I was convulsing I kept rolling off. They ended up strapping my torso down and then the medic tried to administer IV fluids.
Stop making holes in my arm
The medic tried in vain to get the needle into my arm to start the IV drip, but because I was convulsing so badly, he kept making holes in my arm with the needle. Eventually (with the assistance of one of the stewardesses and the OIM), he managed to pin me down long enough to get the drip in.
I continued to shake uncontrollably in the gurney whilst strapped in. He was asking me questions and I was trying to respond, but my jaw wouldn’t stop snapping. It ended up being questions with answers based on eye movements.
I let him know that the only symptoms I was suffering from was the convulsions. Well at least that was all I could feel. After some time, the convulsions slowed down to intermittent, as opposed to insessant. He asked me if I suffered from anything and I said that I didn’t, but that I had a dodgy burger yesterday. He actually remembered me complaining about it. Just as well he did, for what happened next.
We have another man down
While I was lying in the sick bay (still convulsing), another stewardess came flying in and said the medic was needed in a cabin immediately. Turns out, it was the barge master. Apparently he had bypassed the whole flu like symptoms and convulsions that I suffered from and went straight to a black out.
He was found collapsed in the shower with a split forehead. So all hell broke loose on board. The OIM came in to tell me what happened and that the medic would be with me as soon as he could, but he would stay with me until he arrived.
I managed to tell the OIM, that he should get the medic to check the barge master for food poisoning. The OIM asked why that was and I said that I had eaten half the burger and this was the state I was in. However, the barge master on the other hand ate the whole burger.
Is this convulsion ever going to stop?
A couple hours later, the convulsions started to subside. The barge master had been evacuated to a hospital onshore and everything started to settle on board. “Would you like to try some water?”, the medic asked me. It had been about 8 hours before I could consume anything, so it was a welcome suggestion.
I had a small sip of water, but didn’t feel like I could hold it down. The medic explained to me that I would have to be on a strict diet for the next few days. Basically I could eat nothing!
The medic told me that I was to spend the night in the sick bay so he could keep an eye on me. The convulsions had stopped by this point, but the next thing to start was the headache. A migraine would of been more tolerable than the headache I got. But that was down to the 8 hours of violent head shaking and body spasms.
Needless to say, I recovered (obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post) and was declared fit for duties the following day.
So the moral of the story is; Don’t eat burgers from restaurants that smell dodgy in Turkmenbashi!