Nueva Vida: A soccer ball kicks off a series of unfathomably unfortunate events

Nueva Vida: A soccer ball kicks off a series of unfathomably unfortunate events

– Uh
– Hm? Yeah we’re ready. Just… recording-. – I’m talking to you. – So just go over the story from the beginning. – So it started seven or eight years ago during
an intramural soccer game. I got hit in the head by the ball. I’d been hit in the head by the ball my whole life. But this time I guess it hit me in the wrong
spot at the wrong velocity and it did something, I didn’t think much of it at the time, I just
kept playing the game. It wasn’t until two weeks later when my grandparents
came to visit that they noticed I was drinking a lot of water at lunch and I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was just because it was getting
warmer out so I was getting dehydrated a bit so I was drinking more. But I promised I’d go get it checked out. So I went to the hospital and they did a water
deprivation exam… overnight. My arm looked like I was a heroin addict because
they’d had medical students come in during the night every hour to test my blood and
they concluded that I had diabetes insipidus. My pituitary gland had been damaged to the
point where it didn’t produce anti-diuretic hormone anymore meaning that my body wasn’t
regulating fluids so if I didn’t drink any water I would eventually pee out
all the foods in my body. So from that point on I had to take synthetic
anti-diuretic hormone twice a day which is kind of annoying. But anyway, that’s life now… um So about five years ago now I went down to
Mexico for my first season of fieldwork on an archeological project in the Yucatan Peninsula. And I brought a bunch of pills to last me
the whole trip but after a while the pills started to disintegrate into a powder and
I thought that that meant they’re also losing their potency. So I started to take what I thought was the
appropriate amount. But I was getting more and more dehydrated. And I was drinking more water. I was taking more of this pill powder but
I was getting sicker and sicker until the point where I couldn’t leave my hammock for
an entire week. Finally I was taken to the hospital and they
did a couple of tests and they realized that I was not dehydrated. I was actually over hydrated and had been
poisoning myself with these pills. I diluted my blood to the point where my sodium
level had dropped way down. Turns out my condition carried a 50/50 mortality
rate but they didn’t tell me until afterwards. So I had had a near-death experience without
even realizing it. After four days in the hospital in the air
conditioning after having been in extreme heat for a while I lost my voice. I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything really for a week. So I was pretty out of it and like a true
idiot I decided to pick myself up with a double or triple shot espresso which promptly set
off a 24 hour manic episode. And I didn’t sleep all night obviously I feel
really bad for my roommate. Who had to put up with me I was running around the room doing some crazy
stuff, I guess. So in the morning after staying up all night. Feeling great I decided it would be a good
idea to hop a bus across the peninsula about a four and a half hour drive to Cancun to
catch a flight to New York to let my parents know that everything was okay. On the bus I finally got some sleep and when
I woke up I had adjusted a bit and realized that this was ridiculous. So immediately when I got to Cancun I got
back on a bus to go back to the small town Oxkutzcab where we were working. And about three hours into the trip we were
still on the East Coast. So I realized it was going to take a long
time. And my dad suggested that I just get in a
cab get back to the place where I was going as quickly as possible no matter how much it cost. So I found a cab but unfortunately the driver
had never driven outside of the tourist zone. But eventually he got some sketchy directions
and we set off. And the guy didn’t think I spoke much Spanish
because I had laryngitis. And so I quickly fell asleep in the back seat. When I woke up it was dark. We were at a gas station. …I don’t know where. And another guy got in the front seat. I thought it was a little weird but then they
started to talk to each other thinking that I didn’t speak any Spanish. “All right, you’ll drop me off in my town. Then I’ll get in the van with my buddies and
we’ll follow you and we’ll pull you over and we’ll machete the tourist and you can go back
to the coast to the tourist place. No problem. This happens all the time, don’t worry about it. Justicia Social.” We did finally drop the guy off in his village
and continued on. I started to think about what I would do when
they pulled us over and immediately I tried to muster as much voice as I could and started
asking the cabdriver what was going on where is he taking me? He kept telling me “Oh no problem no problem. You’re going to a place called Nueva Vida. You’ll be all right.” And I was like “No I don’t want to go and
just turn around or go back to Tulum. I don’t have any money on me. They were going to pay you when we got to
the place you were taking me. There’s nothing in this for you are you doing this?” I tried to guilt trip him. Asked about his kids and his kept telling
me “No no it’s fine it’s fine.” And finally I started kind of hitting him
on the shoulder saying “I really want to go back just turn around” And he was obviously
a little frazzled now that I was speaking Spanish. Finally I got him to turn around and we went
back through the village that we had dropped the guy off at and everyone in the village
apparently was lining the streets, probably waiting for the machete tourists to come back. So he drove us back to Tulum and we went
to an ATM and I got him a bunch of money. And I caught the bus the next day and did
not get off this time. When I did get back to the town
where we had been working after a couple of days I started to feel kind of funny. I flew back home a few days later and an MRI
revealed that when they corrected my sodium level at the hospital. They did so too quickly. A classic osmostic demyelination I think it
was called. And as a result I had stroke-like symptoms. I had trouble speaking properly, I couldn’t
balance myself, I broke a glass door at my parents house because I fell into it. I couldn’t stand up straight. And it took about six months to completely
recover from that. And so that’s… that’s- that’s pretty much it.

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