Transcript : Parasites and Ice Cream
So as he says, I did all go to Costa Rica during the winter times. I’ve lived in Missoula about nine years, but I’ve only spent about five winters here. Four of those winters I flew down to the Caribbean with my two-year-old son. And we weren’t just tourists, okay. We weren’t like traveling through the country. We had to pick a spot and settle down, and stay there for about six months at a time. So we picked this small Rastafarian village on the coast of Costa Rica called Puerto Viejo. [cheers]
You guys are familiar with Puerto Viejo?
And we set up shop there. And my son went to preschool there for four years. He played on the soccer team that traveled to different villages and played other, other schools. I got a job at a restaurant, an Argentinian restaurant for some reason, in Costa Rica! And I learned how to do empanadas and Milanese sauce, and I paid rent. And we were fully engulfed. We we started wearing Rasta colors. It just happens. Red green and gold.
Now, that sounds dreamy, right? We got to go to the beach all the time. Productive day down there is three hours on the beach doing nothing. So we did that a lot. But, that, it sounds dreamy to get out of the Missoula winters, but there are some hardships about living in the Caribbean. This was the poorest region of the country as well. And we were introduced to the poverty. And we never had hot water. A lot of people couldn’t afford hot water and I thought was good for us to live the same way like that. And so my two year old son had to take cold showers. Which was rough. Sometimes he wanted a little hot water so I’d boil it on the stove mixture of cold and just put it in this plastic, plastic bin, right? That was rough. That was rough.
The moistness of the jungle down there makes everything grow just like mushrooms everywhere, on your clothes, on your toes. This is gnarly. Gnarly. It smells…. So that was rough.
But the hardest thing were the mosquitoes. Yeah. Yeah. So, in Montana, we got mosquitoes they’re pretty big. They’re pretty gnarly.
But they’re not tropical mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes down there are huge. And they carry diseases, you know? Like dengue fever, malaria, other things.
But, we’ve all gotten bitten by a mosquito and it hurts. And it itches and it’s annoying, and it’s it’s horrible.
It’s a tourist town so you could see all the tourists coming in. The pale North Americans and Europeans, they come in white and they leave red, with the sunburns and mosquito bites. It was just, that was part of the deal.
The first year I was down there my son got destroyed by mosquitoes. And locals were like, “Do you have a mosquito net?”
I was like, “No, Dude, I’m a local now! I’m a native! I’m like you guys!”
And they were like, “We have mosquito nets!”
I was like, “Oh!” So I got a mosquito net.
Year two we went down, and I have less money, so I could afford the beachfront property for $200 a month, so I moved into the jungle for hundred and fifty dollars a month. Deep in the jungle. And as we already heard with the centipedes and the scorpions and the snakes and bigger mosquitoes that’s where we chill.
Now, my son got bit by a special mosquito, when he was three years old. He got bit on his wrist, twice, and he got bit on his face. Now just like any other three-year-old or 50-year-old, [unintelligible] everyone — it’s hard not to scratch mosquito bites! Am I wrong?
And this three year old just wouldn’t stop touching. His marks…his his bites and I became became neurotic about it you know, like, “Dude! Stop touching your thing! Get your hands away from there!”
And they just kept on growing. You know? They wouldn’t heal. They wouldn’t heal. And it just kept on growing bigger and bigger. All three spots.
So I went to my neighbor, and I was like, “Uh, what is going on?”
And my neighbor’s looked at my son and he was like, “Oh, he’s got papalomoyo.”
Which is slang for Leishmaniasis. Which I later found out was a parasite that you get from mosquitoes.
So I was like, “Oh, Shit!” I’m like so out of my realm, I don’t know what to do. I’ve lived here for a year. This is my second year. I feel like I’m involved. I’m part of the community. You know, we’re doing all the things. We’re living the life down here. But I’m so far out of my league as far as health care down there. I don’t know what to do.
So my neighbor says, “Don’t go to the doctor!”
Hashtag “bad advice”.
“This is all you need to do. Go into the jungle. Find this white flower. Take the green leaves off the flower. Mash up the green leaves into a paste and put it on the wounds.
And I was like, “No problem! I’m you guys! I can do this!”
So I go into the jungle, and he comes with me, he’s like, “There is right there.”
So I find the flower, and I take the leaves and I take him home and I’m super psyched, like, “Eff Western medicine! I can do this! I can do this!”
Mashing it up. Cutting it up. And then I apply it to my son. He had said, “You just gotta put it on a paste, stick it on there, and maybe put a piece of tape on there, right? So it stays. And the juices from these flower leaves will kill this parasite.”
Because the parasite cannot be killed by antibiotics it’s just a strong…. Papalomoyo is the real deal down there.
So I mash it up. Make this little paste. I put it on his face. I put it on his wrist . And then I’m like, “Okay. Now what?”
And he says, “Just wait.”
So he spends a couple days with this on his face I go down. We’re hanging out.
My neighbor sees us out in town, and he calls me over and he’s like, “Ethan, what are you doing, Man. What’s with your kid?”
I’m like, “I’m doing what you told me to do!” I uhh…
He’s like, “No.”
It looked like I just like stuck leaves on his face. Right?
And he’s like, “You gotta mash it up into a paste!
So he’s running around with his leaves taped all over him. I’m trying to be like a native. It’s not working.
So then I’m like, “You know what, I need to make, I should probably make sure that this is the right diagnosis, right? From my neighbor.”
So I go to a clinic. And the way we get down there, get around on there is on bicycles. And the more, the bicycles, you can fit up to five people on a bicycle down there. Those are called minivans. Gets her whole family on there? Anyway, it’s dangerous idea so we got one of those, where you have a seat on the frame, and we rode to the jungle about 3 miles up to Home Creek where there was a little clinic there. And this is like straight out of MASH, like 1970s. Old equipment. Not sure what’s going on.
I told him what the deal was I said, “I think he’s got papalomoyo.”
He’s like, “Okay let’s take a test.”
And so the test, so the whole idea, as I said before, everything is wet there. All the mushrooms growing. There’s just fungus everywhere. So the wounds of mosquito bites — it takes forever to heal, because they need to dry out. And so I’d watch him at night, trying to see if his wounds are drying out, and they get a little bit drier, so I think, right?
I took him to this test. And the way that they test to see if it’s a parasite, they take a razor blade, scrape open the wound to get inside and to see what the to get the parasite and put it on a microscope. So I’m watching this as he takes out the razor blade and he’s scraping my child’s face. He’s screaming.
I’m like, “What the hell is going on?!” I’m about to freak out. And it gets over. There’s blood. There’s… I’m like, “Dude I’ve been spending weeks try to get this dry! Thank you! For opening it up again!”
And they said, “We’ll contact you with the results.”
I bike down back to my house in the jungle, and we get the results, and sure enough, it was papalomoyo. The doctor says you need to take this heavy-duty shot if you want to get rid of papalomoyo.
All the locals, the natives, the homeopathics: “Don’t do the shot! You don’t know what’s in the shot! Chemicals!”
And I was like, “Yeah that sounds horrible.”
So my other neighbor said, “You know what you should do?
[internal laughter and an aside] Bad Advice number two.
“You know what you should do? You go…go into the jungle, again, farther down, and there’s a woman there that does energy healing.”
I don’t know what I was thinking. I know. I could be arrested for neglect. Honestly.
So I was like, “That’s what i’m going to do. Instead of get the shot. Because the shot sounds horrible!”
So we go into the jungle farther and we find this little bamboo hut. And we walk in there. It is very very very nice. It’s calm. There is water running. There is a massage table, yoga mats. I’m like, “Yes. This is what I’m talking about. This is gonna cure my kid!”
So, he’s three. He is oblivious. He’s got these festering wounds. He’s playing with toys, and this woman is telling me to connect with him by putting my hand on his head, and thinking about him, and good thoughts. And once we get that energy connection we’ll be able to transform the healing powers that I can give onto him and get rid of this parasite. All in Spanish.
I’m like, “I think I understand.”
This isn’t working!
This is three weeks now, and these these these these wounds are getting huge. And it’s it’s it’s horrible! I can’t sleep at night. I wake up in the middle of the night with flashlights, just checking him to see if they are getting smaller, to see if they’re drying out. If the mosquito nets are tucked in. But he’s got more bites. Just neurotic! Obsessed! On the health of my child.
Ultimately, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take anymore. I go back to the clinic with them and I was like, “Sign me up for the shots.
So they bring out..so it was like, “Okay.”
And they get it ready. And they bring out this huge ass needle! My my kid is this big, okay? And this needle is gigantic! Because it’s got to be an inter-muscular injection right? It’s not just a little thing. You got to go right in the top your rear right here and deep so it can penetrate and get in. And it’s supposed to kill everything.
So I don’t know how to explain this to my three-year-old son. Like, “Listen, we’re going to do this.”
He doesn’t know what’s going on. I’m scared as hell. I just wanted, I just want to heal these wounds, you know? So it’s me, this Costa Rica nurse, this MASH clinic, and we put my son on the table and the needle comes out.
And he’s like, “Waiiiit a second!” But not so calmly. He’s like freaking out.
It takes me and the nurse about two minutes to pin this kid down on his stomach while she gives him this interscope…intramuscular injection in his butt. And that was, that was intense. That was intense. And still think about that today.
And then she goes to me, and she goes, “Okay, you just have to come back for nine more of those.”
“10 days of this will get you free.”
And I was like, “Nine more shots like that? I don’t know if I can handle this!”
[timestamp 12:47:973 — transcription to be completed next week. Editing the podcast, including transcription, to this point, has taken me 5.5 hours & I need a break. I am disappeared for a few days & this is being scheduled for publication. — Marc Moss]
Transcript : Audience Participation
First one. These are anonymous “Bad Advice” stories that you submitted.
Marc: I called in a bomb scared to hide the fact I was late for school again my friend gave me bad advice.
Lauren: Alright. The worst advice I ever received just so happens to be conventional cliché wisdom on love. To marry someone who gives you butterflies in your stomach. What this common advice fails to realize or mention is that sometimes these people give us butterflies, these people who may even be soulmates are not necessarily the same people we are meant to spend the rest of our lives with. Sometimes these people are meantto come into our lives for very specific reason, to teach us something about ourselves or to challenge or better us in some way. But when it comes to marriage, and the rest of your days, I’d say finding someone who, with whom you share a deep friendship, uncanny communication, and calm understanding is a more fulfilling route. Someone is a more…. Someone who brings you an incredibly sensing, sense of lasting peace rather than a relatively fleeting feeling of joy.
Marc: By the way, this is my friend, Lauren Ciampa everybody. Hope I said your name right. Close? Okay.
Bad Advice: I was once dared to moon another party bus while on a brewery tour down the Bitteroot. The party bus turned out…[laughter] …the party bus, in quotation marks, turned out to be a bus of fifth graders on a Saturday adventure. Unfortunately the chaperone at the kids bus didn’t find it as funny as my friends did.
One month later in court, [laughter] the judge forgave me of my sin and asked if I was indeed an astronomy teacher as he suspected.
Lauren: Once when I was 7, 55 years ago, my oldest sister passed through the kitchen with a glass of vinegar on the way to the bathroom. I asked what the vinegar was for. She said it was for her hair.
“Do you drink it?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said.
“Can I have some for my hair?” I asked.
“Have all you want! I can get more.”
So I drink the glass of vinegar. Today I am bald.
Marc: What’s wrong with bald?
It was my first year teaching high school English and was every teacher’s favorite time of year: homecoming. I was put in charge of supervising the sidewalk decorating team while they drew huge victory murals in the parking lot. With sidewalk chalk.It was a long time to stand around with teenagers getting pumped up for the big game.
After they have drawn on much of the sidewalk, and part of the parking lot, one of the more artistic, seemingly upstanding seniors asked if they could draw on the side of the brick school wall.
I said, “No”, automatically.
But then he said very politely, “It will show our school spirit and it is going to rain this weekend anyway.”
In my first years teachers brain, it made sense! So they did!
A while later my principal wondered by, wandered by and asked “Who let them draw on the wall?”
The look of disappointment on his face when I fessed up is forever etched in my brain. Don’t trust teenagers!
Lauren: When we were five and eight, my sister and I overheard our dad tell our mom, “Someone should scoop up the shit in our yard from the neighbor’s dog and put it in their mailbox!”
Well, we filled the neighbors box with said shit.
They watched us do it and told our parents, who laughed, then made us scrub it out.
Marc: Bad advice. I told my younger roommate that peanut butter was a hidden gem as far as sexual lube goes.
[aside] Oh, it gets better.
Next day I went to make my usual PB&J sandwich, I noticed that my extra crunchy peanut butter was significantly more empty.
Lauren: My friend and hiking partner advised us that we didn’t need a map to find Stanley Hot Springs because he had been there before.
[aside] This is familiar.
It was February and had only been there in the summer. Still, four of us follow him into the wilderness.
Five hours late, with snow up to our upper thighs and one hypothermia member later, we camp on the trail.
The next morning we slowly hiked out without finding without finding the hot springs.
Marc: Okay last one.
Bad advice: Everything that comes out of my best friends mouth. Example die your hair purple.
I think that’s good advice!
Transcript : Lost in Kauai
So not every Alaskan vacation is all cracked up to be. And some Alaskan vacations are way more than they should’ve been. Which was the case about four years ago when for the first time I went to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I do love adventure, and I did the normal touristy things of laying on the beach, playing in the surf, having a Mojito or two, and having grown a little bored with those things I wanted to kick up the adventure level.
So I found a Hawaiian guy who was standing on the beach, and I said, “If you only had three days left in beautiful Kauai what would you do?
And really without hesitation he said, “Lost Trail Man.”
I said, “That that sounds really hard to find.”
He said, “No problem. I’ll draw you a little map.
And he sketched out a map, a bunch of dirt roads with no names where I would come to a small footbridge and a small break in the jungle, which marked the beginning of the trail. No sign. So I should known at that point that was very bad advice, but I was pretty excited about the adventure. The next morning, or afternoon actually, about 3 o’clock, [laughter] I started the journey in my rental car.
And pretty miraculously, I’d say, I found a little break in the jungle after about an hour and a half of driving. And I thought, ‘this must be the trailhead because I don’t see anything else and it’s getting late’. So I threw a few things in my backpack and took off and very quick pace. About 2 miles in I came to an opening in what’s called Waimea Canyon. It’s 3000 feet deep, it’s 10 miles long, and is just spectacular. I’m taking pictures. There’s waterfalls in the distance. The lava, over time has turned red and I thought, ‘this is amazing’. And that should’ve been enough.
But I wanted more!
So I looked at the map, and you know when you start doing this, you probably should go back.
But I went forward. And the trail, after about another mile, it branched off. And there was no branch markings on this trail. So I stood in confusion looking down either one, and I remembered a Robert Frost poem [cheers, laughter] about standing at the crossroads where two roads diverged in the yellow wood [laughter] and I took the one less traveled by [laughter] and that made all the difference. [laughter] And it really did. It greatly impacted my life. [laughter] I decided I would take the trail most traveled by thinking that’s probably it. And so I went pretty happily. It’s now maybe an hour before sunset. I have a good 4 miles left according to his map. But it’s a loop so I should come back in the same place.
So the trail starts to fade and it fades so much I don’t even know if I’m on a trail. And I end up on this really steep, maybe 1,500 foot rockslide area. And I’m so nervous about the, the darkness coming that I keep going across it very tenderly and then realize, ‘this is crazy’. And I look back and there’s no way I was going back what I just accomplished. It was too scary. So I decided to go up. I’m clinging to the hill, and I finally get up to the top. There’s a little clearing and I see that’s what the jungle begins up there, and then I see these small yellow tape markings hanging from trees . And I said, “Eureka it’s a trail marker.”
So I went into the jungle and I went for about 15, 20 minutes and started looking around, and noticed there yellow things hanging everywhere like Christmas ornaments, and realize these were not trail markings. And then I went downhill, uphill, downhill. Next thing I knew it was completely dark. It was over. I was in the jungle at night.
I was pretty, pretty nervous because I had heard a lot of stories about wild boar with the tusks that could tear a man in two in seconds. And they ran ferral all over the island. So, I considered my assets: I had an empty Nalgene bottle which I started to fill with my urine.
[laughter] I had read that somewhere. Then you can recycle. So I added some liquid to the Nalgene, and then remembered I also had a cell phone, and of course there’s coverage in the jungle.
I turned it on. Not shockingly, no coverage. But in the darkness I just start crawling around desperately trying to find a place, and after about a half hour I found a 1″ x 1″ parcel that had one bar.
It was another miracle! So, instead of calling 911, I call my girlfriend at the time, and I told her, “Look I started off on this trail I’m not sure even where the trailhead is. I’m not sure where the trail is. I’m not sure how to get back to it. I think I’m spending the night here in the jungle.”
And then she said, “If you’re happy with this message, press one.”
I later heard this message I left, and realized, I was pretty impressed, because my tone of voice sounded like I was at the mall, and I’d be back just a little late for dinner!
So there I was in the night, just fearful of the wild boar. And sure enough after about four hours branches are starting to snap. And I hear something barreling down the hill towards me. And my heart explodes and I stand up with a burst of adrenaline and by the beard of Zeus, I got about 9 feet up in the tree.
For about 10 seconds before the branch broke.
I was back on the canopy floor. But still filled with adrenaline I found another branch, about as high, and I sat there for several hours not wanting any boar contact. Eventually, my ass got so sore, I didn’t care about getting bored. I sat down on the ground. And at that point a cold, cold fog came in, and the temperature must’ve dropped 20°. But I remembered the emergency poncho I had thrown in. Whose thickness could be measured in terms of atoms.
But I went ahead and I wrapped myself in that poncho, and I started shuddering, shivering and I thought for sure hypothermia was gonna take me down. But amazingly, I lived to sunrise. And it was the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. And so this time, a little wiser, I called 911. [laughter] And my battery warning started flashing, which, with this old phone, 2012, meant it could crash at any moment. So, I call 911, I get put on hold.
And I’m on hold for a minute, a minute and a half, and I’m watching it flash. This is it! And I get the captain of the fire department.
And at this point, he says, “Where are you?”
And I said, “Lost Trail.”
“I never heard of it.”
I said, “You’ve never heard of it?”
He said, “No, I’ve never heard of Lost Trail”.
I said, “I’m not sure to tell you. It’s somewhere in the Canyon.”
He goes, “Okay we’re going to get a GPS coordinate on you. Don’t go anywhere.”
And I said, “Oh, you, don’t worry about that I can, I can walk out of here. I got plenty of daylight.”
He goes, “No! No! No! No! No! Don’t go anywhere! Stay right where you are. You’ll get lost. The jungle, it all looks the same.”
What you should know in my mind, is I grew up with a mom who equated personal injury with the cost of medical care.
For example, one time when I fell off my bicycle with a big gash in my leg, I came in the house first thing she said, in compassion, was, “Oh, Shit!” And then, I’m not sure this is a rhetorical question, “Do you know how much that’s gonna cost?”
“I’m not sure. I’m eight years old. I’m bleeding profusely. I’m not sure I am capable of that calculation right now.”
“All right! Get my sewing kit!”
“Oh, please, Mom! No! I can see my femur!”
“All right get in the car! I guess I’ll take you to the hospital! There goes your allowance!”
So, yeah that’s how I grew up. So I did not want to incur this expense of being rescued. Because I had heard rescuing could be thousands of dollars.
He says, “I’m going to send a helicopter.”
I said, “Oh! No! Not necessary! Not necessary!”
He says, “No, that’s what’s gonna happen, and stay still. Turn your phone off of it’s about to die. We’ll call you in 20 minutes. So I turn my phone off. 20 minutes come, I hear a helicopter, but they’re on the wrong side of the canyon.
And so get back on the phone, I said, “You guys on wrong side!”
He said, “Is there any break in the foliage?”
I said, “No, there’s no break, it’s just trees,” I said, “But you’re, come to the other side.”
So they came to the other side and said, “We can’t see you.”
And then I remembered! The old tattered yellow poncho! I took it out of backpack and just started swinging it!
And sure enough they spotted it. And then my phone died. It was over. And then helicopter took off. I didn’t know what happened. I sat there in fear for another half hour. The helicopter came back. The guy breaks through the canopy on a wire. Incredible sounding.
[helicopter blade sounds]
And there’s leaves blowing everywhere. Scorpions and centipedes.
And he hooked me into a harness. So we’re like face-to-face. We break up through the canopy. And it’s amazing. And I think going into the helicopter, but the retraction stops.
And we’re just swinging below the helicopter!
And as we go over the canyon, I say to myself, “If this is $10,000, it’s worth every penny!” So I get the ride of my life. Until, we came to a clearing where the rest of the fire crew rescuers are waiting.
And then came the descent of shame.
From the heavens I was lowered down. Not a lot of words were spoken. I apologized and thanked them. And as we got in the fire truck, down these dirt roads, they said, “We’re going to take you to your car.”
I said, “Thank you,”
And as we drove, I was fearing they would ask the question. And sure enough they did.
“So, ah, what do you do for living?”
Now I knew I could tell them, there’s two truths. One is, I actually was a massage therapist, and also was an adventure guide. The year was divided in half. But I thought about all they done for me, and I thought, ‘I owed them something,’ so I said, “I’m a professional [choking for dramatic effect] adventure guide.”
And the guy driving, the captain said, “Are you kidding me?”
I said, “I wish I was was.”
The crew was laughing. He gets on, [laughter] on the CB radio, [laughter] and he says, [laughter] “You guys won’t believe this! The guy we rescued? He’s an adventure guide!”
And so I was. Thank you