Many years ago I travelled to Baltimore, USA to attend a strategy planning brainstorm session. In fact, I was running the session with a colleague from Baltimore and we spent weeks organising, planning, setting up; I was sure it would go very well.
I arrived a couple of days early to finalise arrangements and was quite happy that everything was under control. The night before the anticipated event I was invited to a famous seafood restaurant in Hunt Valley, Baltimore renowned for its crab cakes. Everyone had a good time, including myself and I was dropped at my hotel around 11:00 pm and went straight to bed feeling relaxed and in an upbeat mood.
At around 3:00 a.m. I woke up with a violent headache and feeling dizzy. I sat up and took a sip of water and within 5 seconds I felt a spasm in my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and for the next half hour I was violently sick. The word “violently” does not even begin to describe the pain I felt as the stomach muscles contracted and sent part of its contents up my throat. After each attack, I felt my throat and mouth were burning from the toxic contents of my stomach so, I had to have some more water to clear my mouth and throat and alleviate the burning sensation. This introduced another spasm of vomiting because my stomach was hell bent on sending food and liquids out rather receiving any new contents, even water.
This went on all morning and as 8:00 approached I was in a sorry state of mess. With a great effort I showered, shaved and dressed and met the car waiting to take me to the venue. There waiting for me was my colleague and the twenty or so attendees. It was clear to everyone I was unwell but I insisted I was fine and that we should proceed.
The day proved to be the longest day of my life with many runs to the bathroom to go through the agony of another stomach spasm but each time the stomach was sending less and less contents but with the same level of associated excruciating pain. Needless to say my contribution to the whole session was as close to zero as possible. I felt I let my colleague down badly but I had no energy to apologise on the day. All I wanted was for the day to be over for me to return to the hotel and rest.
The session was over around 5:00 p.m. and I was driven back to the hotel. I was in bed by 6:00 and slept for 12 hours, save for a couple of visits to the bathroom for my stomach to deliver a final performance to remind me not to treat it so badly.
I made a resolution that day: NEVER EAT SEAFOOD THE NIGHT BEFORE AN IMPORTANT EVENT.
Ever since that day, I stuck with that motto and in fact I imparted words of wisdom to others to adhere to this principle.
Two nights ago I was confident that the preparations for a strategy brainstorm session were in hand and I was sure all was under control. Together with most of the 15 participants we went to a seafood restaurant in Bahrain and everyone had a good time.
Yesterday morning around 3:00 I woke up with a violent headache and feeling dizzy. I sat up and took a sip of water and within 5 seconds I felt a spasm in my stomach….
I may as well cut the Baltimore story above and paste below for you to get the point!
The difference this time is that I am much older and supposed to be much wiser but I guess wisdom and old age do not always travel together, not in my case anyway. I have updated my motto as follows:
NEVER EAT ANYTHING THE NIGHT BEFORE AN IMPORTANT EVENT.