They made me sign a waiver, but I thought it was a joke.
I thought it was a cutsey, kitschy stunt, designed for pictures and memories.
I was so wrong.
If you’ve read my other posts, you have a basic idea of how the eating experience went; but, as time goes, that was a very small part of the experience.
When we left it was around 3:30 and I had work at five that evening. My stomach was upset and tender, but I figured that was mostly because I’d eaten so much, so quickly. Not to mention this was the first time I’d eaten meat in awhile, and that probably affected my digestion. By the time Luke had driven me to his house, and then I had driven home from there, I was pretty set on calling into work sick. I got home and my parents were at the mall, so I thought I would lay on my bed and wait for the discomfort to pass. At that time, it felt like bad diarrhea or something — a gurgling and bubbling in my lower gut. By around 4:10, I felt the first urge to go to the toilet. I didn’t throw up then, because to be honest, I didn’t think the damage would come from that end. I thought it would all be #2. I sat on the toilet, knowing something bad was about to happen. That’s when I called work. I spoke with a manager, Rachel, and told her I had food poisoning. She said facetiously that it takes 24 hours for food poisoning to set it, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t buy what I said. I told her it was something I ate for breakfast. I was afraid that if I told her the truth she would be mad about making a decision that could threaten my ability to work or some crap. So I lied. And whether she believed it or not, I was telling the truth about being sick and I think it translated over the phone. She said I didn’t have to come in; I thanked her and hung up. At the time, I had no idea how good of a choice that was.
I went back to my bed to lay down on my back, but I found soon that even that wasn’t comfortable. I felt like I had marbles rolling around in my stomach. Big, dense marbles that would tip my stomach off-balance if I moved. I tried to stay as still as possible and wait for it to pass. Within ten minutes, I ran to the toilet to vomit for the first time. That is when I took the first picture, and the last one. After that I didn’t take my phone with me.
You can see that there are peppers in the vomit. That was a theme as I continued to puke throughout the night. Because I had eaten the burger so quickly, I barely chewed anything. When I vomited, I was chunking up peppers, onions, bits of bun and even meat.
The worst part though, obviously, was throwing up the peppers. It was the same feeling as eating them, because they had been rendered in a sauce and so they were potent to the touch as well. It’s ironic that I had gloves for the challenge, so I couldn’t get the sauce on my hands, but then I go home and vomit, and the peppers they tried so hard to keep off my hands are somehow splattered on my face, on my lips, in my nose. I’m sure if you’ve ever violently thrown up, you know that liquid comes up and out through your nose. You just don’t know how that feels until it’s spicy. It was terrible! Imagine eating the spiciest peppers IN THE WORLD. Imagine the feeling of it on your lips and throat. Then imagine having that heat pour out your nose combined with warm water and chunks of meat.
My parents weren’t home until probably six, so I was on my own for the first two hours. After throwing up twice in my bathroom, I ran out of toilet paper from trying to clean myself up. I ran over to the bathroom near the front of our house, and started throwing up there. That bathroom was better because it had a towel rack right above the toilet. The thing is, the vomiting wasn’t the worst part. It never is. In fact, you look forward to throwing up because then you know you’ll feel better afterwords. The worst part was right before I threw up. Every time I felt a certain pain in my stomach, I knew vomit was coming, but just not immediately. If I had fallen asleep, I would wake up with the pain in my stomach and go to the bathroom. The pain was, hands down, the most pain my stomach has ever been in. I was so uncomfortable before I threw up, there was no position that felt any better than any other position. What I finally ended up doing was standing in front of the toilet with my hands outreached onto the towel rack. My body was bent at a 60 degree angle; my head was hung. It seemed to help the pain a little, and I was well-positioned to begin throwing up.
After I threw up, I would move right to the sink, about two feet from the toilet. There I would splay myself out in the same fashion, except for this time I just had my hands on the granite top. I would look at myself in the mirror the whole time. I looked at my eyesockets, which were sunken and purple. My veins protruded like I had been working out, as blood pumped to my heart away from my limbs. I look like I had been poisoned– gaunt and tired. I would clean up my mouth and wait to throw up again. Every time I puked, I puked twice. When I felt that pain in my stomach again, I began twisting and contorting my legs, bending them and wrapping them. I occasionally hit the granite-top with my fist, but that didn’t do anything, that was an expression of anger, not an attempt at relief. Then when the pain got terrible, I went to the toilet and tried to induce vomiting. I would cough and cough and cough, and it was just spit. Then, like a dam opening, I felt the warm relief of peppers flooding out from my throat. I could literally see the stems of the peppers; they didn’t chop some of them at all. I saw long slivers of onions. It splattered everywhere.
When I had finished the bout of vomiting, I would either be freezing or sweating. Usually it was sweating, and then I returned to the couch nearest the bathroom. I pulled up a blanket and held my knees to my chest. In minutes I would be asleep for an hour or so, and when I awoke, I would have the pain in my stomach, and I would march to the bathroom to start again. If I was cold –really cold– I would shower. It only happened twice, but it felt amazing. After I had puked, I had about an hour’s worth of rest. Usually I slept during it, but twice I showered during it. I turned on the hot water and sat at the bottom of my shower, not moving for long periods of minutes. Each time I did that I thought I had thrown up for the last time. I would towel off, feeling optimistic, and go to sleep hoping not to wake soon. I always did though, and I knew it was time to throw up again.
At night my parents got back and began making dinner and watching a movie. They helped as much as they could. My dad googled for any advice for eating hot peppers and after-treatment, and found that the best things to do were to stay hydrated and wait it out. They gave me tons of liquids, Tums, damp wash-towels, and came every time I puked to see if they could help. My parents are both nurses, and helped in every way they knew how, but there was just very little to do. If I had gone to the hospital, I imagine the only thing they could have done to really help would have been to pump my stomach, or maybe give me pain medication. Regardless, night came pretty slowly. My parents finished their movie around eleven, and started to get ready for bed. They got everything I would need to help me last until they woke up, but none of us knew how long I would be throwing up.
When midnight came, I was throwing up. I remember because I saw my watch turn to 12:00. The night was bad, because I was on my own again, and when I went to sleep, I really, really hoped it was the last one. It was like I was ok with sacrificing my day to puking, but I wanted my night. I really wanted to be able to sleep; I didn’t want to have to wake up and vomit. I did though. Every hour. I would rush to the bathroom, my stomach feeling like they were poprocks the size of golf balls. I felt like the food always decided it wanted up right as it was about to go into my intestines. I wanted to just be able to poop it out, but it always came up right before that. I would stand with hands on the towel-rack and wait to be able to throw up. I would flex my shoulders, flatten my stomach, arch my upper back and contort my body, but nothing helped. It was just an agony of minutes, and I had to endure it.
I would always throw up at least twice, but sometimes if I felt it was going to be more, I could breathe really deeply and allay the desire to puke. Sometimes when I woke up to throw up I would try and breathe it out. When I woke up at 5:00, I was able to breathe the whole experience out. I would get on all fours on the couch, with my head hung, and breathe. For whatever reason, at five in the morning I was done. I woke up again two hours later with the same feeling, but I breathed that one out, too. Then I didn’t wake up again till 11:00.
The worst part was having no clue how long it would last. I had despair. That was true fucking despair. I remember thinking that if it can get this bad on Earth, imagine what Hell is like. I can’t do this for twenty-fours I thought. If I was told I would do this for the rest of my life, I would kill myself. When my parents weren’t home, I thought about calling the hospital. I would have dialed 911 if I had my phone or could have reached one.
I would have dialed 911.
I would have called an ambulance.
I threw up from 4:00 in the afternoon till 5:00 the next morning. I was scared and constantly uncomfortable. Hot and cold. Irritated and fatigued. And they gave me a waiver.
Do not, do not do this challenge. Do not eat this hamburger. Don’t eat it. Your experience won’t be better. Maybe you won’t finish the burger, maybe you’ll eat it slower. It won’t be worth it. It won’t. I would never recommend this to anyone. Not an enemy, not my son, not my friend, not a stranger. No one in the world should ever eat that hamburger.