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La Tratto, Dehydration, Star Medica, & You: A Cautionary Tale

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This article was supposed to be a review of La Tratto restaurant, the hip Italian eatery that makes up part of the trifecta in the Trotter family empire of restaurants, so let’s start there and pretend that the evening progressed normally.

La Tratto is located at #479C on the Prolognacion de Montejo, between the glorieta with the fountain and the Monumento de la Bandera glorieta, which hardened Merida drivers may know better as the “Burger King” and “Fakey Ruin” glorietas, respectively. Opening at seven, the dusky, glowy decor of La Tratto is a perfect oasis in a steady strip of taco joints and video bars. Tables are outdoors leading to an indoor seating area, similar to the style at Trotter’s (Read our review). They have clearly nailed the formula for upscale dining here in Merida, and are not straying too far from it.

Like Trotter’s, the menu offers a wide variety of options, across the pricing spectrum, ranging from $80 to $380 pesos per entree. Choices include a wide selection of fresh pastas, and some delicious-looking Neapolitan-style thin crust pizzas, with fine ingredients unheard of in other pizza restaurants in the city. There is a nice wine and beer selection, and the service is immaculate, with every need anticipated and met before you can even think to ask. We settled in with our new friends John and Susan, I ordered a pizza, and we prepared for an evening of flavor and great conversation.

I’d love to tell you all about the details of the pizza I ordered for myself, how the crust snapped, how the mozzarella cheese was fresh and delicious, perfectly complementing the cold beer I was drinking, but unfortunately, I never made it to the entree. After a trip to the bathroom, things started to go bad. Immediately upon standing up from the bowl, things got all spinny and confusing. I felt flushed, hot and cold at the same time, with a cold sweat breaking out. I excused myself from the table and took a quick walk around the block, hoping the cool Merida night air would help me get my head straight. When I got back to the table, though, it was clear that things were getting bad…fast. I couldn’t track what anyone was saying, and I told Jillian and our company that I was going to have to go home and cut the meal short. As in, immediately.

I started trying to walk out of the restaurant, as things only got worse inside my scrambled brain. I was shaking pretty violently, now, about to drop. I found a chair and thought I should sit down, but couldn’t figure out how to pull the chair out from under the table, and couldn’t control my arms to do so. I was shaking, confused, spinning, and scared. And that’s when, in the middle of La Tratto, I had a seizure, lost my heartbeat, and became unconscious.

Let’s rewind and see if we can’t figure out what went wrong, yeah?

In spite of the fame of stomach trouble here in Mexico, it had not been something I had encountered much. A little bout here and there, maybe, but nothing particularly serious, and nothing, even, that would keep me out of work for the day. So when I woke up in the morning at 4:00AM with stomach trouble, I thought that I was just going to be in for another long day. I went to work as usual, didn’t pay particular attention to my illness, ate a peanut butter sandwich, smoked cigarettes, drank next to no water…just another day in the office. I definitely felt sick, but not sick enough to take any action. And besides, we had already rescheduled with our dinner companions twice, and it was a restaurant Jillian really wanted to try, so I forged on. I only realized something was definitely wrong when I went to the bathroom at the restaurant, and realized it had been about my 14th trip that day. Dehydration was proving to be a more formidable opponent than I had ever given it credit for.

Back to our scene. When I came around (I’m told just a few seconds later), I immediately felt much, much better. I was laid out on the floor, with Jillian, John, Susan, and a panicked waitstaff huddled around me. I wanted to just get up and go home, but Susan (a former nurse) wasn’t having it. Instead, I was packed into an ambulance and whisked to Star Medica, a hospital I had heard of but never been able to find.

The care I received there was, without a doubt, world-class. I was whisked into a room and talking to an emergency room doctor without filling out any paperwork. Someone found a doctor who spoke enough English for us to both be able to figure out what was going on. I was evaluated by no less than three doctors, given a series of neurological tests, IV’d without pain, and had blood samples taken. I was hooked up to a saline/glucose bag, and ordered a CAT scan. Less than five minutes elapsed between the time the CAT scan was ordered, and I was in the machine. All of the equipment was modern, the environment sterile, and the staff very friendly and attentive.

My blood work and CAT scans came back completely normal, and, after the hour that it took for the bag to drip into my veins, I was ready to go home. I paid my bill (a real bargain at under $500, considering everything that had happened), and went home.

This entire thing was utterly stupid and preventable, had I shown even the tiniest bit of common sense and respect for Papa Dehydration. As it turns out, your body really, really needs water. And if you find yourself on the toilet 14 times over the course of a single day, and you live in the Mexico heat and humidity, you should probably at least consider sipping some water. My sincerest apologies to Sergio and the staff at La Tratto, Susan, John, Jillian, and all involved in my human disaster on Friday night, and my apologies to the inner workings of my brain and organs. I promise it will never happen again.

There Are 10 Responses So Far. »

  1. Wow dude, glad to see you came out of that mess alright. My prescription to you: Drink more beer.

  2. Holy crap (no pun intended)! Glad you are alright. You won’t be surprised to here that what you described is super common down here. Like you said, if you forget to drink water and are sweating a lot and in the toilet a whole lot, you’re bound to pass out.

    Be glad you didn’t shit yourself on top of it. Because that happens too. So boy oh boy …. you sure were lucky!!!

    Now you KNOW you will have to go back and have some pizza and give us a full report!

    Now go empty that garrafon will you?

  3. Funny you should mention that. My original cut of the story included the part where, post-seize, I actually thought I *HAD* crapped in my pants, which was a secret I tried to keep from everybody in the ER for the duration of my visit. In fact, I think my belly churning while unconscious is part of what brought me around. I was relieved to see, on getting home, that I actually hadn’t, and only thusly am able to comment about it in a public forum.

    With your comment, this now seems like an important detail that I should have included.

  4. Wow, quite a story (and one I am sadly familiar with). Glad to hear the hospital visit was the high point and not the disaster. Also very glad that there were no soiled undies. Gatorade or Pedialyte is your best friend down here when beset by tummy troubles, water is good but doesn’t give you those much needed electrolytes.

    Oh, and “Lacteol Fort” is a simple way to build up the “good bacteria”, one capsule a day when healthy might just keep you healthy. Available at any pharmacy, I endorse it highly (ok pharmaceutical company, where’s my cut?) as a way to cut down on bad days such as yours.

    That said, can’t wait for the real report on La Tratto. Feel better!

  5. I knew there was more shit to the story (pun intended) that you weren’t including. LOL. Glad you fessed up. It takes a real man to do so. LOL.

    May I now recommend YAKULT you can get it in the yogurt section of the supermarket. It has the same good bacteria canuck is talking about except it’s “live” bacteria so it works mejor. It’s in those those tiny bottles with the peel off red metal lid and when I’m feeling icky I down them like shots of tequila.

  6. unfortunately, we all probably have a little story of our dehydration escapades. each and every time i drink a glass of water i remind myself, “this is DEAD water” and add a bottle of gatoraide to the lineup. good to hear your hospital experience was fine; i keep reading rave reviews of Merida hospitals and over here in QRoo I think I have hospital envy. 🙂

  7. yeah man, drink plenty of water…it’s good for you! And don’t f-around with Gatorade. That stuff SUCKS!! That crap is for people who don’t drink water cuz they need sugar in everything they drink/eat. Know why they always show athletes drinking that shite? It’s because the are WORKING OUT and BURNING OFF all the f-ing sugar. Couple glasses of water (it doesn’t matter if you chug them) is the way to go. Gatorade is for suckers and it tastes like weak fruit punch. Peace, dog!

  8. you tried agua mineral with a bit of limon? works for me…especially considering how much damn coffee i drink.

    on your blog i’ve read a bit about your stomach problems and am alarmed (remembering Boston’s). i’ve been here 8 months and i’ve actually seen improvement to my crohn’s disease (intestinal). hope you find some balance so you can get back to enjoying the pizza.

  9. hi
    good luck

  10. ah, how lucky you were in getting superior treatment at star medica there

    i was brought into the star medica , morelia emergency facilities after a local doctor gave me an injection that caused anaphylactic shock…
    the emergency unit over 4 days saved my life, but the 12 day post recovery stay at the hospital part almost killed me

    the care was perfunctionary and riddled with errors of commission and ommission…

    caveat emptor on star medica, morelia

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