This time of the year always brings back memories of Thanksgiving Weekend/Week After of 2006! Thanksgiving Day we gathered at my oldest sister's house for a huge family gathering, Since there are four sisters we tend to have a rather large extended family. Everyone brings a dish or two and my sister and her husband provide the turkey or whatever other meat they decide to cook/grill etc. There is always tons of food. We probably had about 40+ people at this particular Thanksgiving gathering and we were all festive, happy, and enjoying each others company.
My niece Ivey had brought her boyfriend, now husband from Atlanta to meet us all. I'm sure at first he thought we were all a nice family-I hope so anyway! We ate, talked, laughed, ate some more and had a great time! It really was a great Thanksgiving Day! It would also be the last time we would all come together for a major holiday...especially Thanksgiving!
It all started to happen about late Friday afternoon/evening. I had worked that day and as a tradition at the credit union we always had low country boil for lunch. About 5:30pm I started feeling kind of bad. My stomach was churning and churning and I just felt bad. I had to go to a family visitation for a friend of mine who had lost her mother right after work. My stomach felt so bad I had to go home first before going to the funeral. I'll leave out those pit stop details. I went on to the funeral home and spoke to my friend. There were a lot of my other friends there as well and they were all headed to go eat Mexican food for dinner. I so love Mexican food but that night my stomach wasn't having any part of it. I declined the offer and went back home. My stomach is now feeling horrible. I go to bed and sleep. That sleep didn't last long and I was back up camping out in the bathroom. Now I really feel bad and I even feel like I have a fever. I take it and I do. I am thinking to myself that shrimp in that low country boil must not have been good. I am so sick. I stay like this throughout the weekend.
All this time I have not spoken to anyone else in my family since Thanksgiving and I have no idea that everyone else is sick too. During that weekend, my sister Anne is sick as a dog and ends up going to the emergency room along with my niece and her 6 month old baby, and a slew of other relatives. It was like a revolving door at University Hospital. My sister Anne was the worst. Monday comes and I cannot go to work. I'm still running fever, not ever throwing up but you know..dealing with the other end. I feel like crap no pun intended. At some point in the weekend I had talked to my friend Karen who is a pharmacist. She knew I was sick. On Tuesday she calls me back and says I just saw your sister and brother in law come through here. I said, "oh yeah". She states they were on their way home from the hospital. I said, "hospital?"Karen proceeds to tell me that my sister has been in the hospital and that University Hospital had determined that we all had food posioning. She says, "Mary, you have food posioning." Now I am in a panic because I am scheduled for a breatst reduction the following week. I hang up and call my sister Gayle(her house is where the Thanksgiving feast was held). She tells me that we have food poisoning and I need to call my doctor and get on Cipro (antibiotic). I call them and my doctor already has heard about our family and this huge food poisoning event. He tells me I should be fine by Monday and to stay home from work the rest of the week. "Glady", I said because I was in no shape to work or do anything. My sister Anne ended up going back to the hospital and was then admitted to the intensive care unit. She was very very sick and for a while we were not even sure if she would even survive. We were all scared. Thank God and with many many prayers she pulled through but it was a slow recovery. She tested for e-coli and salmonella.
My niece's boyfriend that had come from Atlanta....well he got sick and probably thought this family was trying to kill him. Some family members went to the hospital for fluids and others like myself dealt with it at home. We thought and thought what could have made us so very sick and to this day we still do not know. Some people did not get sick and we tried and tried to figure out who ate what but nothing worked out. It could have been an egg in the mac & cheese I made and I know they were freshly bought-go figure. It could have been the freshly made salad. It could have been the fresh turkey (was not frozen). It could have been an egg in the sweet potato souffle and we had two different dishes of sweet potatoes. It could have been the egg in the dressing. We really do not know. The funny thing is we all do a good amount of cooking and KNOW how to handle food properly.
So with that said please be sure to wash your hands continuously as you cook. Disinfect in any areas in your kitchen where raw poultry has been. Watch where your hands go when dealing with raw meat. Make sure your dishes are COOKED and do not leave anything out for a long period of time.
Go through your refrigerator and check dates on items. As my sister says...a container of something just gone out of date that cost $1.48 verses $11,000.00 hospital bill. It's a no brainer. Throw it away.
Your pantry-check out all expiration dates on can goods. They can go bad.
Happy Thanksgiving....Happy Cooking.....stay safe!!!