By July 3, 2010 0 Comments Read More →

Food Poisoning

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Last weekend, just at the end of the conference I got myself a food poisoning. I’ve had that before and know that the best way to handle that is just to stay in bed, get plenty of fluids and let nature run its course.  Funnily, the last time I got food poisoning was at the same conference 2 years ago in China.

Unfortunately, I did not have the time to let nature handle things, as I has to travel the 1700 km back home to Eindhoven, which was not very funny to say the least.  I had to stay in bed for the following 3 days just to sort of get well and I’m still eating far from normally.  Great diet, though.  I think I’ve lost nearly 10 kg in the last week.

To explain the effect of food poisoning, to people, who have not encountered it, I have made a small Petri net model of the human digestive system.  I have no expertise whatsoever in the human digestive system, but like to draw formal models when I’m bored, so the figures most likely have no relation to the real world.  The system, when functioning normally, looks like this:

We have a stomach capacity (2 in the figure) and a hunger capacity (1 in the figure).  When we feel hunger, we can eat, and when we have stuff in the stomach, we can go to the toilet.  We can interleave eating and toilet visits as we please, and even eat 3 meals a day and just go to the toilet once in the evening, dumping out entire stomach contents and translating it into hunger for the next day.  Nice and normal.

Now, when you get food poisoning, the following happens:

We allow a complete depletion of the stomach without producing new hunger.  This is typical for many diseases; we encounter loss of appetite.  At the same time we completely disconnect the “go to the toilet” act from the stomach and sense of hunger:

The above steps happen simultaneously, and now we just execute Deplete until we have emptied the stomach, optionally converting the last few pieces of appetite into poo.  Now, the situation looks like:

We can no longer eat, as we have no appetite left, but on the contrary, we can go to the toilet at any time, as the toilet reflex is now completely decoupled from the stomach.  And that, m’sieurs dames, is food poisoning and my last week in a single picture.

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