Ever since I was a boy, I’d picked and eaten wild mushrooms. It was a family tradition. So I filled a bag and took them home. Normally I’d consult my mushroom and fungi encyclopaedia to check the ones I’d picked were safe to eat, but it wasn’t in its usual spot in the lounge room.
My wife Paola, 49, was overseas, so I couldn’t get a second opinion. Instead, I inspected them and took a big sniff. They smell fine, I thought, and I could have sworn they were field mushrooms that I’d eaten lots of times. So I fried them up with butter, salt and pepper. A big fan of wild mushrooms, I ate the whole plateful – around half a kilo.
They're delicious, I thought.
But within minutes, I felt nauseous. Rushing to the bathroom, I vomited – and couldn’t stop. I’d never felt so sick in my life.
‘Dad, what’s wrong?’ cried my daughter Naysa, 13.
‘Those mushrooms I had for dinner must have been poisonous,’ I groaned.
Petrified, she rang her mum, who called my brother Bruno. He came over to take me to hospital. I was shivering so much at the hospital, the doctor couldn’t even take my pulse.
‘Were you trying to get high?’ he asked, when I told him I’d eaten mushrooms picked from a lawn.
‘No, I was just hungry,’ I said sheepishly.
I had to keep rushing to the bathroom. Am I dying? I wondered.
But the doctor said the vomiting was a good thing.
'If the poison reaches your organs, your body could start shutting down,' he said.
Discharged the next day, I lost seven kilos over the next five days.
That’s one way to lose weight, I thought. Of course, my mates gave me grief, and Paola wasn’t exactly sympathetic.
‘You could have died!’ she said. It turned out I’d eaten a mushroom called Poison Pie. Now, I still eat mushrooms – but from the shop!
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