SAN DIEGO -- It's been a dizzying few weeks for Padres closer Heath Bell and his wife, Nicole, and not just because they've covered a good section of the Pacific Ocean on trips to the Fijian island of Tavarua followed by a vacation to Hawaii, where the couple renewed their wedding vows last week. These were memory-making trips to be sure, just not for all the right reasons. While in Maui, the two-time All-Star, was hospitalized with what was later diagnosed as typhoid fever, a bacterial infection that worked its way into Bell's bloodstream on their trip to Tavarua 10 days earlier.
Typhoid fever, if left untreated, can lead to intestinal complications, kidney failure and, in some cases, death. "It's something I ate in Tavarua. It gets in your stomach and you usually flush it out. For whatever reason, my body didn't flush it out," Bell said on Wednesday. To be sure, this wasn't what Bell had in mind for a trip to Maui, where he celebrated 10 years of marriage with his wife. The Bells have four children. "When we got to Hawaii, I had body aches, I was like, 'Man, what do I have?' I usually don't get sick," Bell said. "The next two nights, I couldn't stop sweating. She [Nicole] finally made me go to the ER on Thursday. "During the day, I felt pretty good, but at night I would start sweating a lot. It was like I ran five miles. I just kept sweating. At night, I would get these spurts when I would get cold and I would have 10 blankets on." On their initial trip to the emergency room, Bell was administered several tests to check his blood. His white blood count was a little low, but without a clear diagnosis, Bell was released from the hospital. The following day, after their renewal ceremony, hotel security tracked down the Bells following dinner and told them they had an urgent phone call. "The doctor from the ER said I had to come in now and that I had bacteria in my blood," Bell said. "I was in the hospital for the next three days." Nicole Bell kept the family notified on Bell's recovery -- one aided by antibiotics -- by phone calls and Facebook. "As they're drawing blood and he's not getting better and here's this big guy there and he's shivering. When they said it was an infection that got in his blood stream, it really freaked me out," Nicole Bell said. With Bell feeling better by Sunday, he was released from the hospital and the family flew home to San Diego. Bell has since visited Padres physicians and is taking antibiotics. He said on Wednesday that he was feeling a lot better. And feeling pretty lucky, too. "I just think it's a blessing in disguise. Maybe it's the Lord telling me to ease up a little," Bell said. "Life is a gift and that's what we've been talking about the last week. You just never know."