Saturday, December 22, 2012

The good news and the not so good news- after Lima

So – the good news is that I’ll feel better again one day.

The bad news is that it’s difficult to remember what that feels like right now.

The great news is that I’m in isolation right now in a room by myself which is quiet and clean and where meals are brought to me and the doctor will check on me.

The bad news is that I have the flu A and will have it for a couple more days, probably.

More bad news will be if Roxana and her family come down with it also because I believed the doctor who told me it was just my sensitive body reacting to the bad air in Lima.  I woke up a couple of nights ago in the middle of the night knowing with certainty that I shouldn’t go in to Lima the next day even though it was the last chance to see Roxana and her family, but that I should stay in the room and rest.  I went to see the doctor and he told me that I was just sensitive, that I wasn’t sick, that it was fine to go, and, if I really was sick, it would become clear soon enough.  Based on that recommendation, I decided to go ahead and go and assume I wasn’t ill.  We had a lovely day, spending the first part of it doing emails at their house, talking to Chris on the phone, and Skyping with Laura and Roxana.  Iris, Roxana’s mother, made us a wonderful meal of chicken and rice and salad and lots of fruit, including granadilla, which Laura and Dylan love.  I was glad to see what that was like.  Then we took off for some craft markets to see if we could find some gifts for loved ones.  The quality of the crafts wasn’t very high in the shops we went to, but I did manage to find some fun stuff which I’m looking forward to giving to people at home.

At one point, when we were in the car on the way back to Roxana’s after having picked up her mother someplace else, I realized with a start that I didn’t have one of my bags with me.  Ivan, our taxi driver extraordinaire, took us back to the market and Iris and Roxana went with me to each store to ask if anyone had found it.  We went to every single solitary store.  No luck.  I decided to decide that some other family would get to enjoy the little gifts I’d bought and let it go.
We drove to Roxana’s one last time so we could pick up our things we’d left there.  As I got out of the car, I saw my bag- right under where my butt had been!  It had been there all the time and I just hadn’t seen it!  I felt so foolish – and glad and relieved at the same time.  I told Roxana and Iris it would make an even better story than not having found it, even if it meant I felt a little bit foolish!  So now I have the items  - and the story!  What a bonus!

When we got back to the ship, I went to get some dinner while Gerlinde went to bed.  She was feeling very poorly.  We were both asleep by 9:30 after she spent some time getting ill.  We really felt sorry for ourselves.  There I was coughing up a storm and tossing and turning from the heat while she was throwing up and sleeping as much as she possibly could to get rid of whatever was ailing her.  This morning I had to get up to teach a class.  Thankfully I was feeling pretty good – my lungs felt less congested and I had some energy, so I decided that I had just needed some fresh sea air away from the polluted Lima and Callao air.  I went and taught then met a former classmate from Culver for lunch – yes!  Someone from the class of 76, one year before me, contacted me to let me know she was on board.  We arranged to meet for lunch.  I am afraid I was not good company – I needed to be lying down but didn’t want to be rude to her, so I carried on a conversation as well as I possibly could then excused myself and went to my room and slept until the doctor had his hours.  I went down and told him that if I wasn’t sick, it was the best imitation of sick my body had ever put me through – fever, chills, runny eyes, congestion, cough.  The doctor who was in my art class, Sandy, took one look at me and told me I looked terrible.  The other doctor, Phil (the real Dr. Phil, he likes to tell us), got a kick out of doing a flu test on me.  He was like a kid with a new toy.  He stuck a long skinny white thing up my right nostril where it burned like it had Clorox on it.  Then he mixed it with other stuff and did the test.  10 minutes later he danced out into the waiting room and showed me the results.  I couldn’t really see them without my glasses, and I didn’t want to know them anyway, but, despite my substantial denial, I do have the flu, type A.  He asked if I wanted meds, anti viral, for $110 which might give me about 4 hours’ relief – I decided not to bother and to just let the bug run its course.  Apparently it’s been lasting about 48 hours then people are feeling better. I figure I might have a day left.

They asked if I wanted to be quarantined.  I happily agreed so I wouldn’t infect Gerlinde and so I could cough and hack and suffer in peace and quiet without feeling like I was disturbing her at all.  This way folks will bring me meals, and I can stay here and sleep the whole time.  I’m happy as a clam except that I am physically fairly miserable.  Manta, Ecuador will have to continue to exist without my presence tomorrow.  I’m going to stay here with my computer and my books and my bed and let my darlin’ body recuperate.  I’ve been feeling worn down for quite some time now – I read a descriptive term for it today- traveler’s fatigue – makes sense to me.  It’s actually exhausting seeing so many new things and figuring out so many new places.

For Christmas I’ve decided to give myself the gift of taking one of the pre-planned trips.  I had decided long ago not to do any of them b/c Gerlinde and I are seasoned travelers and I figured it would be simple enough to just arrange something for ourselves.  I’ve decided though to let myself be arranged for now for a few tours.  These will go out into the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, into the rain forest.  Two days I’m planning to go snorkeling – something I haven’t been able to arrange on my own.  I look forward to letting someone else do the work for me and to getting into Nature.  Perhaps this will even make it feel like a vacation rather than substantial work.

I’m sorry if that sounds like I’m complaining  - I certainly don’t mean for it to.  I am very well aware that this trip is a once in a lifetime incredible adventure – and it’s hard work!  One of my friends suggested I consider this a vacation before I left.  I had to laugh – that thought hadn’t actually even occurred to me!  So now I’m going to seriously work on letting the last part be a vacation – but listen to my language!  “seriously work on it!”  Yeah, I have trouble relaxing!

I’ll take that as a segue to ending here so I can go to bed.  It’s 9:25 PM, and I’m in the steamy part of the fever cycle where I’m wanting to rip off my clothing and lie naked on my bed, but I realize that’ll shift soon to the chills part, so I’m treating it like a hot flash and just letting it be.  Ommmmmm.

I hope you all are well and that you have a blessed holiday week. 

Lots of love,

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