I didn’t have a lot of wiggle room when it came to planning this trip to Peru. I departed on Friday after my daughter’s last day of school before Spring Break, and came back the day before class resumed. Assignments, classwork, summer camp registration and everything else was kind of shuffled to the side to be dealt with when I came back.
I’m not averse to hitting the ground running, as that’s pretty much been the story of my life for thirty-something years. Land at 9 pm, grab a couple hours sleep, take the kids to school, sort out 2 weeks’ worth of work, go to Tae Kwon Do- no problem. I can do that.
Let me back up a moment here. When I was on my way to Iquitos way back on day one of the trip, I sat next to an MD from UCLA who was going to Peru to train pediatric residents in preventive care. She was amazing. She offered me some mints and the following advice: “The best way to stay healthy during travel is to wipe your airplane seat with alcohol. They NEVER clean those things.” I thought it was great advice, which I promptly forgot to follow.
The universe was not pleased I had ignored the advice it so blatantly offered up to me. After 2 weeks of relatively good health, my guts rebelled 2 hours into the 8 hour flight home from Lima. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, thank goodness, but I am sending a special virtual thank you to Irma at LAN for giving me an aisle seat.
Later on that Sunday, I started noticing my throat was a wee bit sore. I wrote it off as dehydration and sleep deprivation, but as the past 48 hours have shown, it’s a full blown head cold courtesy of my lack of alcohol wipi-ness. Or maybe it was the hostel that last night in Iquitos. Who knows.
Either way, my plans to actually catch up this week have gone frightfully awry. People who have been expecting me to e-mail bright and early on Monday are starting to worry. Did I forget them? Am I still interested in their whatever?
I have mustered up enough energy to do exactly 2 things since I got back:
- wash my disgusting laundry
- go to the grocery store so the kids didn’t have to eat tortilla chips for breakfast
Aside from that, my graceful running landing has turned into a full blown dirt-up-the-nostrils faceplant. I badgered my husband into sitting down to plan the kids’ summer activities only to pass out next to him on the couch 5 minutes into the discussion. I bought enough food to cook for the whole week but haven’t had the energy to actually do anything with it, so tonight I had guacamole and Cheerios for dinner.
I had a meeting today that I couldn’t miss, so I had to drag myself out of bed and attempt to look awake and presentable for a good portion of the day. I had to wear a wool jacket and long pants to the meeting to cover up my still-itchy red chigger bites, despite the nice 80 degree weather we had going on.
So there I was, in that nice warm torpor of being overheated, trying not to scratch and draw attention to myself while simultaneously trying not to sneeze, yawn, and actually pay attention to the topic at hand. That was a lot for my poor addled brain to keep track of. I found myself absent-mindedly rubbing at one ankle with the stiletto on the other foot at least 3 times, but because I was already so tired from the cold benadryl was out of the question.
I had to run out of the meeting to take my daughter to dance class. I was trying to explain the Peru trip to one of the other moms, but by then afternoon hypoglycemia had set in and I could barely keep a train of thought going. She said, “I was going to invite you for a glass of wine while the kids were at dance but I think that would just do you in,” with a concerned eyebrow raise. I started the day with the best intentions of channeling Martha Stewart, but by the end I was just hoping no one thought I was on drugs.
Then, just to seal the deal, she told me this chilling tale: “I knew a girl who went to Ecuador and got bit by mosquitoes. I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, ha ha….well, anyway, she felt really weird afterwards and no one could figure out why. She got encephalitis and she died.”
So now I’m convinced that I’m not tired because I have a cold, it’s brain swelling from tropical disease. How I wish I were 25 and resilient again.