Things I learned while being sick on vacation
A tickle in the throat on Day 1 of your Sicilian trip-of-a-lifetime is never a good sign. But when it turned into a gut-wrenching cough and fever that spiked to 102 degrees I knew this would not be the trip I’d anticipated. And it wasn’t. I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but this was the very first time I’ve gotten seriously sick on vacation. So what else to do but turn it into a learning opportunity.
Yes, it is entirely possible to cough your brains out.
These were my brains. Or maybe I just thought they were. I coughed so hard I was sure my brains had left the building. I have no reason why they spell out Maria. Maybe a plea to the Virgin. In fact, I’m certain of it. I was sick enough that death seemed like a really good option. At the time, anyway.
Sicilian doctors make house calls to hotels
My dottore did not look like this. But then, I don’t look like her, either. And I was definitely not in the mood to frolic.
Since I couldn’t even imagine summoning the strength to go to a doctor, I was relieved that our Siracusa hotel knew one who would come to the hotel within the hour. I mean, within the HOUR. Dottore spoke no English, but we definitely understood one another. Especially as it regarded American medication. Not everyone thinks American meds are all that. While his eyes lit up at the Z-pack my doctor sent us off with, he turned his nose up at Tylenol, making clear that my severe bronchial infection necessitated something stronger. So he wrote me a script for Paracetamol. Which is actually Tylenol. My Tylenol of the same strength didn’t touch my 102 degree fever but Paracetamol kept it under control. Since they’re exactly the same thing, I’m not sure why that was. However, I can say this for certain: five days of fever dreams is five days too many.
Everyone takes siesta seriously, even Farmacias.
Do NOT get sick during siesta. Rest is serious business in Sicily and even illness is expected to siesta. But mine did not want to take siesta. It wanted medications. Our hotel helped M. find a Farmacia that was open during siesta so he could get my meds right away.
If you feel like staying in bed, stay in bed. Even if you are on vacation.
One of the winemakers at one of Sicily’s biggest wine producers. If not the biggest. Yes, she looks 12 years old.
I hated to miss events, but a couple days of staying in and resting were a necessity. Besides, I felt like crap. And since I was on an antibiotic, I couldn’t partake in the many wine tastings on this WINE TASTING VACATION. I know. I have photos of the first week of the trip, but few memories and that’s probably a blessing. Fortunately, all the other wine-lovers on the trip made sure all that good wine didn’t go to waste.
I remember reclining on a sofa here while others imbibed.
How about all that food I had no interest in? (I’ll save the food shots for another post.) Even if I could muster enthusiasm, which I couldn’t, it’s not like I could taste it. Bed was definitely the best option.
Well, except that one morning I forced myself to visit the Greek Theatre and Roman Amphitheatre ruins in Siracusa. I really, really wanted to see them. It was almost 100 degrees, humid, and I had to hike up a steep hill with a fever.
I lived to tell about it. And it was so worth it!
When a fellow traveler is obviously sick, there are things you simply should not say.
Oh, how they wanted to shout!
Do not say “Are you ok?” Because the only response would be this:
“NO, I am not ok. If I were ok I wouldn’t have a fever flush, be turning down huge goblets of wine and platters of pizza. And you would have seen me at the last three events. Oh, and my husband already told you I was sick. So am I ok? Hell, no!”
Here are some approved things to say if a traveling companion is sick:
“I’m sorry you’re sick.”
“Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”
Do not tell me all about your recent purchases and what you saw, since you know damn well my credit card is sitting in my purse unused, I have no bags of Sicilian pottery and I did not see some of those beautiful Sicilian sites because I was back at the hotel in bed.
Here’s the fact: A sick person doesn’t give a crap about your day.
So, here’s the bottom line:
The reason I didn’t blog all along the way this time is that I was sick. The reason I am slow getting these Sicily posts up is that I have 745 photographs to go through and ask M. “Where was this, again?”
But no worries, more to come.