Sicily: fever dreams

October 17, 2014

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.

MariaThese 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.

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.

farmaciaDo 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.

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.

2013-03-05 14.50.59

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.

Greek TheatreWell, 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!

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.

28 comments on “Sicily: fever dreams
  1. Andrea B. says:

    Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear you were so sick! That stinks. 🙁

    Sending you healthy vibes and hopes that whenever you travel next you stay well.

    Looking forward to the pictures you took of whatever you did see and eat.

  2. Karen says:

    Aw, Carol…what a drag! I’m so sorry you were sick–especially when you were looking forward to this vacation so much.

  3. oh man!! that stinks! But you have a great story. time to plan another trip!

  4. Carol,

    I’m sorry you were sick while on vacation. It sucks (been there), but at least it made great material for this post! 🙂

  5. What a bummer!!! I am so sorry you were sick. I get it about the photos! Totally. I really need to take notes but I rely on the Mister to tell me what they are of. His brain is not a jumble of letters on the floor like mine usually is. Here’s to healthy days!

  6. Sheryl says:

    Oh, no! Being sick is bad enough, but while on vacation is worse. Sorry you had to deal with this. Hope you’re feeling a whole lot better by now.

  7. Carol Graham says:

    You go girl — not much can hold you down. Even coughing your brains out and you still do a great post!

  8. I’m so sorry, Carol. What a horrible time. Though with 745 photos to look back on, perhaps there will be at least a few things that make you smile about the trip.

  9. Well that just sucked. But, I’m glad you’re on the mend.

  10. Such a bummer! I’d be scared to death if I got sick in a foreign country. Although maybe their health care is better. You poor thing. Glad you got better. I guess that means you’re gonna have to go back.

  11. I was sick one day when we were in Tuscany last April. The hotel staff was so kind and thoughtful – and I stayed in bed, despite all the things we wanted to do.

  12. So glad you are okay and I really hope you get to plan a do over at some point.
    I have learned something from you, I think I will travel with antibiotics from now on!
    Looking forward to seeing all of the photos!

  13. Oh, no! It’s bad enough to be too sick for wine and platters of pizza at home – but in Sicily! Condolences!

  14. kim tackett says:

    Oh, I am so sorry you were sick. But this is a good excuse to return, right? Welcome home, can’t wait for the stories. Missed you.

  15. Tammy says:

    That just SUCKS! So sorry, hopefully you were able to have some fun.

  16. Ruth Curran says:

    Thank you for putting those “not to say tips” out there! People don’t think. I remember a day when I could not go on a dive (just a stupid cold and you can’t dive with full sinuses) and everyone insisted on telling me how beautiful it was in great detail and I wanted to smack them! In hindsight I was totally happy they had a great time but, seriously….Well, you get it!

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  17. Valerie says:

    Ugh! What a beautiful trip gone bad! I’m so sorry. I had some nasty breast cancer complications while I was on a cruise ship last year and the ship’s Dr. was AWFUL!!!! Hope you’re feeling better!

  18. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Poor you.There’s not much worse than getting sick on vacation. So sorry!

  19. Diane says:

    I am so sorry that you felt so miserable. You had been anticipating this trip with so much hope! There is only one thing to say: If going on vacation means making memories, than this one was definitely a success! Hey. I didn’t say they had to be good memories . . .

  20. Kimba says:

    I’m sorry you were sick.
    Anything we can do to make you feel better now?
    Nailed it.

    Seriously, how about we help you pick a do-over; where shall you go?

  21. I was as sick as a dog in Italy once too. It was a Sunday and the pharmacies were closed and I knew I needed anti-biotics. The doctor couldn’t come to the hotel because he was enjoying brunch with his family so he sent a z-pac via messenger. Only in Italy!

  22. Oh, Carol, I’m so sorry you were sick at all on vacation. Let me know if there’s anything I can do 🙂

  23. Bleeech, Sounds so un-fun. I was sick one time while traveling – in Italy, while young and staying in hostels. The policy of hostels was that everyone had to leave by 10 in the morning and stay out until 5pm. Getting up and out all day was not going to happen given how sick I was. Fortunately the hostel manager was kind and let me sleep all day. Unlike you, I was able to recover in that day. I can only imagine how horrible a multi-day illness abroad must have been.

  24. Lana says:

    Oh Carol, I’m so, so sorry that you got sick on your vacation. I got sick on the last day of a trip back East a few years ago, and had to fly home with a high fever. It was the worst. Hope you’re feeling better.

  25. I’m so sorry you got sick that sucks you’ve been looking forward to this trip for so long. Sorry but if it were me I would have bitch-slapped the person who asked if you were okay! No, I thought I’d just spend a fortune, fly halfway around the world to take a fever-induced siesta!

  26. So sorry to hear this Carol. I hope you are completely over it. Traveling these days with any type of sickness can be frightening. I know you are disappointed, but hope that you will be restored to your health completely. I have been sick all week…been to the doctor twice…it is a bummer no matter where it happens.

  27. Sorry you were so sick, but you seem to have managed to take a lot of beautiful pictures! And, did you update your blog – it looks a little different and I like it.

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