The doc said the test results were negative. No strept.
“Really? Nothing? No tonsillitis?”
“Nope. You’ve got the flu. It might take a week, ten days. Here’s some advice on how to take care of yourself. Drink lots of fluids, take asprin, you know the drill, I’m sure.” She handed me a few sheets of paper. One of them was a “do not travel” advisory letter.
I’ve never been so sorry not to have strept. I was hoping for the sort of thing that could be crushed in 24-48 hours by antibiotics. That would mean I’d be back on my feet by Friday and up to flying by Sunday, No such luck. On Friday morning, still weak with fever, I canceled my trip to Peru. I’d wanted to wait until noon, but at in the middle of the night, as I sat in bed trying to hack up a lung, the husband patted me on the back and said “You know you’re staying home, right? You’re not going anywhere with that cough.” I imagined the unfortunate passenger next to me on the plane. “It’s cool, I’m not contagious anymore,” I’d say, and they’d hit the call button. “Can I get another seat? This woman’s cough is terrifying me.”
On the one hand, it was not an easy decision to make. I have traveled while sick before, it is doable, if somewhat hallucninatory and exhausting. I was to be staying in nicer hotels, I imagined their immaculate bathtubs filled with steaming hot water. I could finish out my recovery in the springtime climate of Lima, and I’d fine by the time we headed up to the high altitudes of Cusco. Sure, I’d miss out on the sites on the early end of the trip, but I wouldn’t miss Machu Picchu, and that’s what mattered. All I needed was two days with no fever, how hard could that be? I could be — would be — better in time to make this trip.
On the other hand, it was no problem to make the call. I was shattered. My fever refused to quit, my cough got uglier, and on Saturday morning, I had muffled hearing in one ear because it had swollen shut. I hadn’t slept because of the pain. I imagined myself gasping for breath in the lofty heights of the Andes, or worse, sent back to the airport by the guide. “Excuse me Miss, have you heard that cough? Do you know it is harder to breathe at altitude? I can not be responsible for your well being in your current state…” I emailed a copy of the doctor’s do not travel letter over to the agency and went back to bed. I was nowhere near healthy enough to travel. “I wouldn’t have taken you to the airport,” the husband said.
To say I feel sorry for myself is not out of line, and I think that’s an appropriate response. But there’s something else, too. I had full travel insurance, including last minute cancellation coverage. The agency that arranged this all expenses paid adventure has been thoughtful, kind, and understanding, even though I’m sure it’s a hassle for them. “It can’t be helped,” they said, “and we know how much you wanted to participate. Get better.”
When you are constantly presented with amazing opportunities, you know that something else will come along. I’m on day five of a positively brutal flu. It feels like I get to have all the symptoms, and rather than front loading them, I get a new one each day. It’s been a tough run. But the flu will go away and another adventure will come up. It will come up sooner than I expect and I won’t believe I’ve been offered the chance to do something I never dreamed I’d be doing.
I had to cancel my trip to Peru. I’m pretty bummed out, and also, totally okay with it. And I’m psyched for whatever comes next.
Here’s the trip I was supposed to take as a guest of Globus. I am already booked to travel in Europe with them on a Rhine River trip late this spring. What a life, right? Right. Stupid flu.