Last week Saturday evening, on Santiago at dinner time, just before the mad dash to the airport to wait in line for three hours, I noticed my throat feeling a bit ungh, as if there were something adhering to it, getting in the way of my swallowing. Back at the hotel, I pulled out my headlamp and looked, and sure enough, a couple of white spots. As there really wasn't any pain, just this sort of annoying feeling of adhesion, I decided it was probably thrush. It did not particularly surprise me that I was developing thrush—I'd been having sugar in my coffee every morning, and eating more sweets than usual, and whatnot. Also, for some reason, we were using our alarm clock all the time—which I never do at home—because we kept having to be up early for ferries or planes, or we didn't want to nap too long and be up all night, or we just wanted to get ourselves into our new time zone. In Lisbon we used an alarm because Ian had to leave for the plane at 5:40am (I walked him down to the taxi and then went back to bed for a couple hours); in Porto I used my alarm almost every morning because I wanted to get up when the household got up, so that I could go into town with them and be a member of the family. At any rate, because of the timings of things, early or late or often both, I really haven't been getting anything even close to the 9-hours-per-night-of-Zs that I've been enjoying at home. Add that to two continents and three countries and so far 8 flights and it's a recipe for, well, at minimum some annoyance in the throat.
I had emailed my friend in Porto suggesting that I'd need to go to a clinic when I arrived, maybe to pick up some Fluconazole for the thrush problem, but by the time I arrived my throat was actually hurting rather badly (i.e. probably not thrush after all, which didn't hurt). It wasn't scratchy at all, so I could get to sleep just fine (when I found a time and place to lie down), and it didn't affect my sense of taste at all, and so, even though it hurt to swallow, and I thought about writing a blog entry saying "My throat's been bothering me lately," it wasn't actually bothering me and I thought I'd just give it a couple days and see what happened.
What happened was that, over the week, the spots and the searing pain on swallowing migrated around until I decided that I probably had strep, and I should probably get it looked at as soon as I could. For me that meant here, on Guernsey, where I was going to have three nights in a hotel all by myself with no responsibilities to anyone else. I arrived, however, at almost 5pm on Friday evening, and the closest clinic had closed for the weekend. The young man at the reception desk pointed me in the direction of Boots the Chemist and I ran down and bought a numbing gargle before they closed for the weekend at 5:30, and then I came back to my spacious and lovely room, unpacked, had a bit of tea and some biscuits, then went down to the pub for a soup and salad for dinner. I thought I would just get a lot of sleep, no alarms, and allow my body to heal itself.
Well. In the event, my body decided it really did want to see a medical professional, and so at 7:30 am I woke, after a fitful night, and threw up. I went back to bed and drifted off to sleep, then woke again at 8 and threw up again. I proceeded to throw up at least every half-hour until I'd reached 5 times; in the meantime, diarrhea had also set in and I was cleansing my digestive tract from both ends. I called down to reception and asked if there was, anywhere on the island, an open urgent care facility, obtained an appointment and a taxi, threw up one more time, and headed out to the doctor, fortunately not needing to stop by the side of the road on the way. I mostly sat in the car as quietly as possible—stasis being my only friend at that time—but I was roused to interest by two girls riding tall, beautiful horses down the narrow, busy, paved street, from somewhere into the stables. There was not a lot of information from my driver.
I threw up once more at the doctor's office (totaling 7), then got a jab of an antiemetic, and prescriptions for a strong sort of Immodium and Cipro for my throat, which I remembered as an afterthought (and which is much better today—I think my self-diagnosis of strep was probably right on). My taxi driver for the trip back to the hotel stopped at a grocery and I bought some mild biscuits, an apple-pear juice suspiciously thick like a nectar (which I don't usually like—too glutinous-feeling—but it was good for my purposes), and some instant soups which I could mix up in my room with my (ubiquitous in the UK) kettle. I spent most of yesterday asleep—dozing and waking to drink something, dozing and waking to drink something—and Ian called in the evening, and I dozed and drank through the night, and actually went to breakfast this morning—tea, canned peaches, a fresh pear, cranberry juice, and a box of dry Cocoa Krispies.
And now I feel pretty (tentatively) good—and I'm going to go out and wander around a bit. I may not get to see much of Guernsey today in my last few hours here, but as a place to be violently ill and quickly recuperate, I can highly recommend it.