Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roughing It

The whole neighborhood had plans to spend Labor Day Weekend on the Eldred’s island in Canada. I’d heard a lot about this island…the place where Rope Ferrians go to “rough it” with no cell service, no electricity, and only enough ice to keep two cases cold at a time. For various reasons, I’d never been, but I figured that this would be a perfect opportunity for me to test out my roughingness ability in preparation for the Peace Corps: would I be able to light a kerosene lamp in the middle of the night in order to go to the bathroom? Would I be able to bear the lukewarm-fire-heated “hot tub”?

Short answer: maybe not, if I had appendicitis.

A few days before leaving, I woke up (or…stayed in bed) with a massive hang over that literally took me out for the entire day. This was strange and something that’s never happened to me before. But my mom took no sympathy so I just wallowed in pain. I finally got a little curious when the pain continued into the next day. No way. No hangover is two days long. Right? As an athlete, I’ve always been a little hyper-sensitive about aches and pains. (I’ve also always been curious if I have an incredibly low pain tolerance or if I’m just in touch with my body…but that’s one of those things that’s just really hard to figure out. Like…you can’t trade pain with someone to see how you’d react to what they’re feeling.) Anyways, I had a little bit of a fear that this pain was in just the right place for it to develop into appendicitis. Which would not be a-okay while roughing it in Canada.

Finally, 24 hours later, my mom felt enough pity on me to take me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with the UTI from hell. Given antibiotics, and sent up on my way to Canada.

Coincidentally, at this time I was also reading my newest Peace Corps memoir, First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria, which is about a Peace Corps volunteer who quit, only to return to Africa a year later, following her husband on a job. The chapter I was suffering through reading while driving the miserable eight (five – ha!) hour drive to this island was about her getting pregnant in Uganda. The humor in the chapter was that not one of the doctors could confirm or deny the pregnancy for her. They all said that she was “a little bit pregnant.” (It’s on the back of the book jacket, so you don’t even have to read the whole thing to confirm this if you don’t believe me.) Of course, the fear here is that she could have had an ectopic pregnancy.

A symptom of which would be pain in the lower abdomen. Similar to pain that could be mistaken for appendicitis. Or maybe mistaken on a urine sample as a UTI????????

The author goes into some detail about the fear of having an ectopic pregnancy in a place like Uganda…or like on an island without electricity in a country with socialized medicine….

Now…I’m on birth control, I use condoms, and apparently am very unattractive because I haven’t had sex in like three months. So realistically, an ectopic pregnancy would have been impossible…but I was obviously asking myself a lot of “what ifs” as I laid convulsing in chills on the beautiful and warm sun porch on the island without electricity. And even though I kept on eating and drinking and taking those antibiotics they gave me, my fever kept on rising and rising and my vomit bursts got closer and closer getting to the point where I just couldn’t take the antibiotics anymore. (Is that an over share? Or was the pregnancy part an over share?)

So ultimately mommy and I gave up roughing it and packed up the multiple suit cases we had brought to rough it for the weekend and headed back to the marina and back to the US and non-Obama-care medicine where I was ultimately treated for a kidney infection.

Moral of the story: damn am I happy that the US was only five hours away from roughing it. And what am I going to do if I get a kidney infection in freaking Kazakhstan??

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