I hope I am not jinxing our family, when I say that overall this year, we have been incredibly lucky in staying healthy. But every once in a while, we do get a little bug that gets passed around the family unit. No one likes to be sick, but to this date, I have never seen anyone do it so well as David.
David is quite sure when he gets sick, that he is the sickest that anyone has ever been, anywhere in the world. Of course he is able to appreciate the difference between the common cold and a life threatening illness, but to rephrase, when he gets a cold, he is sure that he has the worst cold than anyone else has ever had in the entire world.
It is always helpful to David if I can manage to catch the bug first. That way I have suffered some of the minor aches and pains and inconveniences associated with this bug and can build up some small amount of empathy when David eventually gets it too. But, that also works against poor David when he gets sick, because I know it is not necessary to spend two days stricken in his bed.
Another aspect of David’s associations with his unhealthy self is his quest for a cure. David is willing to try anything to get over his cold. He believes in cultural emersion for finding a cure. Most recently in Northwest Argentina, David gladly accepted a medicinal tea bought in a small pharmacy on top of a mountain. The tea contained various herbs and probably was very soothing and helped him stay hydrated, but I am not sure it ended his suffering any faster. In Phu Coc, Vietnam when David got the stomach bug that several other travelers staying at our hotel had also had and repeatedly told David, “It takes 24 hours, you will feel fine in 24 hours.” David laughed at the idea of waiting out a whole 24 hours. He dipped into our traveling hospital bag and took the antibiotics we brought with us from home for just such a stomach bug. He was better in 24 hours.
In China, there were the pills containing ground tiger bones, totally illegal in the open market, but easily bought if you know a guy. In Peru, the recommendation to help ease the pain of altitude sickness is to sip coca tea or chew on coca leaves, two or three in your cheek will do the job. If two or three are good, twelve or thirteen must certainly be better. It’s okay, we don’t see any mandatory drug testing in David’s near future.
But the family does suffer when David gets sick. Suddenly, the rest of us have to ask questions to waiters and tour operators, taxi drivers and random people on the street. On our most recent trip in the mountains in Salta, Argentina, David felt so bad that he decided to sit in the back of the car our tour guide had rented to show us the region. I had to sit in the front and make conversation. Sure, I could handle the “where are you from originally?” and “how old are your children?” parts. I could even ask a few well -informed questions regarding the political history of the region. Where I froze though were the questions such as, “Well, tell me exactly why you got divorced. And while you are at it, please give me the health history of your maternal line.” I also, can’t talk about cars. I don’t know anything about cars and see them more as a mode of transportation rather than a topic to fill hours of desert terrain. Apparently, my pathetic attempts to made conversation with our tour guide was actually the best remedy I could ever find to David’s cold. After the first rest stop, we changed seats. David sat shot gun and took over interviewing the guide. We quickly found out that he has a fiancé who lives in Poland and he is soon going to move there to be with her. We learned the details involved in their meeting and all the job possibilities available to him in Krakow, including giving Spanish language tours of Aushwitz.
You will all be happy to know that we are currently feeling good and ready to tackle the final legs of our trip. David has committed to staying healthy and we are all working on the art of asking questions, just in case.