Sunday, June 30, 2019

Leaving for Peru Tomorrow, and a Little Frightened

Hello all. I leave for Peru for 3 weeks tomorrow, for a Jungle Jaunt with seven guests, three of whom are old friends, and the four others friends I'll make. The trip has been planned meticulously. Hotels have been paid for, a shipment of bottled water, gasoline, petroleum, toilet paper and a host of other things has been sent upriver. My team is ready to kick ass out in the jungle, and I have a feeling the deep jungle is ready to kick ass as well. I'm getting strong and will do my share to make this trip special for everyone.
But I'm a little scared as well. As my daughter Madeleina has pointed out, I've come back from most trips in the last several years quite ill. Some of that is my fault because I always ask the universe to give me the pain if there is pain that has to be suffered for our incursion into the jungle, as light-footed as we are. And the universe seems to go along with that: My guests come out fine. I come out with anaconda bites that have left one hand nearly senseless, dengue fever, new bouts of old malaria, and in February, I came back with my second case of flesh eating bacteria. Three days after I returned home I visited a doc who put me in the hospital. The hospital put me in intensive care and eight doctors worked on me for three days before I was transferred to a regular room for five more days. I did 74 days of antibiotics, was off for three weeks, then started another round of 60 days. I'm nearly halfway through that and dry heave daily from them, cannot taste food--which sucks for a chef--and have some general malaise from the 3,000 mgs daily of the two antibiotics I'm taking to keep the bacteria, which have evidently cultivated me I'm told--at bay.
I am not really worried about that sort of stuff, even though it could be worrisome. What I am scared to death of is a repeat of my last flight from Lima to Dallas. I was really sick. The people at the airport said I was too ill to fly. I did not realize it, and they finally let me on the international flight. But during the 7 hour flight, I started to hallucinate. I mean, really hallucinate. I watched my leg, which was well wrapped but leaking a little liquid, begin to leak a lot. I had not had a drink or smoked a joint or done anything to provoke the hallucinations: They just arrived, full force. I watched my leg leak so much that it began to flood the airplane floor until the whole plane was knee deep in watery fluid. All of the people in the seats in front of me turned around and glared at me and some people asked what I was going to do about it. Their seats rose like theater seats so that they could all see me clearly. I spoke to a few of them, which woke the real people up and they told me to shut the hell up. It was one hell of a show caused by the malaria relapse I had, combined with the flesh eating bacteria, and the 103 temp I did not realize I had until we landed and they had a wheel chair and a nurse waiting for me.
It was frightening to be in an alternate reality while on a plane with the lights off. At one point I went back to the kitchen area and told one of the flight attendants that I was feeling lousy and asked if she might give me water and talk with me for a few minutes. She said "no. Go back to your seat." I thought that was harsh.
I made it through. But if there is a chance the powers that be can make sure that does not happen again tomorrow, I would be really, really happy. Oh, and if I can ask for one more thing: Please do not make me dry heave several times during the flight for a couple of minutes each time. Nobody liked that and nobody bought a ticket for that show.
Ah well, life's an adventure, eh?

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