Much though I love to travel, I still leave home reluctantly. Something about leaving familiar landmarks behind me heightens a sense of being lost asea in a world far too wide and vast to comprehend. So sitting in Europe wondering whether I've contracted H1N1 scares me.
We are in Edinburgh now, having arrived here by way of a week's stay in Florence and a brief stop in Rome. We are attending the wedding of a good friend's daughter in a castle not far from the seat of the Scottish Enlightenment. My wife and I walk each day for hours, recently through Tuscan hills or busy Roman thoroughfares, and now through rolling East Lothian pastures. I love to walk and talk with m wife; these are some of the best times we spend together.
Four or five days ago, I developed a slight sore throat. This was followed by sneezing, a runny nose and a general sense of malaise. The other night, I had night sweats. My throat bothers me still.  
The symptoms are really more nuisance than anything else, but the press has been filled with accounts of a flu pandemic. Why, the world is to be swept and thousands, perhaps millions, will die, right?  So I am suddenly homesick and wishing I could give our family doctor a call, although I know what he will say: Rest, drink plenty of fluids, take some cough medicine and perhaps some aspirin.
Easy enough things to do while on vacation.
But I am almost never ill. I have booked off sick perhaps once in the past 20 years when work beckons. I suppose I've become complacent about good health. I should know better.
 My wife has battled bad luck in terms of health for a decade: she's twice pushed through cancer, endured a freak eye injury, been hobbled by diabetes, and, when all this and various medications she took to cope with one insult after another overwhelmed her, she nearly died: I once rushed her to an emergency room three times in a ten-day period. I know the ties that bind body and soul to the known world are slender, and it takes but little to snap them.
So I suppose that is what scares me about the possibility of fighting through my own trifling case of H1N1, if that is, in fact, what I am doing. Otherwise healthy folk push through an exposure with a week's discomfort, I have read. But those not otherwise healthy, these folks can be felled by a bout of this new flu.
I am far from home tonight and cherishing the sound of my wife's deep breaths as she sleeps. So far, she's fine. I hope she remains so.

Comments: (3)

  • Go to the best pharmacy you can find and ask the p...
    Go to the best pharmacy you can find and ask the pharmacist for something. They have good over the counter remedies in the UK, without worry.
    Posted on October 12, 2009 at 3:50 pm by Anonymous
  • What Anonymous said. You ain't in the U.S. Go ge...
    What Anonymous said. You ain't in the U.S. Go get some drugs, man.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 6:12 am by Mike
  • Norm
    It sucks to be ill while on vacation. I agree...
    It sucks to be ill while on vacation. I agree that you should find the best pharmacy you can and get something. Take care of yourself!
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm by Anonymous

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