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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Montezuma’s revenge

We had almost cleared quarantine, so why were we suddenly all feeling rotten?
Kellee Mayfield listens to rap music while painting. Photo courtesy of Jane Chapin.
“Kellee,” I said quietly over breakfast, “you need to take my temperature.” Kellee Mayfield has this nifty no-touch thermometer that she aims at your forehead. If you’re below 100° F, it gives you a green light. If you’re above that, it squawks and flashes red at you. I know this because it did that to me. My heart sank.

I immediately went to bed, took a combination of Tylenol and aspirin and isolated myself. Periodically, Jane Chapin would come in and wave the magic thermometer at me. My temperature dropped into the safe zone, but I was not feeling well at all.

I was not concerned for myself; I’m overall as healthy as a horse, and I don’t have any underlying medical conditions that would encourage Coronavirus to knock me off. But I would have hated to be the weak link that kept us in Patagonia for several more weeks.
Hoping to paint here today. Photo courtesy of Jane Chapin.
Meanwhile, some of my fellows were suffering a different ailment: traveler’s diarrhea. In the past, this was sometimes known by the rather rude names of Montezuma’s Revenge or Delhi Belly. Sometimes pathogens in water don’t bother natives but upset the stomachs of visitors. But lest we feel superior, our own North American pathogen, Giardiasis, or beaver fever, is particularly nasty, and nobody develops tolerance to it. I speak from experience.

But whether it was different food, too much Malbec, or something in the water, three of my fellow travelers were laid low. Since we can’t flush the toilet tissue, I can’t even imagine their difficulties.

By the end of the day yesterday, we had four members of our little troop in some kind of distress. The problem with illness in the Age of Coronavirus is that we question every little spike in temperature, bad gut, or headache. That’s especially true in a foreign country, under quarantine, on sufferance.
Those who can, painted. Those would couldn't, slept. Photo courtesy of Jane Chapin.
Even in the face of worry, the show went on. Those who could, went out and painted. Those of us who couldn’t, rested. Kellee Mayberry told me that her painting blew into the river. I was sad to have missed that.

This morning my temperature is down and my fellows have returned to their usual bathroom habits. Once again, we’re all our usual cheerful selves. Tomorrow our quarantine ends, so today is the last day in which we can paint all day. I plan to make the most of it.


meredyth kezar said...

What I can’t understand is why you went in the first place, by the time you left in Canada we were told not to travel!!!!

Unknown said...

Good to here you are all ok what a place to get sick ,hope you all have Master pieces ,and they will be ,

Carol Douglas said...

Meredyth, at the time we left the United States we were definitely NOT being told not to travel, and Argentina was a State Department Level 1 travel advisory, meaning that it was considered safe. We checked every day. The situation devolved rapidly as we were en route, badly enough that four of our party--meeting us a day or two later--never left the US.

meredyth kezar said...

So sorry you were caught in this situation. As by the time you left we were told any travellers would be subject to two week quarantine on their return. Crazy times and I am sure you will be thrilled once you get on a plane. Good luck!!!