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.