Everyone should round off his or her trip with a nice big bout of bladder infection (or similar). Nothing will convince you more that it’s time to go home than an inability to walk and little miniature swords shooting through your stomach all day and all night.
I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill, burn-y bladder infection. Not the kind where you can’t wee, but the kind that produces a whole range of motley and disgusting symptoms that will have you Googling for possible answers only to come to the conclusion that you have Hepatitis.
My Yacht Week gloom was quickly eradicated when I showed up in Brela to visit Anna and Steve, the two friends I met in Athens and whom I’ve been following around Europe for four months. They work at a hostel there, Hostel Casa Vecchia, a bar and hostel in one where the locals come in the evenings to play darts and drink beers with guests. I failed miserably at trying to keep up with them. I slept for 26 hours over the course of two days.
Unable to keep my insides from falling out, I popped a load of pills and hopped on a bus to Dubrovnik where I’d catch my flight to Glasgow in the morning. The final leg. Within 30 minutes the bus broke down by the side of the road. “10 minutes!” the driver called out. Boy, the Croats have strange measurements of time. I sat there sweating profusely while trying to focus on positive things like fluffy kittens and hot chocolate. We moved three hours later.
Nobody told me that Dubrovnik airport was an absolute shitshow. The line-up at security was hundreds of people deep, and my flight was leaving in an hour. There was no air conditioning. I was so dizzy I was certain I’d faint. My insides were a broiling mass of panic and unimaginable horrors and I kept mopping the sweat off my face with my hands. I ran into the bathroom and got onto my hands and knees and puked. I ran back to line-up just in time to pass a checkpoint.
“Will I make this flight?” I asked her. She motioned to the next lane.
I ran for it. I didn’t realize I’d be cutting in front of other people. Now, this is something I’d never do. But considering I was barely conscious, I couldn’t be arsed. Unfortunately a group of others joined me and a huge brawl broke out. I pleaded with the person behind me. “Please understand,” I said. “I have Hepatitis.”
I got through.
I thought by the time I made it to Glasgow to see Julia I was feeling better. I hadn’t eaten in about three days at that point. But I spent our entire visit together on her couch. I saw nothing of Glasgow, except the emergency room. Thankfully she’s been understanding and mothering, bringing me smoothies and Powerade at every request.
By the way, Canada, you’re doing it wrong. Did you know you’re actually just above USA in Healthcare rankings? Free doesn’t mean good. The care I received was so good I literally cried. I mean I ACTUALLY cried, I was so relieved that someone could help me and were SO willing to do so. The doctor prescribed me a mountain of pills. I went to the pharmacy and filled my order. When the pharmacist came along with the bag, I asked, “How much?” She shook her head. I was stunned. I don’t even live there.
Consider that. Free healthcare, top quality service, and healthcare professionals who don’t make you feel like a twat.
I am the pinnacle of a mess. I have a lip scar from falling off a boat, my legs are completely mangled with skinned knees, deep cuts, and bruises all over. They’re slightly concealed by a thin layer of fuzz because I’ve been too immobile to use a razor. My fingernails and toenails are shameful. My hair literally has a mat in it because of all the sailing. Sometimes I still think I’m on a boat. I woke up in Julia’s room the other night wondering where the rest of my crew was.
I fly out tomorrow morning. I will promptly head to my little house in St. John’s and collapse facedown on the couch, because I still have someone subletting my room. Those darn little adorable mustached kittens can play all over me and I will be damned happy. I want my mommy to stroke my hair and make me tea. I hope when I wake up there will be icebergs.
And you, Europe. What a wonderful six months! I’ll be back soon. Ta.