I've always been the person who refuses to let illness get in the way, for better or for worse. I won't lose a workday, but I will stay sick for longer. It is not a good thing and not something that should garner accolades. It stemmed from feeling unable to take care of myself if it came at the expense of productivity.
A few years ago, I had an awful bout of laryngitis. I still worked - every day - until my doctor told me point-blank to go home and sleep. That's in part because my sick time and vacation time were one in the same, and I didn't want to let laryngitis in January keep me from taking time off at Christmas to spend time with my family. But that's another story.
The plus side of that: illness has always been something annoying that I had to deal with, but not something that impacted my mental state.
Today, that's not the case.
I get sick a lot on Remote Year. That's mostly because we're in South America, where bouts of food poisoning are frustratingly difficult to avoid. I've gotten a cold or two, but that's bound to happen regardless.
I've now had 4 awful encounters with food poisoning in 3.5 months. That's not counting the many, many days of an upset stomach (but a manageable one). In Argentina, I was throwing up so hard that vomit came out of my nose. The other night, I spiked a high fever in the middle of my nausea-filled misery and had to deal with sweats and intense body aches. It was so bad that I wondered if my typhoid vaccine was a dud.
In the grand scheme of things, it's not that bad.
But it feels so incredibly defeating, every time.
Every time my stomach turns, I feel as though illness is inevitable. Getting healthy is a shallow joy because I'm just waiting for the next time it'll strike, the next moment that I'll be incapacitated by some environmental factor. The frequency and severity are so, so frustrating. Feeling shitty is my reality, and feeling healthy is a nice (occasional) break.
I can't remember the last time I got food poisoning in the USA.
In that sense, Europe feels like my saving grace. I know I'll probably get sick in Europe, too, but probably not as often. Hopefully not as severely.
In just over two weeks I leave for London, where vegetables aren't suspect and water isn't poisonous. Where I can easily find healthy food to boost my immune system.
Two weeks until I feel like I can breathe, literally and figuratively.
I love you, Peru, but I have really hit my South America threshold. My body is done.
Header image: negative space.