Peru, Oct. 25 2015

Food, not wonderful and hazardous!

First of all you can’t tell whether the mild malaise you feel is food or altitude sickness – so you try a bit of coca tea, but I didn’t like how that made me feel. So I tried eating vegetarian but I can manage only so much quinoa and steamed vegetables. And then last evening I knew I was in trouble – I was having mild diarrhea from the beginning (taking probiotics, Pepto Bismol, visited the pharmacist with Giancarlo for Peruvian remedies) but last night at around 2:00 am “travellers diarrhea” hit! I spent the next three hours running to the toilet. Finally I knocked on Sab’s door next to mine and asked her to get Giancarlo for me. So at 5:30 he called the Doctor in Cusco (an 8 hour drive away from Ayacucho) that Puchka Tours uses because he speaks English, to consult with him about what to do.

“Imodium” he ordered – take two immediately, then two more in eight hours, then two more eight hours again if the diarrhea hasn’t stopped. Well, I didn’t have any with me because Sasha in her travel notes was adamant we not use it. Fortunately Sab had some so at 6:00 I took two right away and that was effective. The doctor also wanted to prescribe an antibiotic, something for nausea, and because I was now dehydrated he insisted I drink vast quantities of an electrolyte drink (that tastes awful) – a litre every 4 hours until I started feeling stronger. Of course the pharmacy doesn’t open till 7:00 – promptly at 7:00 Giancarlo fills the prescriptions, and he and Anabel and Sab and Elaine begin nursing me. I haven’t moved from the bed all day except to go to the bathroom. Anabel brought me dry toast a couple of hours ago to nibble on. And now I’m settling in for the night.

I feel better than I did three hours ago, but I’m guessing it will be at least another full day before I’m up and around.

The group is off on a long bus trip tomorrow – either Anabel or Giancarlo will stay back with me. And in the meantime I’m continuing my regime of having a glass of electrolytes hourly – I’m not going to bother setting my alarm to wake me, but I’ll drink as much as I can through the night.

Everybody has been most accommodating and helpful – picking up bottled water, electrolytes, stopping in to see If I want/need anything. I will get through this like travellers before me! 

I have bought very little. I’ve taken a gazillion pictures – that’s enough. I’ve picked up an alpaca shawl, another shawl woven of beautiful Peruvian cotton, a couple of pieces of typical Peruvian striped woven fabric, and one small piece of embroidered cloth. I don’t need more stuff, nobody else needs more stuff, so that’s about it for my shopping.

Time to call it a night.