Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 5: Surprise!

Okay, it's now Sunday. On Saturday was a beautiful wedding and a fantastic reception. The food was amazing, the music was fabulous, and of course, the location was one-of-a-kind. It was a great wedding.

But now it's Sunday. The wedding is over, and we're ready to really have a good time. Up to this point, we've made it to the beach one time for an hour or so. We're want to really enjoy our vacation!

From the beginning of the day, however, it seemed that things—again—were not going to be according to plan.

Eleanor woke up early and went down for a nap again by 9 o'clock. At home, her schedule was very regular. She always slept on her own, in her crib, and she was down to just one afternoon nap a day. But with the traveling and the sickness, anything went in Costa Rica. Until Sunday, every time she had slept had been with me or Keith or Karen, either in the bed, in the hammock, or even just in our arms. We could tell that she was still tired, but it was hard to convince her to nap properly when there was just so much going on.

Finally, her Sunday morning nap was on her own, in the Pack n' Play. Everyone else left for the post-wedding brunch from 10-12, but Keith and I stayed behind. Eleanor was finally sleeping, and I was not going to let anything interfere with that.

So we read and napped. We snacked and waited. We were planning on taking a Zip-line tour with the rest of the family and Cousin Anna, while Grandma Karen graciously offered to stay home with the baby. But Eleanor's fabulous nap meant that everyone else left while she slept on, and Keith and Karen and I hung around the house.

But it was worth it, because when she woke up she was finally herself again. So happy! We again went through the extensive preparations and set off for the beach. This time, you would think that Eleanor had been born near a tropical beach. She played in the sand, and she even let me put her down in the water for a few moments. Real progress!

Then Karen and Aunt Lily sat with Eleanor and let Keith and I go play in the waves. I can't really blame Eleanor for being scared of the waves; I got knocked off my feet a few times, and it was definitely alarming to be ass over teakettle, and we weren't very far into the water at all. I have only been to the ocean a few times in my life, and it is always exciting and frightening to realize how powerful the waves can be.

Meanwhile, Eleanor played and snacked on the beach. She did not let a bit of sand and who knows what else deter her from her goldfish and Yogurt Melts. She dropped food and immediately picked it back up to put it in her mouth. Delicious! Plus, she contaminated our one water bottle with regurgitated goldfish, so after a few gulps she no longer had any competition for the water.

Aunt Lily left, and we headed back to the house. Eleanor fell asleep on me while we were catching up with the Zip-line crew and talking about our days. We had glasses of white wine on the veranda and shared our stories. Keith got Eleanor settled in the Pack n' Play (her second time sleeping by herself that day!) and cousin Anna mentioned that she, along with some wedding guests, would be heading into town for dinner that evening.

I'm not sure if we were invited or not—it's entirely possible she was just talking about her plans. But we were in! Keith and I jumped at the chance to be out of the house and doing something. Since Eleanor was already asleep, we just wore what we had on and raced out the door.

In getting to the Zip-line tour, everyone had decided the easiest, fastest way to get over the bumpy dirt roads would be to rent ATVs instead of dealing with taxis or cars. So Keith and I got to ride an ATV to the hotel to meet Anna and her friends and then into town. It was awesome! I had a stupid grin on my face the entire time. I felt the wind past my body, I held tightly onto Keith, and I could feel the heavy weight of responsibility lifting off my shoulders.

Dinner was nice. We ended up at an Israeli restaurant, of all places. Over hummus and pitas, we got to know Gene's friends. I was glad to see that Dr. Nick was there, since he was one of the witness to my initial meltdown over Eleanor's fever. I was glad to have a chance to show that I wasn't always the neurotic, overprotective, underprepared mother. I also talk about work and culture, I swear!

Things were going swimmingly until, oh, about 5 minutes after the meals arrived. Many of us had ordered a plate of traditional Costa Rican food. Each plate had several small servings of things like white rice, black beans, salad, cole slaw, and french fries. (Random, I know.) I knew not to eat the salad, because of concerns about the vegetables being washed in water that would make me sick. Instead, I started with the cole slaw.

"Hey, has anyone tried the coleslaw?" Dr. Nick asked the table at large, after mine was pretty much gone. "It looks like a G.I. tract nightmare. I give it 50/50!"

I swallowed hard. I was already starting to feel like this trip was cursed for us, and this confirmed it. At that point I knew: I was absolutely going to get violently ill and be in bed for the rest of the trip.

I whispered my suspicions to Keith, but otherwise kept quiet. Throughout the rest of the meal, I kept feeling worse and worse. But it was all in my head, right? Right?!?

When we got up to leave, my suspicions were confirmed. I felt AWFUL. I was dizzy, and sweaty, and pretty sure I was going to throw up. We were walking down the sidewalk, leaving the restaurant, and I called to Keith who was a few steps ahead of me.

"I really do not feel good," I said. "I'm going to go back in to the bathroom. You can tell everyone to go ahead if they want," (because I might be awhile is the part I didn't say) "but I can't leave right now."

Keith looked very concerned, but nodded. I turned to go back inside .....

.... and the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground. My toe hurt. Dr. Nick was looking down at me. I was seriously confused because, during the few minutes that I was passed out, I had thought I was back at home. So all I could think was, Where am I? And that's the guy from Costa Rica--why is he here?!?

So yeah. I didn't fall victim to the coleslaw, but I did pass out. Apparently from dehydration, according to the Costa Rican doctor that I saw at the local emergency clinic. He made me drink about 20 gallons of water and an electrolyte drink. Finally, after getting my pulse checked many times first by Dr. Nick and then by the Costa Rican doctor, drinking more than I ever thought my body could contain, and passing the very official test of being able to stand without swaying, I was released to go home and rest and keep drinking.

This was turning out to be less than the dream vacation we had pictured. But I was actually very lucky that Keith caught me as I fell, or else I think I could have done a lot more damage.

We got back to the house a little after midnight. Keith's parents were excited that we had been gone so long, happy that we were finally getting to enjoy ourselves. Eleanor slept the entire time we were gone.

She did wake up as we were brushing our teeth, however. From the bedroom, we heard rustling and then a very distinct call of, "Up!"

She was in a great mood, well-rested and happy to see us. We just wanted to go to bed. We eventually compromised by all ending up in bed together again.

Even though they told me to rest, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to fall asleep. First, I was getting up every other minute to go pee. Second, I never sleep as well when I'm Eleanor's mattress. And third, I was still worried. What if it wasn't just dehydration? What if it was something more serious? The nearest hospital was a two-hour drive and one-hour ferry ride away. But I had it on good authority that it wasn't a very good hospital—if I really needed a hospital, I would want to go all the way back to the capital city, San Jose, which was a 7-hour trip over land, but only 20 minutes by air.

Just how badly jinxed was this trip? Was passing out from dehydration bad enough? Or was it going to get worse? I guess I didn't do a very good job of showing Dr. Nick or any of Gene's other friends that I can be a normal, funny, intelligent person. I was so tired, and I wanted to fall asleep. But there was also a part of me that was afraid that I wouldn't wake up. I haven't had many health scares in my life, and being in Costa Rica for this wasn't helping any. I couldn't imagine anything better than being safe in my own bed at home, or anything that seemed further away.

As I decided I would never be able to sleep and would be in even worse shape the next day, I blinked and realized it was early morning. Apparently I had made it through the night. I still wanted to be home, but I felt a little more certain that I would get there eventually.

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