Once we were done traveling, we had thought the worst was over. We were wrong.
On the ferry, I had noticed that Eleanor was starting to feel warm. I told myself it was just from traveling, and she would be fine in the morning. But she wasn't. She definitely had a fever and was miserable.
The night we arrived, the groom (Keith's cousin Gene) and his mother stopped by to say hello and help us get settled. Wonderful people they are, they brought us food and potable water. Gene, who also happens to be an ER doctor in New York City, mentioned that he was surfing at 7am the next morning with his friends, and anyone would be welcome to join him.
Well, Eleanor woke up at 5.30am, crying and feeling like she was on fire. We groggily got up and did the best we could to appease her, but she was clearly very unhappy.
And we were also unhappy. How could she be sick already? And how could we forget to bring a thermometer and children's Tylenol?!? We were so focused on travel-specific items like getting her Hep A shot, and filling a prescription for diarrhea medication (just in case!), and bringing plenty of sunscreen, band-aids and Neosporin .... we completely forgot to be prepared for the usual baby illnesses. I felt so worried and like a horrible mother, because I wasn't prepared.
After worrying myself into a serious funk, Karen and I walked to where Gene was staying, just one house further down the beach. The house looked completely quiet, but we figured someone had to be up. Right?
Finally, on a bench behind the house, facing the infinity pool and the ocean (which I barely even saw), we found Gene's two surfing buddies. Who are also ER doctors with him. I couldn't be bothered to learn their names or introduce myself before launching into "My daughter is sick and I don't know what to do!" I even found myself getting choked up as I talked. As I tried to hold back the tears, I thought about how embarrassed I was to be this crazy stranger-lady who is having a meltdown in Costa Rica, and they just want to go surfing. It only got worse when their medical advice was to give Eleanor baby Tylenol, keep her hydrated, and keep an eye on her ... and I had to admit I was also a bad, unprepared mother because I didn't bring any baby Tylenol.
By this time, Gene had shown up so he offered to run over to his sister Teresa's place. Teresa has two young daughters and is also the most organized, efficient person in the world, so there was no doubt that she would have a thermometer and medicine that we could borrow. I thanked him profusely and retreated back to our house, to hold Eleanor and apologize again for being such a terrible mother. I'm sure the doctors sighed with relief, and hopefully went surfing.
As promised, Gene delivered the medical necessities, courtesy of Teresa. Once we had the thermometer and the Tylenol, I calmed down a bit. We spent most of the day relaxing in the bedroom or swinging in the hammock. We briefly attended the rehearsal dinner that night, but there was too much heat and noise and people, so we left before dinner was even served, and long before the party really got started.
By the next morning (Friday), Eleanor's fever was waning. After much discussion and debate, more logical minds prevailed and we all agreed that there was no way she could have gotten sick in Costa Rica, since she was already feeling warm within a few hours of our arrival. Maybe she could have gotten something on the plane? But even that would mean an incubation period of less than a day between getting infected and showing symptoms. So was the most likely explanation that she was actually sick before we even left Cleveland, and it was just poor, dumb luck that she got sick on our trip? Somehow, that seemed like the most far-fetched yet logical explanation.
So by mid-Friday morning, I could stop worrying so much about Eleanor and concentrate on me, because I felt horrible. Jeremy had brought back some champagne from the rehearsal dinner the night before, and I decided to have a mimosa. There'd been some rumblings in my stomach area during the night and early morning that I had tried to ignore, but somehow the mimosa brought these minor cramps to full force. I went to the bathroom and puked up everything I had eaten so far that day.
Instead of laying in bed as Eleanor's mattress, I laid in bed of my own accord. Keith made Costa Rican style "gallo pintos" for lunch—black beans and rice. I had really been looking forward to trying it when he started soaking the beans the night before, but at this point I knew it was not a good idea. I took a few antacids that were helpfully included in the wedding bags and curled into a ball on the couch. Was it something I ate? Did I catch a bug on the plane? Had all of my worrying from the previous day actually turned into physical illness? I didn't know what I had; I just knew I was tired of feeling like crap and wanted to actually start my vacation!
After that, I risked eating a few tortillas chips because they were the only things that didn't make me want to vomit as soon as I looked at them. Just kidding! I still threw them up a bit later.
By the evening, I was still feeling shaky and weak, but not as vomitous. Cousin Teresa and her husband Nic had arranged for a chef to prepare a meal at their rented villa, and close family was invited to eat and spend time together. So I did manage to eat that meal and keep it down. I hoped that meant that the sickness was passing.
I went to bed that night feeling sick and incredibly irritated. We had made it all the way to Costa Rica, we were only there for 6 days (not counting travel) .... and I had spent the first two days in bed. Time was running out for the vacation of my dreams!