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It’s always something, or coming home can be a bear

It seems like every time we travel, especially internationally, we come home to … well, a mess. Not a literal mess, but certainly not fun stuff to deal with when you’ve been away, you’re rejuvenated and relaxed and want nothing more than to bask in the afterglow of a wonderful vacation.

Every. Single. Time.

This time it was a bunch of somethings.

We hadn’t been in the country more than an hour or two before my darling husband, in taking off the compression socks we wear when we do those long-haul flights, looked at me and said, “What is this on my leg?”

It was a bite.

Several days, many many moments of sickness, fever, nausea and distress later, several medical opinions, and lots of uncertainty, our family doc said he thought it was Dengue Fever.


Pete spent the first five days home in a haze of pain, nausea, and all kinds of nastiness.

I spent them worried.

The backstory to this is that Pete has chronic pancreatitis. Has had, ever since childhood, we think. Dengue looks a little like pancreatitis.

On Tuesday, we decided Pete needed to go to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the major hospital that generally treats him. We started, then decided against it. That night he ran a fever of 103. Pretty scary stuff.

As we were in the process of figuring Pete out, my shoulder started to hurt. Now, we didn’t blog about this yet, but I fell on our last day in Rome, going down the ramp at Teatro Marcello on our way to a lovely lunch at Nonna Betta’s in the Jewish Ghetto. Pete grabbed me, which kept me from doing a face plant, but I got scraped up, and was replete with lots of pretty bruises. I didn’t realize until I got on the plane how much my shoulder hurt. Fortunately, family doc says it’s a bruise. But it’s still very, very painful.


Not only that, but as soon as we got back into the country, I got smacked with allergies. Not my normal summer allergies to rag weed (which I expect at the end of July) but huge, sneezing, nose-running, congesting, eye-watering JUNE allergies, to God-knows-what.


Family doc also had a remedy for this, all the while mentioning that possibly next trip we needed to bring our doctor with us. Something to consider!

This made me think, though – what can we do to feel better both before, during and after vacations? I’ve come up with a few ideas:

  1. Make sure you have your immunizations. We do, though of course no one thought to get one for any of the mosquito-borne illnesses, since our trip was only taking us to Europe. However, having been to Africa, Haiti, and other countries in which serious illness is a possibility, I know how important it is to protect yourself in every way you can. Check online which vaccines are recommended for your destination, and get them. It will be money well spent.

  2. Keep yourself as healthy as you can. Although it’s tempting not to sleep well and to burn the candle at both ends before your trip, it is not a good idea for many reasons. Although you might be able to rest and relax, why begin exhausted?

  3. As you vacation, make sure you’re also taking care of yourself. Late nights and too much wine can take a toll. Make sure you eat (reasonably) healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep.

  4. Consider some of the immune-boosting supplements that are available. At least take more vitamin C. There are lots of things that might help here, from essential oils to over-the-counter health aids. I am not an expert, but we always increase our intake of Vitamin C before trips, and we have frequently added other supplements to make sure we stay healthy.

  5. Try to minimize time with those who are sick, even if they are members of your party. This doesn’t help them, and could hurt you.

  6. Be mindful of shaking hands, handling money, eating at buffets, etc. – all places and activities that have you swapping germs with others. Washing your hands is ALWAYS a good idea, not just on cruises.

  7. Enjoy! Be joyful and happy. The best medicine is having fun, being together with loved ones and enjoying life.

We’re mostly better by now, six days into our home routine, but it was a week! We’re trying to concentrate on all the things that will make us feel better as we move into our Pennsylvania summer, with the promise of another wonderful vacation less than ten weeks away …

Stay tuned, and stay healthy.

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