Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amazonion Bugs... get into my stomach

These last few days I have been bound to my bed with a stomach bug and on a 'dunny run' for the umpteenth time. Clutching my stomach, bent over double on the loo, on my fourth day of this ordeal, in great pain I cry out... "dear God, please help me through this. Help me clear this crap."

And then I get some insight.

I see it as a cleanse physically and emotionally, as the emotional 'crap' I'd been hanging onto in recent weeks, storing it in my belly.

I'm momentarily in gratitude, then squeak as I grip my belly with another cramp rolling through. I'm feeling weak, and exhausted. I want this to stop. I shut my eyes and breathe....

I'm also transported back in time to September 2008 when I was in the Peruvian Amazon Jungle, and experienced more 'bugs' than I bargained for.

A four day adventure in the thick of the Amazon was amazing and enlightening as to how I can cope being ill in one of the most isolated parts of the world.

We flew in to Puerto Maldonado (Peru, near the Bolivian border), picked up by tour guides and led to an office to leave most of our luggage. We were each given a "ten kilo duffel bag," meaning we could only pack ten kilos of belongings to travel with us.

From there we were transported by bus to the Amazon river, all piling into a motorized canoe. An hour later, we disembark, and begin a 3 kilometer trek along a path cut through the jungle, to another canoe. This time our guides paddle them.

The squawks of the jungle and the rhythmic chirp of the cicadas are echoed around me as the sound of the paddle dipping and sliding through the water keeps me present in the canoe.

I'm in the Amazon!

Four days of nature, magnificent nature. Photographing tarantula spiders on guided night walks, spying Macaws flying through the trees at the wee hours of the morning, a forest full of life: bugs, monkeys, spiders, snakes, insects, and an abundance of beautiful trees.

Day two my stomach started to rumble. I had a close encounter with the stomach bug. Fatigue. Lethargy. And a closer relationship with my en suite bathroom.

Not to waste my precious time and opportunity to experience Mother Nature in this beautiful land, I chewed on Imodium and Buscopan like candy.

I roomed with my partner on the tour, Kristina, from Los Angles. We had only met for the first time in Cusco for the first part of the tour to Machu Pichu. She had a few days of ill health there, with a reaction to malaria pills.

I had taken no medication or vaccinations to come to the jungle. When advised of it in Peru by the girls on the tour (I hadn't been given any instructions from my US tour company), I had Videl, my tour guide, scout Cusco with me to find a medical center to get the 'Yellow Fever' shot. When we found one, they said they had none, and that it wasn't necessary given the time of the year.

They tell me
it's dry season and there are not many mosquitoes about. I'm only concerned about one biting me with the disease! I make a mental note to be extra vigilant with the mosquito repellent and long clothing.

I'm a little anxious, about not carrying the medical documentation and also for the possibility of getting sick with Yellow Fever. But that was the least of my concern.

Most of the jungle activity is bustling at dawn and dusk, and during the night. So by day, I slept, oblivious to the steamy heat. My body just grateful to be horizontal. I willed myself forward for the early morning trail walks and laid myself out to sleep on the bench in the canoe, opening an eye every now and then when 'Tarzan,' our tour guide pointed out a caimen (crocodile) in the amazonian river water.

Transported back to my current moment, I grab some water from the kitchen to dissolve some more hydralyte. As I mix the orange powder into the liquid and stir, I'm ever grateful to be in my home, with a comfortable bed and privacy to allow my body to heal.

The only animals present are my cute, cuddly cats and dogs snuggling up to comfort me and give me love. And the occasional fly buzzing by my head, which I swat to keep it clear of me.

I nestle into my bed pillows as I smile with gratitude with reliving the magic memories of my Amazonian experience.

I'm feeling better already.

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