Thursday, January 3, 2013

Camino Entry 36, 37

Where am I today?  Calzadilla de Cuesas . . . or the middle of nowhere.  Welcome to the meseta, where there is no google street view.  Pictures instead:

Entry 36, December 30th, 2011

I do not feel well today. Neither does Ernesto. We're calling it quits at 18km.

Expenses, Day 36

Albergue, Dinner, Breakfast (Calzadilla de Cuesas): 19.50
Internet: 1.00
Total: 20.50
Trip total: 822.41

Entry 37, December 31st, 2011

I was violently ill last night. I'd been fighting some sort of intestinal bug on and off for several days – last night it moved up to my stomach. Finally I made myself vomit before dinner, hoping that it was just indigestion, but I was unable to eat more than a bite or two of lentils. At this point I began shivering uncontrollably and the other members of the group began to notice that I was ill.

I was content lying on my bunk with a bunch of blankets and the trash can, but Chan Hee appeared over me.  The Master had an idea to solve my problem.  Apparently there is a Korean folk technique for dealing with stomach sickness, but she warned me that it involved needles. I didn't care at this point, and our group motto is “Master says, we do,” after all . . .

Which is how I found myself sitting in an old plastic deck chair in the center of the room wrapped in blankets with four Koreans buzzing around me. The master took my hands, feeling how cold they were to determine where the problem was. He manipulated the pressure points between thumb and first fingers, which felt good, and then he and Kwang-sik began beating violently on my back.

At this point they told me not to look. I closed my eyes, feeling slightly apprehensive as Michael (Kwang-sik's Western name) was humming tension music under his breath, but mostly just too sick to care. The striking moved down my right arm very quickly, and I felt a rubber band wrapped around the base of my thumb. There was a sharp pain, left of the nail, and I felt the Master squeezing out a few drops of blood before covering the spot with a tissue.

The pounding began again on my back. I looked around – the action had attracted quite an audience. Ernesto: “I've never seen an exorcism before.” Petra, our skeptical German hospitalera: “De problem iz not wit hiz hand.” I closed my eyes as the procedure was repeated on the other side.

Still feeling miserable (and now oozing a bit of blood from both hands) I was given a cup of special tea to drink. I finished the tea and laid down to bed; Ernesto, with a certain prescience, moved the trash can next to my head. “I'm pretty sure I know how this ends; I have kids, after all.” I had forgotten that when someone says, “Here, drink this, it is good for upset stomachs,” what they really mean is that is will make you vomit explosively. Sure enough, when I laid down the change in orientation was enough to send me right back to the bucket. Luckily my vomiting technique remains as immaculate as ever . . . it was coming form my mouth, nose and even eyes. I felt like my face was dissolving – I felt lucky that it didn't come out of my ears as well.

After that I slept. Sometime during the night I went from freezing cold to boiling hot and vomited again. This morning, though, I woke up feeling okay – if terribly dehydrated. We'll see how the day goes, but water is staying down and I'm going to try some tea. Who knows, I might even eat some bread today! Old medicines, effective? Perhaps.


The only place open here in Sahagún is the hotel . . . twenty euro a head but it can't be helped. Hopefully the restaurant I found works out . . . it is New Year's Eve, after all.

BRAT diet today. So far so good.

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