I feel a bit better in the morning and manage my last meeting in Spain, have breakfast with Roger Aguade, the advertising manager. In the afternoon we are on our way back to Chicago via Amsterdam. The upper deck of the Business Class is practically empty so the three of us spread out. During the nine hour journey, we barely exchange a few sentences with each other, each one of us nursing our personal pains, mostly caused by the super fatigue. When we arrive, I am glad that Carolyn and Anjuli are there to pick me up. Bill and Debra brush them by with perfunctory greetings and are gone. Must have been in more pain than I had realized.  When we get in bed is when Carolyn realizes my body feels hot like freshly baked potato right out of an oven. I am running  the temperature of 102 °F (38.9 °C). We write it off to me being overly tired.

But the fever is here to stay. Over the next three days the temps swing between 102 °F (38.9 °C) and 103°F  (39.4 °C). I am floating in our king size water bed like a whale squirming with extreme pain flipping up and down. I have no will to do anything. I have no appetite. I feel certain loss of my basic motor skills. Normally, Anjuli would have walked home from school, but on the third afternoon, its raining heavily.  I get dressed, get into my car and drive two short blocks to pick her up. I feel the car sway sideways  and realize I have lost my power of coordination. Fortunately we make it back home and I crawl back into bed. Realizing that perhaps my fever was more serious than we thought, Carolyn finds the primary care physician for me. Dr. Anne Niedenthal.  She prescribes Ceclor and then has me x-rayed and has my blood tested. My white cell count is high at 13,400 to the normal range of 4,300 to 10.800. I hallucinate. My water bed bursts and I am struggling to stay afloat with my arms and legs flailing, the water splashing, with only my bopping head managing to stay above the deluge. No, I am not drowning. My entire body breaks out first in cold and then hot sweat. I am alone at home. The temperatures refuse to budge.

On the next day, Dr. Niedenthal orders me to meet her at the central registration of Evanston Hospital so she can get me admitted immediately. I am upset. Anjuli begins to cry. Carolyn retains her professional posture, but barely. I am hooked up to multiple tubes and the TV monitor up above blips endlessly. They monitor me all night long at regular intervals, taking my temp and blood samples. The next morning, I open my eyes to four interns huddling over me along with Dr. Francine Cook , who specializes in contagious diseases.  In addition to the tubes sprouting from my arms, he prescribes heavy doses of Flagyl and Ceftazidime-Dextrose.  While I am still roasting, I am aware of everything that goes on around me. They have not yet been able to figure out what it is that maybe wrong with me. It must be dire. Carolyn is a staff nurse in the hospital and she has access to and understands all that’s being discussed. I am told later, that Anjuli and her went home and cried. All reports point to my early exit from this material world. Curiously, not once did the possibility of me not getting out of the hospital alive crosses my mind.

I go through a battery of tests to include blood, urine, ultrasound and ultimately, the cat scan of which I write interesting. On the third day, the temperature begins to subside. On the fourth, the tubes are removed, which gives me an ultimate sense of freedom. Now the visitors begin to pour in. I have no dietary restrictions. Having tasted hospital food for a couple of days, I realize that irrespective of what I ask for, it all tastes the same, smelling predominantly of the dirty brown plastic covers that breathe over every meal delivered. So Carolyn and Anjuli bring me BigMac with heap of fries. Chinese chicken fried rice. Still barely palatable.

Now that I have the freedom of the movement, I go and talk to the nurses at their station. They allow me to sit with them in their lunch room and eat with them. I go down to the gift shop in my long burgundy terry gown with black and avocado stripes. On impulse, I buy for Carolyn a handmade two piece suite for $250.- . Talk with the sales ladies in the shop. But I am bored stiff and can’t wait to get out of the hospital. But Dr. Westenfelder (Grant O.), who, giving the benefit of the doubt to my illness is the first one to pronounce what I have to be a possible Amoeba infection.  He guesses it right and treats me accordingly with Flagyl. Perhaps too heavy a doze and for too long of a period, which has left me with tingling and some loss of grip in my ten toes, with the name of peripheral neuropathy.

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