I remember waking up my last day of cross-country camp before freshman orientation in distress terrified. I couldn’t move. The team captains had to carry me to the van to go back to campus. For about 12 hours most of my memories are really hazy, but I do remember my mother taking a picture of me and almost biting her head off.

The next thing I remember is leaving my parents hotel at 4 am with a raging fever,  stealing the Marriot’s plush throw blanket to try and fight the chills that were running through my body. I was admitted to Emory University hospital with a 104.9 degree fever.

I didn’t realize until much later how sick I was. My parents thought I was going to die because the hospital couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

Being that sick was an out of body experience. I don’t really remember it. I do remember getting out of the hospital, walking with my mother to the bookstore, and insisting on sitting down because I didn’t have the strength to walk all the way across campus. I also remember being hospitalized for bronchitis a month later because my immune system was shot, and then my hair falling out because the fever had been so damn high.

Two weeks before I got stupid sick, I had been in South Africa teaching HIV/AIDS prevention in a super remote region. The doctors concluded that whatever I had contracted I must have gotten while in South Africa.

Two years before, I had been to South Africa on the same program and gotten a terrible terrible case of bronchitis and tonsilitus.

A nurse practitioner at Emory told me that if I had gone to college a year earlier I would have for sure gotten the bird flu.

So you see, I have this lovely terrible track record with maintaining my health while traveling, or after traveling. Thus far in Taiwan I’ve only had a sinus infection, and I count myself lucky.

I titled this “Fear” because getting super sick was my only real fear before coming here.

I remember being interviewed by the Emory Wheel for a piece on Fulbright and being asked if I had any concerns before going abroad; I was like, “I am sort of concerned for my health?” Which of course was not published because it isn’t an interesting concern. But it is relevant.

What I am discovering, however, is that if I act like a grandma, and go to bed early, eat super healthy and if I am stingy with what I eat, I will be okay.  I’ve definitely cooked for myself more than I ever have before (hey veggies how you doinnn), and I’ve definitely been the pickiest eater out of the Taichung ETA’s, but I’m not sorry.

I don’t really have anything to wrap this up with. I blogged about this because I woke up from the strangest dream last week where I was surfing and a shark bit my arm off.
Which is ACTUALLY the MOST bizarre thing ever, but had me thinking about hospital visits in foreign countries…and here we are. And that is all!


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