Saturday, July 16, 2011

Health in Mexico City - NOT!

I've just returned from 9 days in Mexico City. It was not by choice, but driven by business imperatives. Following the advice of the CDC, I have had my Hep A, Hep B and Typhoid shots. I'm taking an anti-malaria prophylactic from my trip to Peru. I studiously avoided the local water and street-side vendors.

Out of my team of 3 plus 2 local translators, 1 got dreadfully sick with a case of diarrhea our third day in Mexico City. On the following Monday, one of the translators called in sick with stomach troubles. Then Thursday morning, about 3:30 AM, I got out of bed to use the toilet, all went fairly normally, but when I tried to walk back to bed I was overcome with a tremendous wave of nausea, abdominal pain and weakness. I collapsed to the floor, unable to make it to my bed for a while. I eventually made it back to bed, woke up for my 8:00 AM telephone meeting, managed to get dressed & packed for my trip home. My coworker kindly offered me one of his Immodiums, so I had no embarrassing incidents on the trip home.

The taxi ride to the airport was not too bad. The driver kindly switched from rap to a Karen Carpenter CD. The Mexico City terminal is small, with few flights, so checking in and getting through security screening wasn't too bad.

What was bad was figuring out where to sit while I waited and not falling asleep during the two-hour wait. They only announce the gate 30 minutes before boarding time. I sat in front of the monitor waiting to see my flight pop up and trying desperately not to fall asleep. I made it, boarded the plane, and was asleep before the wheels left the ground.

Dallas Fort-Worth was another matter entirely. At first it seemed straight-forward. As the plane approached Dallas, they announced the gates for all connecting flights. I made it off the plane, found my gate, stopped at the Starbucks for a strawberry smoothie and a sandwich. I hadn't eaten dinner last night or breakfast, and was not sure if my body was ready for food, so I intended to take it slow. As I crossed to hall to my terminal, they announced that my flight had been moved to another terminal. So I had to return to the Sky Train to move to my new terminal, juggling a strawberry smoothie, a sandwich, and my carry-on luggage the whole way. By the time I found my new terminal, I was exhausted and the sandwich was a bit the worse for the wear. I collapsed into a seat, finished the smoothie, ate 1/4 of the sandwich, then they called us to board the plane. At last, I would be able to rest again.

All passengers boarded, including one woman with 4 young children and several other families with small children. The stewardess announced a maintenance delay, I fell asleep again, and woke up 2 hours later still on the ground in Dallas-Fort Worth. I called my husband an hour later to let him know we were finally ready to take off. It turns out the parts had been misrouted to the wrong terminal, so the layover was a total 3 hour delay. Instead of arriving home at 7:30 PM I wound up landing at 10:30 PM. It was close to midnight before we were safely tucked in our beds at home. I slept until 4:00 PM the next day. I'm feeling a bit better today, but it is a painful and debilitating flu.