Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sick in Turkey (June 5-18)

Unfortunately I got really sick in Turkey. At about noon on June 5th we arrive in Selcuk, Turkey and set up our tent at Garden Motel and Camping. Other than the foul smelling bathrooms it’s a nice place. We are right next to Ayasuluk Hill, where John is believed to have written the Gospel of John and also just a few kilometers from the Temple of Artemis and the very impressive ruin of Ephesus, an important Greek and Roman city. This is the city to whose residents Paul wrote a letter (book of Ephesians), complaining that they were worshiping and selling idols of Artemis and calling for unity withing the church.

As we walk toward Ephesus I start to develop flu symptoms including pretty severe aches and pains. I have to sit down many times on the way there and while walking around the ruins. Pretty soon I cannot walk more than 100m without resting, and even this is painful. How can it be that I can run 50 km or ride 100 miles but now I can’t walk more than 100 meters? After visiting Ephesus we take a taxi back to the campground and I lie down to rest. I have a fever, headache, and even more severe aches and pains. My joints hurt, my back hurts, everything hurts that evening and during the night.


In the morning of June 6th, hopeful that things would improve, I am disappointed that my aches and pains are overwhelmed by even more severe stomach cramps. How can a stomach hurt so much? All day long I don’t eat or drink anything at all, have really bad stomach cramps, diarrhea, and I throw up several times after taking cipro (an antibiotic that is good at treating stomach infections). I stay in the tent all day, just getting up to visit that foul smelling bathroom about every hour. My severe stomach cramps continue all night and I am unable to sleep. The cramps last for 20 seconds, then 20 seconds rest, over and over again. I am really, really suffering.

A ruin of a Roman public latrine – where I might be right now if I lived 1500 years ago.

The next day, June 7th, my flu continues but after 36 hours of lying in the tent and using that foul smelling bathroom I cannot stand it anymore. Kirstin drives us to Pamukkale, our next destination about 200 km away, where we check into Hotel Venus. I have a bed, a clean bathroom and a wonderful room. It’s one of the nicest places of our trip. I continue to have the severe stomach cramps, although now in a more comfortable place. It’s been over 48 hours since I ate or drank anything. I try to drink a tablespoon of water, but even this brings even more severe stomach cramps. The night is another painful one.

Hotel Venus in Pamukkale.

The next morning (June 8th), now almost 3 days after my flu began, I could eat a little breakfast and have small sips of water or soda. My stomach cramps appear only about once per hour and are less severe. I have bad neck pains but am able to treat these with Advil. So I decide to walk to the Travertines and Hierapolis (both are amazing), but end up over-doing it and suffer for the rest of the day.

Starting on June 9th I am able to drink and eat small amounts of mild food and am able to act like a traveler again (rather than a torture subject). But for the rest of the week I continue to have diarrhea and then the entire next week I have a weak stomach, intermittent diarrhea, neck aches and flu symptoms. Ug! It wouldn’t be until the day we would go hiking in the Alamut Valley in Iran, 2 weeks after I got sick, that I would be well again.

What a lot of pain! Just something I guess I had to go through, I guess. Thankfully I’m better now and can continue our trip with gumption.

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