"I Don't Get Sick!" and other Famous Last Words
Many people that I know, are aware that I have a job where I spend a lot of time travelling internationally. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and feel as though it's the opportunity of a lifetime! But, I'm not exactly on vacation and it's not as glamorous as you think!
Usually when I'm in China, I work around 10-15 hours per day. This is largely my fault, to be honest. I think to myself, "I'm half way around the world for this, surely I can fit in one more meeting this evening" or "what's one more red eye from Beijing to Shenzhen". I spend entire months in China, and to be honest, I haven't seen that much of the country, aside from out a taxi window.
This brings me to perhaps the worst travel experience of my life.
My claim to fame has always been that I don't get sick. And then, I took a job where I am exposed to foreign germs for a living. It all started in Dalian, China. I arrived in the hotel lobby to see the colleague that I had eaten dinner with the night before looking green. "Meg, I have been vomiting all night", she exclaimed. I had been feeling queasy before this point, but in true Meg fashion, tried to convince myself it was all in my head.
Fast forward 5 hours later, about 10 colleagues, including myself, were vomiting non-stop and sprawled out in makeshift cots, in a room with no heat on a cold late fall day. There was no toilet, just a hole in the ground, as is common in this part of the world. And due to a language barrier, I had no idea what pills the nurse was giving me, but I gulped them down in desperation.
At this point, I felt more ill than I had ever felt in my life. But I had a flight I had to catch! And in the world of international business, the show must go on! And thus began our walk from the ticket counter to the gate. All down the hallway you could see Canadians leaning over airport trash bins and vomiting. Someone called us the Canadian Zombie Apocalypse. It was a bad scene. At this point, I was too weak to walk far, so I'd walk about 10 feet and take a break, on the floor, panting and sweaty. To my dismay, people began taking photos of me. I truely hope none of those ever surface.
Before I had gotten to my gate, I had to stop in the bathroom to ditch my favourite underwear, from the original Ashley Graham collection. RIP. The show must go on.
News travelled that a bunch of kids we came into contact with had the Norovirus.
It was 5 days and 12 pounds (the bright side!) later before I regained my appetite. I had fallen asleep in a cab (which is my ultimate no-no) and woken up to the driver taking selfies with me as I slept. After days of not keeping any food down, the biggest hunger I had ever felt had suddenly grown in my stomach. I rushed back to the hotel, my eyes clearly larger than my tummy and ordered a copious amount of food and about half a dozen waters from the room service menu.
In fact, I had ordered so much, that the waiter set the table for two when he brought the room service and I muttered something about having a friend in the bathroom.
So much shame in one story.