Tuesday, November 1st ~ Quito, Ecuador
Poor Tim! He had a very rough night. I have written about his sensitivity to MSG and Free Glutamic Acid before, but here is a link with a little more information for those not up on what this entails. A few nights prior he had a reaction serious enough that I spoke to the onboard doctor. Besides the “normal” symptoms of nausea, severe cramping and explosive diarrhea, he was also running a fever which resulted in bouts of shivering and then burning up.
By that next morning he was exhausted, but OK enough to soldier through the days excursions.
Last night it once again hit with a vengeance and I helplessly listened to his moans until just before dawn when he finally dozed off.
When in the midst of the agony, he voiced that he was uncomfortable venturing up into the Amazon where both toilets and medical help might be limited or not even available if needed. He did not want to end up in the hospital (even if there was one) in the middle of the jungle.
As sad as I was to cut our trip short, I supported his decision and we made the painful choice to go home early.
At breakfast I broke the news to Rica and Fred, and waited to meet our new Gate 1 tour guide, Santiago. My introduction went something along the lines of, “Good Morning, we need to go home”. I’m quite sure this was not how he envisioned the start of his day.
The group was scheduled to depart within the hour, which left only enough time for Santiago to call his boss, and print up a form for us to sign that we were leaving the group. He suggested that we not check out, wait in our room and he would have someone from Gate 1 contact us before 9:30.
Tim and I had left our luggage and carry-on day packs in our room since we were not planning on leaving with the group, but when we returned to our room it was GONE! In a near panic, I rushed back downstairs. Lucky for me the group was still in the lobby, along with our luggage and I was able to reclaim it.
Whew! I had visions of all of our belongings loaded in the belly of the bus and long gone…
Both of us needed to get some rest. Tim to try to recuperate, and I had been up all night with zero sleep. But not having any answers, and needing to figure out how to get us home, I decided to call the main Gate 1 office in the states to see if they could help us.
And YES, they did. After explaining the situation to a very caring lady, she put me on hold and then shortly transferred me over to the air department. Our flight choices were not grand. Originally booked to depart Ecuador on the 10th of November on Copa Airlines, we had hoped that the flight could be rescheduled with just paying a change fee.
No luck – Copa was sold out for the next two days.
Our best option to get Tim home ASAP was to take a late night Delta flight from Quito to Atlanta, clear customs and then fly on to Los Angeles. The one way flights came to $1500 for the two of us.
Transportation to the airport was arranged for us, and we would be picked up by a Gate 1 representative at 8:00 pm in the lobby. There was no charge from Gate 1 for the transfer to the airport.
Next step was to arrange to stay in our room at the Quito Hilton until time to depart for the airport. Since the hotel was not fully booked that evening, they charged us $100 (less than their daily rate) which allowed us to remain in the room until 8:00 pm.
So then we waited, rested, and ate a couple small meals at the hotel cafe. Tim was by this time scared to eat anything, but managed to have them fix two eggs (over well done) and a plate of fresh fruit. He figured it was about the safest thing for him to digest in his condition.
Well, thankfully the rest of the plans went smoothly. We got to the airport in plenty of time, flew all night, our Global Entry works well in Atlanta, connection was on time and we arrived Wednesday morning back in Los Angeles. A short wait for the FlyAway bus to Van Nuys and big grins on our face when our son picked us up.
As sad as we were to not get to see, Quito, the Amazon and the rest of Ecuador, it was the right decision. After very little sleep for over 48 hours I was a bit rummy, but glad to have Tim back home.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am reminded that there are a lot of kind people who are willing to help when you ask. The phone staff at Gate 1 could not have been more polite, helpful and accommodating.
UPDATE: Tim managed to catch a nasty cold on the way home while his resistance was down. But after a lot of rest, tons of fluids, some healthy home cooked meals, and a little pampering, he is well on his way to a full recovery.