Puking in the panhandle: norovirus fun

I don’t often get to take vacations these days. I left on Friday for a quick four-day trip to the panhandle of Florida to do some paddling I have long wanted to do. By Friday night on arrival, I was ready to vomit. I thought it was exhaustion coupled with the idea I might have to go to breakfast in the morning but, as it turned out, no, I really wanted to vomit. Troy did not take my threat seriously. I collapsed at 1 a.m.

At 8 a.m., Troy was insisting that I get up to go eat breakfast with his Mom before she left to go home. It seemed rude not to go considering she owns the beach house where we were staying, but she offered up a place to eat known as the “Donut Hole” and I wanted to vomit. I got in the car because civility trumps common sense and reason. Within ten minutes of arrival, I excused myself to head to the bathroom. There are very few things that will make me lay down on the nice cool tile floor of a public bathroom. One of those things apparently is the well-placed fear that I will spew in public in a packed restaurant on a Saturday morning. I must say that the Donut Hole on Highway 98 has one very clean bathroom. As soon as I realized I was about to pass out on the tile floor of a public restroom, I pulled myself up and staggered back to the table. Troy’s Mom took one look at me and we went out the door to go home. I think she stills harbors hopes that Troy and I will spawn and that was morning sickness, but at my age, I think she should have been thinking less about pregnancy and more about contagious issues. Troy and his Mom left me to sleep which I did until around early afternoon.

This was a trip in which we were supposed to paddle both Ecofina Creek and the Wakulla River. I was very determined to do this. So I got up and convinced Troy I was OK because I am a moron. We drove to Econfina Creek and thank God the livery service that picks you up to return you to your car refused to take us since it was after one. We returned home. And that’s when the fun started. I will confess to you that at my age, the thought that I might puke on myself without being able to dash to the bathroom never occurred to me. Nonetheless, over the course of the next 18 hours, I think I threw up on myself no less than three times. I can now say without question that if I ever get too ill and will require someone’s round the clock care, I will simply swallow enough pills to make my sleep permanent. There is no reason to live if you are pretty sure you want to die, but can’t guarantee you will.

Because I am incredibly stubborn and stupid, I went paddling the next day and managed with the aid of medicine in combination with severe dehydration to paddle 7 miles of Ecofina Creek. Here is Emerald Spring in all it’s loveliness:

emerald springs

I will talk in detail about this run later for those paddlers that care, but I can tell you that I did not puke once in the two hours it took to paddle this run. I saved that fun for later. Never one to let a virus completely kill off my plans, I went ahead and toured the Gulf Shores National Seashore while Troy shot inspirational and beautiful shots of dunes and oat grass with crystal clear waters and spectacular sunsets. While he took awesome photographs, I puked in the sand. And thus ended the last night of the vacation, with me on my knees, on a deserted beach with my husband, while I puked. As an fyi, there is zero romance to anything with sand for those who expect some romance. Sand sticks to everything. Find a nice sand-free spot for romance. Also puking. You’re welcome.

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I have now toured every bathroom from Perdido Key to Rosemary Beach along Highway 98 and am contemplating posting a field guide to bathrooms to puke in or developing an app. Troy does not think this will be a big seller, but I beg to differ. This was crucial knowledge I would have paid to have had.