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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


October 30, 2013

Off to the Races

Tom McLaughlin

I felt the low rumble in my digestive system my last day in Chaing Mai. From experience, I knew a couple of Imodium would quickly wipe out the pain and suffering. While packing with son Dzul helping, I had forgotten them; but I knew that every tourist center was always well stocked.

 

Not to worry, I would find some in the morning.

 

Sometime during the night, my body went into deep shivers, my joints ached, sweat poured out and the urge became insistent. I did make it in time. My wife asked if everything is all right. For the first time in our married life I said “no.”

 

I had the reliable aspirin that toned down the throbbing and broke the fever, but the other malady had not been dealt with. I was bathroom ridden, so I sent my wife to the pharmacy. She returned with the blessed relief. Survival was at hand. I would take two, lay down for a couple of hours and then be able to slowly continue on with our travels.

 

After two hours and five successful races, nothing happened. Just more sounds of the pistol as Man of Warred to the finish line. Strange, thought. I took two more. Again, nothing. Finally, frustrated, I took all 14 that were left. There were starts and finishes as I managed to finish all the races to the toilet. I was faster than Seabiscuit. Finally, things slowed down.

 

I knew I was getting dehydrated and I had liters of water brought to the room as I watched Thai television, not understanding a word. Food was beyond incomprehension. I slept in fits and turns always having to leap up as the unpredictable urge gallivanted like a bee sting to a horse’s rump.

 

About four days before, I made reservations for a flight to Singapore. I was angry because I had delayed and found awful seats for the three of us. I lay in bed knowing I could not race down the airplane aisle climbing over the beverage cart and flattening other passengers. It felt it would be better to stay in Chaing Mai for a few days and get rid of this Thai thing.

 

You know how things happen for a reason? It did this time for me. Suddenly it dawned on me. The seats I had reserved were in the very last row, inches from two toilets.

 

We landed and I swear I would need a wheel chair. Too prideful, I made from one moving sidewalk to the next holding on to one side with both hands keeping a scouting eye open for the word Toilet. They were always located, thanks to Singaporean efficiency, in the breaks of the moving sidewalks and I could dash in and return to the next one as Dzul and Suriani waited. I visited every one of them.

 

Still woozy, I walked up to immigration with passports in hand. I had forgotten to fill out the immigration cards. I could remember my name, knew his was Dzul something, but my wife’s drew a blank. Forget about writing passports numbers, expirations dates and where we were going to stay in Singapore. Suriani came to the rescue and completed them; our passports were stamped by a hesitant immigration official probably wondering what disease-laden individual from America he had just let in. We hailed a taxi to our hotel and I fell exhausted into bed.

 

Somehow, I boarded a later flight to Surabaya, Indonesia, and checked in to another hotel feeling at least 50%. By this time I was hungry but I could not stand the smell or look of Asian food. There was an A&W Root Beer joint close by, and I suddenly wanted a huge frosted mug of root beer. I have never before liked the stuff, but I waffled down a mug with a hamburger. Back to the room and more sleep. Up and back for more A&W root beer. This repeated itself a few more times. Things began to subside; but as I write this seven days later, things still aren’t right but much better. I guess I should tell the A&W company.

 

To this day I have no idea what caused it. Suriani and Dzul ate the same things I did and they are, thankfully, still well. Why didn’t the Imodium work? Maybe u=it’s because Thailand is known for selling false meds in original packages. Maybe I got one of those. Fourteen were enough to stop up the elephant we all rode on, but I kept going and going.

 

We are still going on with our adventures, Suriani, Dzul and me.

 

…Life is good. . . . .

 



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