Thus begins the Grande Experiment. To wit, after years of being an arm chair archeologist, enjoying the results of a century of field work by an army of forgotten labours and their leaders who take all the glory – am I interested enough, and do I have what it takes, to actually be a field archeologist? Of course, there are many other questions to be answered, but this one seems to be central.
However, before one can begin, there is the time before the beginning.
Five days before I am to leave, a Sunday, I awake to find myself violently ill. I have severe muscle crapping in my arms and chest, nausea and all the other symptoms of a very bad cause of the flu. The muscle pain is the worse. It moves from one place to another, given me relieve in one spot while torturing another. For two days I am in agony. Just when it seems to be passing it comes roaring back again. I am unable to eat and even drinking water is difficult. I am also alone, as Alex is in Vegas on a business trip until Wednesday.
The medication I take to hopefully help me sleep cannot overcome the pain and I am left climbing the walls at night, the drugs and the pain at war within me.
I am deeply worried. If this had started two days later than it did I would not have been able to get on an airplane and even now the whole adventure now hangs by a thread. What if the muscle cramping leaves some seriously pulled muscles behind that take time to heal? I won’t be able to lift my trowel, much less a shovel. I can feel the flu sapping me of the endurance I have worked so hard to build up. I can still feel the muscles that five months in a gym have given me, but I can’t use them. Walking from one end of the house to the other wears me out.
By Tuesday afternoon I begin to feel a little better. I begin to wander the house, trying to accumulate the little things I want to take with me. But my mind is so foggy that I am worried about my decision-making. I make a list of last minute things I need to buy, saving them from the last possible moment when I hope I will have the strength to venture out and get them.
Tuesday night I swear off all drugs. I need to sleep, having managed about 4 hours over the last two days. I do sleep better (doubling the total of the last few nights) and on Wednesday I go out to do my shopping. I also get something to eat, the first solid food in three days. Mostly I just push it around my plate but it is a start.
Alex arrives home Wednesday evening and helps me finish packing. I have three bags; a suitcase and two bags for all my electronic toys, all packed to overflowing. In my current condition, how am I ever going to move all this stuff?