The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

There are times when the Fates, being bored with the orderly events of our lives, decide to mix things up, and create havoc as only they can do. This seems especially true when men, in their hubris, are reaching out for a long sought goal, unmindful of how easily this can be snatched from them.

Miki and I had been planning a dream vacation to Patagonia, then the Lake District of Chile, followed by crossing the Andes by bus and by boat, traversing those majestic peaks to Bariloche, the famed Argentinian ski and nature resort. A couple I had known for more years than I care to admit were going to accompany us, also excited by the prospect of shared adventure. All the plans had been carefully crafted, hard to get reservations secured at the Torres del Paine, arguably the most scenic of national parks in all of Chile, and we were ready to depart.

A week before our trip, I visited my doctor for a routine office check-up accompanied by an in-office minor procedure. Within two days, I was experiencing fever, chills, and all the signs pointing to serious sepsis. I started antibiotics, informed my doctor, and received reassurance that all should be OK by the time we were ready to depart. After a couple of days, I had indeed improved, but I was far from well. I was then switched over to IV antibiotics pending receipt of the result of the cultures that were done, hoping to rapidly beat this unwanted foe into quick submission.

The IV antibiotics seemed to improve things considerably, and my spirits were buoyed until the culture results came back. Seems as though I contracted one of the worst bug known to our science, a multi-drug resistant organism that was unfazed by any of the drugs I had so far been given, and which requires a 4-6 week course of our most potent (and toxic) medications given IV twice a day for there to be a reasonable chance of a cure.

Needless to say, I couldn’t take the risk of traveling under these conditions to a place that was at least a five-hour drive from the closest outpost of civilization, and a 4 hour flight from there to a US equivalent medical facility. Our trip was already paid for, and most of the money was non-refundable. Our friends had already cleared their schedule for the holiday, and wouldn’t have tackled this journey on their own without our expertise to guide them through it. I convinced Miki that she had to go with them, and enjoy herself despite my inability to partake in our dream. She very reluctantly agreed, and from the sound of her e-mails, is enjoying the holiday.

Since I have to be in the hospital every twelve hours for my antibiotics, I decided I might as well work on a limited basis, which I have been doing. Other than the disappointment of not being part of something I had been planning and looking forward to for some time, I’m doing OK. Taking a shower one-handed is a challenge (try it some time and see) and being poked with needles gets old after a while, but if the infection clears up, I’m more than willing to have this be the worst tragedy of my life.

Friends have been very supportive, calling to check in on me, inviting me over to their homes to share a meal, and expressing their concern for my welfare.  I suppose there is benefit in being reminded of what it feels like to be on the other side of the bed, something most physicians intellectually understand, but not necessarily viscerally experience, until they are anxiously awaiting the result of a test or being subjected to the small tortures of being poked with needles or the more significant pains of the underlying disease. I’m sure I will be more empathic after this experience than I might have been before. There is some good that comes out of everything. Or so I keep encouraging myself.

Be well,



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9 Responses to The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

  1. Beth Marie says:

    I am very sorry to read this Jorge. I hope that you make a full recovery. You will be in my prayers.

  2. jingeorgia says:

    Bummer. Be a good patient and mend quickly Jorge. Prayers are with you and your traveling loved ones.

  3. oh! i am so sorry to hear, jorge! i work in an infectious disease clinic, where we do IVs. i know what your regime is like, somewhat. so sorry you had to miss your dream vacation too!
    get better!

  4. truleeyours says:

    I hope everything will be OK for you. Be well.

  5. chicasl10 says:

    Such things come at the most inconvient times But the important thing is that u recover Jorge..
    Now u are the patient …i hear that also in our hospital from docs and nurses.
    its all so different after u have been a patient urself.
    Ur wife will have a lot to tell u.when she gets back. And indeed one handed showers are difficult and toilet visits???
    i pray for a quick recovery.
    Then u have friends…that invite u for a meal. and help u when u need it.
    God bless

  6. Holy says:

    wow – that’s unbelievable. So glad you are on the other end of it – I guess it’s high time for you to hear your own sage and blessed words – Be Well.

  7. ember850 says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you had to go through this, let alone missing the trip! It’s my understanding that taking IV antibiotics can be rough on your system; I’m amazed you were up to working at all. But then, I work with the over 60 crowd, which doesn’t take as much to be put on their back, gives me a warped sense of this kind of thing for people in earlier stages of life.

    It appears from later posts that this is pretty much behind you now; I hope that is true.

  8. Jana ♥ says:

    Jorge! Wow! Now I know what was happening with you. That is so scary! And then the trip. I would have a hard time to leave my husband alone so sick. That is so scary! You are a strong person. Your body is strong to survive that kind of bug!
    I am so happy for your recovery and I am sure you will be able to make the trip some another time or at least similar trip. Oh I would be soooo mad if that would happened to me! You sounded quite fine with you staying at home. Not complaining at all.
    I would be worse. 🙂

  9. Sarah says:

    (Jorge, glad to see your comment so I could flag your blog here, thank you) What a relief–reading more recent entries–to see you are feeling better. That was a wrench from the darklands, to be sure. I recall when you were in Patgonia once, and the photos you took were wildly exciting, I’ll miss them here this time. Having been to Peru once, I can well appreciate how much you were looking forward to your return to the region south of that, and I hope you can go soon, again. Hopefully by now you’re even better than your last entry, what a dreadful state of being this must have been for you, Jorge.

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