(By the way, later note: I have since talked to my doctor and we've both agreed I didn't have pneumonia - but merely a deep lung infection. Because I didn't cough blood or have the D-word or a super-high temperature or the chills. Just malaise and a nasty cough. Wanted to clear that up! Take that pn-word!)
But I did want to share one more story about sickness and a hard-drinking woman I met on the trip.
When I got back from Vegas I was already developing a cold. Sometimes when you have a cold, it makes you more susceptible to the bacteria that cause serious infections: like my latest bout of nastiness. And I think I know who Patient Zero was. (The term Patient Zero usually refers to the first person who contracts a disease and then causes it to spread.)
There were a lot of people sick on the flights to and from Vegas. But one woman in particular stands out. She had dark, frizzy hair, wore a black suit jacket, lots of jewelry and was in her late forties or early fifties somewhere. She was sitting next to us on the trip down. When the first coughs and sniffles started coming out of her, Ms. Functional was like "Figures! Where's the damn Purell?!"
(Of course, considering all the people who were coughing on that flight - and how air-handling works on planes - it would've been hard to find a 'safety zone' anywhere.)
So the flight left Toronto Pearson International at 8:55 a.m. on the nose. The refreshment cart came around less than half an hour later. This woman with the cold sitting beside us surprised me by ordering a double Bloody Mary. That was two shots of vodka - in those cute little bottles - and a small can of tomato juice.
Ms. Functional - still sipping water at that point - personally couldn't believe it. It wasn't even 9:30 in the morning and this woman was already having a double?
Okey-doke. Hair of the dog. What the hell, right? It is Vegas.
Well ... the drinking didn't stop. During the flight, I saw "Mary" order at least four or five times, moving onto gin halfway through. On the other hand, the hubs and I stuck to H20 keeping our hydration up.
I know that sounds lame to some party heads. And it would've sounded pretty lame to me in the past. But I've learned that I have to pace myself when it comes to drinking.
You drink basically all day and night in Vegas. More than usual, anyway. With the time difference, we arrived in LVNV at about 10:20 a.m. local time. That's 1:20 biological time - more than late enough in the day for Ms. Functional to enjoy a tipple, especially on vacay - but if you really think about how long the day is going to be, starting to drink at 9:30 in the morning (6:30 Vegas time!) just doesn't make a lot of sense.
Do the math. The average person can metabolize one drink an hour. If Mary kept her drinking pace up during the day - and chances are, her rate increased once she didn't have to wait for the slow-poke flight attendants anymore - before she hit the hay at, say, two in the morning, she would've had at least 18 or 20 drinks - maybe more if she wanted to get drunk. And I'm sure she did.
That's well over double the recommended weekly allowance for alcohol ... in one day?
Now, if you're in your twenties, your thirties, even your early forties, and you're beginning a fun vacation with your friends or family, I totally understand ordering drinks on an early flight. But if you're not a spring chicken anymore, but more like an autumn hen - late forties, fifties and beyond - like Mary and myself, well, pounding back five shots before noon, that's a little excessive.
Anyway, when we landed I hit the ladies room. I was at the sparkling clean sink, washing my hands, when who walks up beside me? That's right. Bloody Mary.
(btw, I want to apologize to any travelers who've hit the washrooms at Pearson Airport here in Toronto. Oh. My. God. They're absolutely disgusting! I can't believe that in such a clean city, in such a clean country, and in such a lovely new airport, we can still have the most disgustingly dirty, wet, sloppy, toilet-paper-free-zone on the planet! I apologize! It's embarrassing! So sorry!! Write and complain!)
So Mary and I are washing our hands at the sink together. We recognize each other and turn to chat a bit. As we spoke, I couldn't help but check her out. Her skin was very shiny and red, completely riddled with tiny red veins, broken and swollen from drinking. (I had them myself in the day.) She had those pouches underneath her eyes that heavy drinkers get (had those, too). Her eyes were hooded, swollen, bloodshot and very sad and lost looking. They kept flitting around here and there and I knew she was probably thinking Goddamnit, I wish this clear-eyed bitch would stop staring at me! She didn't even have a drink on the plane! What the hell are born-again Christians going to Vegas for, anyway?!!
Because who else doesn't drink on a flight to Vegas? Besides people in "recovery" - even easy recovery like mine.
And even if she wasn't thinking that, I know she was thinking this:
I need a drink, goddamnit!
Because I'm pretty sure Mary was an alcoholic. And alcoholics are usually just thinking about their next drink. I know that - because that's the way I used to be. Even when I had one drink in my hand, I was worrying about where the next one was coming from. That's the way addiction works.
As Mary and I parted ways - me in search of the luggage carousel, she in search of the nearest drink kiosk - I felt kind of sorry for her. I sort of wish I had business cards or something. I would've slipped her one. "Don't worry, Mary ... there's hope for you yet. Just, um, maybe have a damn orange juice every now and again, will ya?"
Anyway, I didn't feel that badly for her. Because I think Mary was Patient Zero.
Plus she had a really great Prada bag and matching shoes.
So how sorry for her can you be? ;)
It's Day 20. 8 days left to goooooooo!!