Dave and I have been housebound the last week. Let me tell you, an unexpected week off of work is not always as enjoyable as you would think.
Living in a developing nation, you have to be willing to accept some unpleasant things that are going to come your way. You will be robbed at some point, just go with the flow. Your plans will never go as expected (What? You don't have my hotel reservation? Or the $50 deposit I have already made?). And, you will contract some awful virus or bacteria. Guaranteed. The latter is what struck the Richert's this past week.
Yep, right there is just your basic case of conjunctivitis (a.k.a. pink eye). I know, gross. We are pretty sure that it found its way to us via Ecuador's stellar bus system. I began noticing the problem on the way home from our relaxing eco-resort getaway. Thinking that something had flown into my eye due to the open windows of the bus, I worried it like nothing else trying to get it out. This is what caused the extensive hemorrhaging in my left eye, causing me to look like a demon possessed extra in some horror film. Not my best look.
By Monday morning, my eye had completely swollen shut and the school doctor quickly sent me to an optometrist. This is where I learned that conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, that it can be contracted through the air, and that it takes six to ten days to recover from. Uhmm...excuse me, what? That is beyond my worst nightmare. You see, I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe, (Molly, I can hear you laughing at me right now) which doesn't always work for me living in Ecuador. I've been washing my hands obsessively, especially because some fever disease has been making its way through our school community, and this woman tells me this virus is airborne? Are you kidding me?
I went right home, armed with three different types of eye drops, and have been here ever since. Dave came down with it on Monday night and has been suffering with me. We missed classes, parent/teacher conferences, and had to back out of chaperoning activities. We've been playing a lot of cards, watching (mainly listening to those first couple of days) a lot of movies, and once our eyes stopped watering and gooing, doing a lot of reading. I'm exhausted.
The highlight definitely was receiving the get-well card from the 6th and 7th graders at school. Our friend Sarah helped them make it. There are pictures of each kid next to a little written message. Man, they are hilarious. I laughed so hard that I cried my eye-drops out. ("I hope you come back soon. The substitute is getting mad at us; I think she is getting stressed").
Okay, here is the lesson kids: It doesn't always matter what we do to try to avoid what we are afraid of; sometimes it is going to fly right straight into our eye anyways. Maybe it isn't what we do to avoid our little fears, but how we survive them that matters.