Guatemala 6/28/2018 - 7/8/2018
Sunday, 7/8/2018 - DepartureCraig woke up still not feeling well. We had hoped that the antibiotic would curb his symptoms quickly, as had happened to me when I had Lyme disease in 2005.
We gathered outside at the dining table to have some coffee and toast before saying our goodbyes to the family. Humberto had to work today, so he had arranged for a driver named Gilberto to take us to the airport.
We left the house shortly after 8 a.m. We all dozed in the car. When Craig woke up, he was feeling much better, which boded well for the long journey home.
When we arrived at the airport, we checked in via a kiosk and had to pay a fee to check our bags. Once we were all checked in, we went to the food court and enjoyed Pollo Campero (fried chicken, fries, cole slaw, and rolls) for lunch. We knew that Craig must be feeling a lot better, as he devoured his lunch. Lately, he hadn't had much appetite. He must be regaining strength via the antibiotics.
When going through security, a bag of ground coffee that Tyson had bought for his parents was confiscated. We had brought coffee home in our carry on bags frequently, but I guess it was always whole bean. Ground coffee is not allowed in carry on luggage. The women at security were sympathetic, and at least let him keep the cute woven bag that it was wrapped in.
We went to the gate and got settled. Tyson and I went to some of the shops and I replaced his coffee with a bag of whole bean. It had been my fault since I had insisted it wasn't a problem to take coffee as carry-on, so I felt responsible.
We had an uneventful flight and landed in Miami. The wheelchair experience in Miami was much less stressful than it had been last week, and we made it to the gate with plenty of time to spare. Enough time, in fact, to order custom burgers at The Counter. They double and triple checked with me that I had 20 minutes for them to make the burgers, and I ordered burgers with jalapenos, honey mustard, grilled pineapple, and carmelized onions. They were served with shoestring fries and were absolutely wonderful gourmet burgers. They weren't cheap, but airport food is always pricey. This was at least of good quality! Craig was still feeling good, with a full appetite.
Tyson went in search of an empanada stand that we had passed on the way to the gate. We had all eaten our meals and were ready to board our flight when they announced that our flight would be delayed. The co-pilot had to leave to tend to a family emergency, so they needed to find a replacement. The plane and the rest of the crew were here standing by.
We were disappointed by this news. We were scheduled to land in Boston at 12:47 a.m., and now we would be even later. Of course, when compared with someone's personal emergency (which turned out to be that his young son was hospitalized), our minor inconvenience was nothing. We couldn't be angry and instead just hoped that things turned out ok for the co-pilot and his family.
When a substitute co-pilot arrived, we boarded the plane. We were taxiing to the runway when the plane stopped. The crew announced that there was "debris on the runway...a can or bottle or someting" that needed to be removed before we could proceed. We could tell from the tone of voice that they were over it, and they were as anxious to get to Boston as we were.
Craig, seated at the window, saw a vehicle come out onto the tarmac. Somebody hopped out and retrieved the "debris", and then we were on our way.
We arrived in Boston around an hour late, exhausted and ready for bed. We decided to take a taxi home, and made our way to the taxi stand. The dispatcher directed us to a sedan, but the driver refused to take us. He put up a big stink that he couldn't take three people. The dispatcher argued with him but he wouldn't relent. The dispatcher shouted that he was making the taxi system look bad in front of customers, and that this is why Uber is disrupting the industry. He said "I shouldn't give you any more business."
The next sedan in line, the same size as that car, was more than happy to take us home as his last fare of the night. He was a nice young Pakistani man who chatted with Craig for the entire ride.
We arrived at the house at around 2:30 a.m. after a long day of travel.
EpilogueThe next day, I called Craig's doctor, and they set up an appointment for the following day. I went to visit my grandmother in the nursing home, and found her to be doing considerably better than the last time I had seen her two weeks prior. I told her about the Mayan healing ceremony in her honor in Guatemala. I brought the rest of the holy "agua de florida" that the Mayan priest had given me, and sprinkled a drop to each of the four cardinal directions in her room, as instructed. I thought back to the egg which had exploded in the fire, launching a cigarette out of the fire. The Mayan priest had said that this was a good sign, and indicated that my grandmother wasn't ready to leave us yet.
On Tuesday, we took Craig to the doctor. I was sheepishly expecting a lecture about buying antibiotics over the counter in a foreign country, but she seemed to think it was a no-brainer that it was Lyme disease. She ordered a blood test and told him to continue the antibiotics; that he should take them for a total of 21 days.
Several days later, we got the results of the blood test. He did indeed have Lyme disease, so we were very happy that we had been proactive in his treatment rather than waiting until we got home. He continued to feel a bit lousy until he finished the course of antibiotics, but now he is feeling like himself again.
The Lyme disease ordeal meant that he had to reschedule his twice annual MS infusion until he was fully recovered. This meant a delay of a full month. While not optimal, it was necessary. His infusion suppresses his immune system, so obviously you can't do that while fighting a disease!
I wish that Craig had been in better shape to enjoy the trip more. We had such an amazing time traveling with Tyson, and I know that Craig wishes he could have been more a part of it. He wished he could have seen Tyson's reaction to things first hand. When you have been to a place as many times as we have been to Pana, you get accustomed to things. Sharing it with someone new lets you see familiar sights again as if for the first time. But we were very happy that Craig was able to partake in the most important moments: the healing ceremony for my grandmother with the Mayan priest, our first time exploring the Mayan ruins of Iximche, exploring the ruins of the Cathedral of San Jose in colonial Antigua, and birthday parties for Humberto and Cristian.
Tyson is a great travel partner, and we hope we have the opportunity to travel together again in the future!
Last glimpse of Lake Atitlan
Colorful above ground cemetery in Solola
Colorful outskirts of Guatemala City
Pollo Campero at the airport in Guatemala City