Traveling when sick........

I got back earlier this week from another business trip, this time to Tel Aviv. The morning I had to take off, I got a sore throat. On the plane, I started to sneeze. By the time we landed, I knew I had a bad case of the flu.

For the next four days, I had to go to business meetings with a red nose and cackling cough. The cold medicine that I took also plugged my tummy up, so yet another issue to deal with.

The only somewhat relaxing day was the final day I was there. The weather was in the 80s, so I threw on some sweats and took a nice long barefoot walk on the beach. I felt a heck of a lot better after that, and about a week later, I’m totally better. But damn, it really sucks being in a foreign country when you’re sick. I’m usually a baby when I’m ill, and my boyfriend being there for me is usually a pleasant constant. It sucked being alone.
I hate traveling while sick. Anyone can relate?

Not quite the same thing, but I once got food poisoning on the last day of a mini-vacation. We were in downtown Chicago, and our flight left at 6:30 pm. The check-out time for our hotel was 11am. Our plan was to get up in the am, pack our things, check out and leave our luggage with the bellman, then spend our day at the art museum, get a lazy breakfast / lunch, do some shopping, and then head to the airport at around 4:00.

We did the whole “pack our stuff and check out of hotel.” We then started walking the ~5 blocks to the art museum. On the way there, my stomach started feeling kinda odd. By the time we got through the first exhibit, I’m starting to feel even worse. Hightailed it to a bathroom, and proceeded to spend the next ~3 hours or so expelling from every orifice. It was Not Fun.

Finally, by about 3, I had nothing left in me to expel. Mr. Athena guided me out of the museum, grabbed a cab, went to the hotel, grabbed our luggage, and sped to the airport while I dry-retched in the back seat. Lucking didn’t make a mess, but only because I was empty.

Managed to stretch out in the airport, and our flight home was only an hour. But seriously, that was one of the worst days of my life. Total misery.

Some years ago, I was sent on a business trip and actually noticed the first signs of a sore throat and cough on the plane. Within a day of landing, I had full-blown flu symptoms. For bonus misery, the trip was to Sweden, in February. Cold, snowy, and we were walking from the hotel to the office every morning to work. (Not just meetings–I was there to do software development.) After a couple of weeks of that, I was just starting to feel normal and preparing to go home when I slipped on the snowy stairs at the hotel, took a bad fall, and broke my tailbone. (The journey home with a broken ass is a saga unto itself, but that’s a story for another time.)

It so sucks to travel when ill. The year we went to Cambodia, hubs was sick on the out journey and I was sick on the return trip.

Ugh! It just becomes an endurance thing, and then complete collapse upon arrival. And we returned, after two months away, to an empty larder, not even milk for tea! That was very harsh indeed.

Ugh. It were awful. I feel for you.

My husband and I checked into a country rental home in Burgundy, and within a day we were both sick with a very icky stomach bug. We tried to stick it out, but gave up and traveled to Paris and checked into a downtown hotel so that we could access doctors and a pharmacy. I felt better in a day or so, but he spent a few days in bed, sick as a dog. The hotel sent in a doctor, who told me to keep him away from dairy and rich food, and to go to an Asian restaurant and bring him rice and chicken soup. No croissants or chocolate or cream sauce or wine. In Paris!

Looking back, I think it was norovirus, possibly caught on the plane.

Thanks for the sympathy. :slight_smile: I feel for you too. Sickness and travel don’t go together…

When my parents decided to get hitched, they eloped to Chicago. Whereupon Pops proceeded to get appendicitis. What a honeymoon that must have been.

Many years ago, Dad drove us from Brewster, NY, to St. Louis for Christmas. I was sick when we left home but feeling much better by the time we arrived at my sister’s.

I promise you, if you had a bad case of the flu you would not be attending any meetings.

Oh, trust me, I attended those meetings, my friend.

I was drinking NyQuil like milk, and showed up mad drowsy, but I attended those meetings.

I spent the fall semester of 1989 in the Soviet Union. At various points during the semester I had bronchitis, an impacted wisdom tooth (in a country where antibiotics were a black-market item at the time, and dentists didn’t reliably have sterile instruments or syringes), and a really horrendous case of food poisoning that left me lying on the sidewalk with horrible abdominal cramps until a couple of classmates managed to get me into an ersatz private “taxi” back to the dorm, in the course of which I completely lost control of my bowels, so yes, I can relate.

Then, on the way home at the end of December, I came down with a high fever, chills, and sweats on the flight from Leningrad to Brussels. I have basically no memory of our layover of several hours in Brussels. When we arrived in NYC, there was a baggage handlers’ strike at JFK, so it was hours before we made it out of the airport. Luckily my dad lives in NYC, so we went back to his place until I caught a flight home the next day and I was mainlining orange juice the whole time. I was probably malnourished from 4 months of Soviet dorm food in a period of serious food shortages, especially of fresh fruits and vegetables. We tried to supplement with purchases from the cooperative (i.e. private, not state-run), but I think it just wasn’t enough. At least I wasn’t like just about every other member of my program, who all got giardia.

Sore throat, cough, red nose and sneezing sounds like a cold. Could be a bad cold, I can relate as I get achy all over with a cold, but I agree, not influenza, which usually features chills, fever and extreme fatigue.

if it was a bad case of the flu you would be physically unable to get to these meetings and incapable of doing anything anyway.
I’m not doubting you were ill but I pretty much guarantee it was not a bad case of flu. A bad case of flu is perilously close to death. I know, I’ve had it twice.
I never take time off work for pretty much anything and have had a wide range colds from mild to horrible.

Bad Flu is a different beast, bad flu kills.

QFT. Folks tend to get a bad cold confused with influenza. They are nothing alike.

As the old meme goes, if you have a bad cold, you feel like dying.

If you have the flu, you WISH you were dead.

But while I’m here, does anybody have any advice re travel insurance and getting crook whilst overseas? It’s not happened to me (touch wood) but I have another o/s holiday coming up, and wondered whether insurance would cover travel delays due to Delhi Belly or Saigon Squits? Anybody have experience with this?

Well, they do have a lot of overlapping symptoms, but yes, influenza is a different beast and often has additional symptoms, even with a mild to moderate case. Nausea is one differentiator. Otherwise, more fever, pronounced fatigue, joint and muscle aches tend to be associated with flu. The symptoms vary considerably, though.

No experience, but a quick googling turned up a travel insurance company page that talks about it. They call it “trip interruption insurance”, and say it includes having to stay at a destination longer than planned. You’d have to look at a specific policy and ask questions to be sure, but at least it’s a starting point. As always with potential insurance claims, make sure to document everything you can–if you get sick on the trip, see a doctor and get a report, things like that.

A trip to Costa Rica, as a teen, with my family. We’d gone out to a nature reserve, which involved a 4 hour trip on a small open boat. On getting there, my parents had discovered that nowhere there, at that time, took card payments, unlike everywhere else on the trip. They had enough cash to pay for a turtle watching trip, food and the boat back, and some nice lady in a guesthouse took pity on us and took a cheque for 2 nights.

The morning we were supposed to be leaving, I started, shall we say, imitating a 2-ended fountain. Then we had a 4 hour boat trip, with no toilet facilities, in full sun, tropical heat. If I so much as drank a sip of water, it was straight back out.

By the time we reached the town at the other end, I was almost unable to walk, and literally collapsed on the pavement, with people stepping over me, while my parents tried to get some money out and somewhere to stay.

I did have the major plus of being with parents, so I didn’t have to think about anything but immediate self care, but that boat trip was utterly horrendous. I didn’t get any vomit or diarrhoea in the boat though.

One time I caught a stomach illness just as I was boarding a plane. I had it coming out both ends all day long. That meant two flights followed by a lengthy bus ride. I was a brand new soldier, so I was traveling in dress uniform which only added to my misery. The next day I had to take a urine test and I was so dehydrated that I couldn’t produce a sample.

I notice many airports have signs asking you not to travel if you are sick. I cannot understand the purpose of these. Are they going to refund my ticket if I choose not to travel? Doubt it.

My story is really tame compared to all of yours, but it was still a doozy for me.

In 1996, I worked at a mail-order pharmacy that closed, and people were taking jobs all over the place in order to support their families. I signed up for a temp agency, and on Labor Day weekend, I was assigned to work a Saturday shift at a grocery store in a small town several hours away - and I was going to be filling in for a former colleague who wanted a day off so he could spend the long weekend with his family, who were staying in their home until it sold. I drove in the day before and wasn’t feeling very well, but I did stop by and say hello (and also get the alarm codes, keys, etc.) and then went back to the motel.

The next morning, I literally could not get out of bed. I’m very grateful that I didn’t have anything coming out either end, because I would have been in some very deep doo-doo in more ways than one. If the motel had caught fire, I wouldn’t be typing this now because I would not have been able to walk to the window to open it and climb out. I’ve never felt that terrible in my life, before or since. I seriously considered calling an ambulance; I didn’t because I would have been stuck at the hospital, due to this being such a small town, they almost certainly didn’t have any kind of taxi service. The agency person said, “Could you just go to the pharmacy and sit in the corner?” I replied, “I would be doing that if I could.”

Eventually, they did find someone who could work. I haven’t seen this colleague since, but I still feel bad about what happened even though it couldn’t be helped.

I found out later that he and his wife divorced not long afterwards, in large part because let’s just say she was having too much fun in his absence.

A famous family story from before I was born. Just before leaving to visit my mom’s sister in California (from Texas), my sister had recovered from mumps. They packed the sleeping kids in the wee hours and took off for the long drive. A few hours later, my brother woke up looking like a basketball. Reasoning that, between being in the car and staying with relatives, he’d recover as well as at home, they kept going. They stayed for a couple of weeks, so bro got to enjoy part of the vacation.

The morning of the drive home? Yep, Dad had caught it. Being a man of the Greatest Generation, he of course had to drive. Knowing the effects of mumps on adult males, (a) sitting behind the steering wheel must have been agony; and (2) it’s a miracle I’m here at all.

Testicular inflammation is a fairly common symptoms of mumps in males, but infertility is not.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I also called the motel desk and explained my situation, and they said I could stay in the room as long as I needed to. By late afternoon, I had recovered enough that I could check out, get in the car, and drive to my parents’ house about an hour away. I would have stayed there another day, except that I had left my cat at home alone and didn’t give anyone else a key, because I thought I would only be gone one night. She was OK with two nights but I wouldn’t have wanted to leave her alone for a third.