A few words of explanation before we begin with Nancy’s journal entry. This day was the absolute low point of my entire trip. We were being tourists in Paris, but staying a short train ride away in the town of Maison Lafitte, where there was a very large campground packed to overflowing. I had been suffering from cramps and nausea for a month or two, since just before we left home. Cramps and nausea would seem to strike when I was fatigued. I had apparently drank some bad well water in good old Montana. The dreaded Lambia Giardia. For my entire life I had heard the warning that one was not to drink the water in foreign countries. In fact there was even a travel book called "Is It Safe to Drink the Water." Ironically, the French doctor told me, "The water is safe here in France, but when you go back home, don’t drink the water."
Day 58, Wednesday, August 19, 1987 (entered Thursday)
I sit at the desk (yes, the word is correct) of our hotel room at the Auberge d’ Alencon on the "Avenue St. Germain in Maison Lafitte. We moved over here Wednesday afternoon so Doug could be more comfortable during his hoped recuperation. Tuesday night was pretty rough for him after he ate some cheese and bread and some of the canned tabbouleh from the camp store. He began to get the shivers, then got hot spells, then shivers again, nausea, so headed for the bathroom. After taking diarrhea medicine, the only way out was up. From about 2:00 till 5:00 am he was up and down, finally he just stayed at the toilets and layed down there in one of the toilet stalls. When nothing else would come up he came back to bed. He slept till about 11:00 am. Meanwhile I found out there was a hospital in town so we bicycled over there about noon. The doctor was Mediterranean looking, spoke little English, but eventually we were able to inform him of our suspicion so Lambia Giardia dating back to the Bozeman trailer. At any rate he tended to agree, but without stool inspection could not be positive. Since it had happened before (two months ago, two weeks ago, and now) he felt that it wasn’t food poisoning. Issued prescription for Flaggyl, an anti-parasitic. Drug to be take two times daily with meals. I guess it didn’t matter that no pharmacies were open at that time, because he would wait till dinner to take, In all, about 10 pharmacies in town, all but 2 closed for annual vacation! The hospital bill for emergency services was 80 F for BP, pulse and consultation. Still cheap by American standards I guess. Doug went back to camp and I searched town for open hotel. There appear to be only 3, and two were closed for annual vacation! Packed up and moved from camp to hotel at 2:00. Luckily only charged for 3 nites at camp (138 F). Hotel is 170 F per night, but we have our own bain/douche, WC and lavabo. Right on the main street near station, so traffic ( both motor and foot) is incessant. But what we do have as opposed to the concentration camps is PRIVACY. That seems to be becoming a treasured sentiment for us these days, after living at such close quarters at these campgrounds. We now understand why these Europeans have these gargantuan tents—so that they can at least separate themselves from the masses. Doug rested for the afternoon on yet another uncomfortable bed. I went to the pharmacy to get medicine (24.70 F) and to the store for mineral water. The doc says the water in France is okay, but how’s come we see everybody drinking mineral water. After a leisurely afternoon, took baths, washed out a few things and walked up the street for dinner. A very ordinary pre-fixe meal @ 55 F. Doug was feeling better - no cramps or nausea yet but this was the first he had to eat all day. Time would tell. At least he wouldn’t have to go traipsing all around camp tonight. Back to the hotel, in bed fairly early, but I had to use the old foam pad on the floor again or my back would have regretted it in the morning. Fortunately Doug slept all night with no nausea or cramps or shivers, just a headache, so maybe the cure is at hand.