27 + 72 Hours

I’m home from being with family in China for over 2 weeks! But getting here was a long journey. While I flew direct from DC to Beijing by using the miles I’ve been hoarding, I chose a flight with a layover on the way back to a) save some money and b) so that the timing would be a little more convenient. I didn’t want my family in China taking me to the airport in the middle of the day or for my boyfriend picking me up to have to come to the airport really early or really late.

So, my flight left Beijing Saturday evening at 1:25AM, which meant my family could be in and out of the airport by 12:30 and I could spend the entire day with them. It was a great last day, except for the sniffles I got. (That pollution is no joke!)

My flight to Doha was pretty uneventful, except for the flight attendant waking me for every meal, none of which I was interested in eating. (Why would I want dinner 2 hours after takeoff, it’s 3:30 let me sleep.) In fact, I hardly remembered takeoff at all, and when I opened my eyes on my own again, we had arrived.

This was my first time flying internationally alone. I realized this as I got to the transfers line and went through another security screening. Hamad International Airport is really nice and I enjoyed taking it all in while I walked to find my gate. After walking something like half a mile to get there, I realized my sniffles were maybe worse than I was letting myself believe.

After a quick call with my family, I was urged to get something to eat, since I refused all the meals on my flight. But I didn’t feel well enough to eat. And I was feeling very frustrated by the fact that almost all of the food was back where I started, miles and miles away. (It’s a large airport.) I sat down at one of the edge tables of an illy coffeeshop and started feeling very helpless. I’d never flown internationally solo before, and now I was also sick with no one to help take care of me, in a foreign country in a new airport I wanted to explore but just didn’t have the energy to.

I had a little bit of an emotional breakdown at the table, when a really kind server came by and offered to bring me a water. He got me a nice bottle of water and some napkins to dry my tears (slash for me to blow my nose into, I was pretty disgusting at this state) and when I thanked him he said, “Please, miss, just smile okay?” After his show of kindness and giving my boyfriend a call, I felt a bit better, but still really physically crummy. Plus, I was pretty embarrassed to have been caught crying in public.

So, without exploring the airport much, it was through another security screening before boarding my flight back to DC. I never took my temperature during the flight, but I’m pretty sure I was in full-blown fever mode when I woke up after sleeping through the first half of it. At that point, I wanted to sleep more, let my body rest and recover…

.. but I’d slept for nearly 15 hours total at that point. It was a little difficult to coax my body into more sleep immediately. I watched some in-flight entertainment (Qatar Airways has a really great selection) and had one meal and somehow managed to lull myself back to sleep.

Several times over the course of the next 6 hours, in little intervals of 1-2 hours. It was a little painful but I didn’t want to do anything besides sleep and feel my hot fever-breath on my face after I put my hood over my face so as not to breathe my germs all over my fellow passengers.

We arrived nearly an hour later than planned, and the landing almost made me throw up. (My seat mate, who had been quietly sleeping the whole flight spent the descent heaving into a bag.) I also realized when we landed that my period was early, hence the waterworks back in Doha. Also my nose had begun bleeding from dryness… BUT eventually, I got my bag from baggage claim (Qatar Airways has a much lower weight restriction for carry-on bags than I realized) and was reunited with my boyfriend, over 27 hours after leaving Beijing. 

(In hindsight, I would spend the extra money for a direct flight, since the time from Beijing to DC and Doha to DC is about the same… so the 9 hours for my flight from Beijing to Doha and my 2+ hour layover were the cost I paid for the cheaper ticket.)

I then spent over 72 hours at home, mostly in bed, mostly sleeping. I fully intended to go to work Monday morning, and was in a rush to get home, get showered, and get ready… but my fevers and runny nose kept me at home.

For the next three four days.

My triumphant Monday return was delayed until today, Friday, and even so I barely have the energy to show my face at work. My suitcase was untouched from where my boyfriend had brought it up, since I was too feverish to carry it on my own and, then, to even consider unpacking it, and my sleep schedule was essentially more on China-time than US-time, as I would fall asleep around 2AM, wake up at 6AM (no alarm needed), and then take a 7-hour fever nap after considering (but ultimately not eating) lunch during my days at home. (As per last year, kicking off the new year at a low body weight thanks to illness…)

Anyhow, I haven’t been this sick in a very long time, and I haven’t been sick at all for over a year, dodging the multiple colds that have gone around my office throughout the year. It’s a matter of personal pride, at this point, that I haven’t gotten my coworkers’ diseases, and the streak continues since they were no where to be found when I got sick this time around.

Stay healthy my friends!
Do you have any tips for what you do when you’re sick?
I usually employ some never-fail tricks but have been unable to use them with my travels. Maybe I’ll share them soon, since a lot of folks have been sick!