A Perfect Storm

When I stepped out of the plane last Wednesday, I took a moment to enjoy the fact that I was back in Rigolet. The air, crisp and cold, felt good on my skin.

Of course, we didn’t waste any time at the airport. Karl was there to pick us up, so we promptly loaded our luggage into the komatik and made our way to our home away from home for the week. The guys – Jason, Nic, and Frazer – had all jumped into the komatik with the luggage, while I rode on the skidoo with Karl. We made quick time back to the heart of town, but it was enough to allow me to take in the views as we went. I will never tire of the white, blue, and deep green that describe winter in Nunatsiavut.

The guys got set up quickly in the B’n’B while I settled into one of Sandi’s & Karl’s spare rooms (as the B’n’B was full up). The group of us opted to work for a bit, but shortly before or after lunch – it’s a bit of a blur at this point – I decided I needed to sleep. I had slept really poorly the night before, waking around 3am worrying about making our flight on time.

Sleep took me quickly and deeply. I seem to remember having weird dreams, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they were about if I tried. All I know is that when I woke I was groggy, and that I felt less than perfect. I dismissed it as a nap related side effect, dehydration, or just travel fatigue, and returned to work with Nic, Jason, and Frazer. This was short lived.

It seemed no matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t think terribly clearly, nor could I find a comfortable position. My body felt slightly achy, and my brain couldn’t shake the post-nap grogginess. I also started feeling a little bit chilly, but this isn’t unexpected when I’m sitting anywhere working for any significant period of time. Again, I dismissed it. Instead, I answered the chills and my discomfort by grabbing a blanket from the closet and snuggling into the couch next to Nic.

When dinner rolled around, I don’t recall eating anything that Nic had made for us. Instead, I continued having a scotch because I figured it would be the medicine I needed. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t just chilly, but that I was chilled, and that my body wasn’t just uncomfortable, but in discomfort. I called it at some point and made my way back to my room to collapse into bed.

The next several days were awful, filled with chills, fevers, body aches, and the worst sore throat I have ever experienced in my life. Combined with all of that, I was vomiting and suffering from some mild gastrointestinal distress. It was the perfect storm of illness. And I was absolutely miserable. My sleep was broken, and fevered. I sweat through most of my clothes and blankets. Every movement caused me to violently shake with chills, but I longed to be released from the constant heat of the fevers. And with every hour that past, despite how much water I was attempting to drink, I continued to dehydrate.

Fortunately, Karl and Sandi were and have been amazing. They got me to the clinic after everyone agreed that I looked like death. Having eaten nothing since lunch on Wednesday, they also made sure that I had access to as many sugary liquids as I could down. Most of this came in the form of Gatorade, which they promptly and kindly delivered the minute I asked for it. And when I was finally able to start eating again, they have made sure that I’ve been able to eat as much as I could.

Needless to say, the week has been rough. I haven’t accomplished anything that I’ve wanted to or needed to accomplish. I’ve been sicker than I think I’ve ever been in my life. And I’ve slept more in a week than I think I do in a typical month. It’s been rough, and it’s been awful, but it’s been made better only because I’ve had Sandi & Karl looking out for me (despite everything else going on in their lives).

Tomorrow we are supposed to leave here (although winter weather might extend our trip), and even though this was not the trip that I had planned, I can’t help but feel lucky that I have the privilege of visiting here like I do. Thank you to Nic, Jason, and Frazer for carrying on with everything while I was doing my best to get healthy. But most importantly, thank you to Sandi and Karl for always being amazing. You have both gone above and beyond on this trip, and I won’t ever forget it.

Nakummek.

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