Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:58:18 PM EST
The morning to leave Paris dawned as we left the hotel and headed for the Metro. We scouted the route the day before and had no real problems getting to Gare De L'Est, but due to some mistake we'd (I'd) made on timing we just a couple of minutes ahead of departure time so we hustled on board our train. We were in car 2, so we walked right up and there was car 2......no, that was 2nd class and so we ended up walking the whole damned train inside instead of going along the outside but we found our correct seats and headed out about the time we sat down.
It was an enjoyable ride to Strasbourg, and I really enjoyed the comforts of the train and the views of the countryside and then the wooded hills. Pretty soon we were at Strasbourg and were picked up by a fellow Californian that used to be my wife's boss when she worked at the psychiatric crisis unit. He now works with the US Army with PTSD soldiers coming from the war zones. We had a nice drive over to Baden Baden and talked some about the dismal work he had to do, and the trying experience it always is to deal with the army, even when you are a civilian. On the bright side, he is a very smart guy and probably is good at what he does and heavens knows the people from a war zone need it. Now, if we could get the hell out of the war zone....but thats a different diary.
We got to Baden-Baden at mid-day and found a little hotel and then went to lunch down along the stream. It was a nice sunny afternoon and the white asparagus was in season so we had that. We went for a nice little promenade down the path along the creek for a kilometer or so, then returned. Bill headed out to go for a long bike ride around lake Bodensee, and we headed to the hotel room and unpacked and took a long rest.
Next day things were looking up! We headed for Friedrichsbad for the Roman-Irish treatment. Wow!! Its a little over-the-top, but quite an experience, capped by a little snooze in a warm blanket. After a while I was done so I got up and headed out. I was waiting outside when she came out and we both felt pretty darn good. We spent the day strolling along the waterway again, and in the distance on the hills we could see paragliders sailing along-quite the sight. The weather turned a little chilly (though it was the warmest in many, many years according to the locals) and we retreated again to the hotel room. At dinner that night we went to "Wall Street" down near the center of town and ate then back to bed.....not to sleep, just to bed. Once again the fits of coughing kept us awake most of the night.
Next day were were to set off for Nordlingen and meet a friend, we climbed on the right tram to the train station, but we got on going the wrong direction-I attribute it to sleep deprivation but simple foolishness may be the case. By the time we made the complete loop we were there to watch the train depart from Baden trainstation. Oh well, another one leaves in a couple of hours so we sat and waited. We caught the next train and it was packed. Jam-packed and then some lady with a double wide stroller pushed her way in. It was funny, but we were wedged in like sardines and couldn't move a foot the first leg of the trip. Soon enough we made the appropriate changes and were arriving in Nordlingen.
We unloaded and were given a quick tour of the inner town, and walked to the wall. Really an interesting place, but we were pretty beat. Before we went in, I stopped at the Apotheke (spelling?) and got some cough medicine. We had dinner, drank a really great German beer and headed for bed. About 2 in the morning I got up feeling very funny. I staggered out into the hallway to the bathroom and nearly fell down the steps. Managed to feel my way along the wall into the bathroom and sat down. The wall across from me was tile, and the tiles were shifting shape, in, out, in, out, in and out. "Odd," I thought. and it was odd. There was small leaf on the floor from a house plant and the leaf was swimming across the floor, that was odd too. I sat for a while and then went into the bedroom waking up Nita. I told her that I wasn't feeling exactly right-I couldn't seem to focus and the straight lines of the walls were fluid.
I laid back down, then got up, then back down. She started to get concerned, and I did too, I thought that it was strange, even with the lack of sleep and a pretty strong beer. At some point we looked at the cough medicine. We'd been told to take 50 drops-no idea what that meant so I'd taken what I thought would be about 50 drops. After a short while I thought I saw someone walk into the closet out of the corner of my eye. That was when she decided to call home. One of my friends is a nurse here and it was mid-day. We told him the ingredients of the cough syrup and he called Poison Control. They said, "go to the hospital"
There are few joys in the world comparable to going to a hospital in a foreign land where you speak not a dozen words of their language and don't really know what is wrong, and can't hardly explain the symptoms in one's own language. But they were great and pretty soon they had me strapped into the EKG machine and were monitoring my heart. Apparently this stuff was known to cause hallucinations and to induce heart attacks. Sheesh. So after a couple of hours in the Emergency Room, they decided that I had an arrythmia and needed to be put into ICU. I felt pretty good by this point, I'd slept and had a bag of IV fluids dripped into me...Nita of course was a nervous wreck. The nurse in ICU was great and let Nita sit in there with me most of the day, but at the end of the day they wanted to admit me. So they did. I got to rest in the hospital and she got to begin the war with Blue Cross about the cost.
I was in a double room with a young German kid who had hurt his hand working. He loved watching television with some Umpah band going off and on. Then soccer came on and we watched that till we went to sleep.
More soon. It gets better.