Day 20: Helpful Hands and Sick Again

Feeling Unwell… Again

I slept fitfully throughout the night. I was taking the 8:30 shuttle to Stecoah Gap to begin my hike to Fontana Dam. I don’t seem to sleep well when I know I have an alarm set. I was getting ready and packing up my things, but I wasn’t feeling well. I pushed on and got to the lodge. I noticed a text from Wendi saying that she was glad to have me and that she was sorry that she couldn’t say goodbye before she dropped her son off at school. I went inside looking for Scott to cash me out but didn’t see him. I went back to the porch. It hit me that I really wasn’t feeling well.

A few minutes later, Scott popped his head out and asked if I was well. I was honest and said, “No, not really. I’m unsure if it’s because I’m hungry or not.” He understood and said that if I wanted to, I could stay another night or wait a few hours before heading back out. I thanked him and began eating a muffin that I bought from Ingles.

Changing of Plans

I chatted with another female hiker who was also showing similar symptoms. She was going to urgent care to see what was up. I began eating the second muffin. I didn’t finish as I felt full and just waited to see if the discomfort was due to hunger. It wasn’t. I told Scott that I was going to wait an hour. If I still wasn’t feeling well, I’d stay another night. I called my mother to update her. She was insistent that I stay another day. Taking another zero filled me with shame. I didn’t want to do it.

An hour passed, though, and nothing was improving. Dammit. I guess I’m adding another night to the bill. Wendi was walking up to the lodge, already informed that I wasn’t feeling great. I told her to add another night. She replied, “I figured that may be the case. Nola is all yours.”

I went to the dirty hamper where I put my loaner clothes at and fished them out. They were the only ones in there anyways. I headed back to the cabin, changed, and went back to the lodge.

Ion Foot Baths

I laid down and caught up on some YouTube videos. I popped an electrolyte tablet in my mouth because maybe that would help. Scott came back from shuttling one of the other hikers and offered an ion foot bath. I said yes. I then asked if he needed any help, and he told me to relax. “I feel so high maintenance,” I said. The water afterward was a sickly yellow and had multi-colored chunks in it. It was disgusting. I said, “It looks like I vomited on my own feet.”

I won’t show you what the water looked liked afterwards. It was disgusting.

Embarrassing Parents

My dad called me afterwards to tell me he called Wendi to thank her for all she has done. Apparently, it was a fifteen-minute conversation. I was embarrassed. I don’t get embarrassed easily, but my parents calling the people I’m staying with to say thanks is one of them. I guess it’s payback for all the times I’ve loudly discussed extremely taboo conversations at the dinner table in public.

I continued watching YouTube but was quick to fall asleep right there on the porch. At least I had the family dog, Honey, for company. She was sleeping too. I slept for a time until I heard the sound of children playfully screaming.

Afternoon Plans

I was up and decided to head back to the cabin. I was feeling much better. Maybe that electrolyte did help. If I wanted to, I could have gone out on trail, but didn’t as it was 2:00.

I laid about waiting for 2:50. A shuttle was leaving at that time to head to the NOC, and I figured it was a good chance to get some food. I left with two others, and we ended up eating together. I got the chicken sandwich again.

We had some time to spare as the shuttle wasn’t coming back until 5:30, so I walked in the water and ended up sitting down near the shoreline. Very quickly, I was heading back to the cabin. I took a shower and decided that it was about time for bed. I read a bit before passing out.

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