What can be determined of the legacy of our last vacation? It will be the things I will be the things I look back on the most. Unfortunately, while the golfing was nice enough, the course challenging and scenic, being hungover because all you that you do at these places is eat and drink wasn’t the most ideal way to start a round.

Certainly the incidentals were acceptable, but the 60 to zero way with which I became ill and the now two-week ordeal that would follow ranks up with the top ten times when I’ve been the sickest I’ve ever been. I’ve also been deaf in one ear for the past week. That’s something that’s never happened to me before.

I was so ill that there was absolutely no reprieve from any medication that can be purchased or combined over the counter. The first night back, I take the last of the Mexican cold medicine and make it through the night until about 5:30 when my sinuses completely close up and I snort awake in a migraine-hangover haze, unable to hear on one side, the sore throat and hacking cough of an aging smoker.

I look in the mirror. “Oh good,” I think to myself, “Your face is still bright red, except for the distinct burn lines from your glasses.” This will be fun to explain to everyone I interact with today.

My husband travels three nights out of five this week, and the few hours from the moment I wake up until I leave for work will be all I will get with him until Wednesday night. The first days back at work are a whirlwind. I’m now a week behind and by the end of the week, I’m still a week behind, only this time it’s the week I spent catching up from my time away.

I get little relief from my symptoms with the medications I purchased, but when I do, it comes at the cost of my cognitive functioning. I’d rather be suffering and in a bit more clear headed than less congested and wheeling like a party girl on whippets.

I should have taken the unsavory bit of human interaction that I stumbled across whilst on my way to the cold medication aisle at the local pharmacy as some kind of omen for the discomfort and strangeness that the week would hold. Two gentlemen clad in hip-hop style clothing were having what seemed like a debate in the prophylactic area.

One was holding up a small box, examining it closely, other hand cupping his chin in a very concerned manner, slowly shaking his head. “I don’t know man,” he said, but his comrade was determined. He clasped the young man on his shoulder and confidently declared “Nah, man! Lambskin…Foreskin!” He nods to him knowingly, in that overt “You know what I mean” fashion. Overhearing that, I scurried on more hurriedly along, my inner twelve year old self rather grossed out and giggling to myself, quietly and oh so immature.

All in all, the week sucked. Being completely blocked in one ear is a major bummer. I mean, I thought I had bad hearing normally, but with this impairment, I was at a real disadvantage. I was at a point where I could lose whole sentences. I even went to get the ear candled at a salon, but to no avail. I’ve tried all the home remedy and non-invasive methods I can, and now I have to go to the doctor.

Oh, and also, my cat died. Her preexisting heart condition was worsened by the prolonged isolation and stress of being medicated by a stranger. Although she had been doing very well, the stress of our absence worsened her condition and killed her. The loss shook me in a way I had not expected. It’s sudden and immediate loss gave me no time to prepare for it. It is also the second vacation in a row we have come home from and lost a pet.

So it would probably be safe to say that all the free golf, booze and sand aside, the devastation of losing her will far outweigh any memory of happiness. It appears that my happiness always comes at a price, one that often includes hurting others.

But, it hasn’t soured me on the prospect of travel, however. There are a lot of elements that I try to ensure are in place when I travel. On this trip, I broke a lot of them. If anything I am more reinforced in my belief that in order for a trip to be worth my while (and your while, should you be the one taking me), my baseline criteria need to be met. Otherwise, you can be looking at disaster, or at least a trip where no one has any fun.