Sunday, November 6, 2011

Europe in June

Every year I try to visit some international destination that I haven't visited before. This year in June I visited London and Paris. My son, Jim, and I spend six days in London and four in Paris. We had a wonderful time. We visited most of the common tourist attractions in both locations. London is very much like a typical U.S. city. I could live there in a heartbeat. Paris, is quite different, but sooooo beautiful. Four days is not nearly enough time there.

We started in London, and stayed at a hotel by the Lancaster Gate Tube Station. The Tube is the subway we road to travel around London. The Lancaster Gate Station is on the Central Line, zone 1. Which basically means we were close to everything! We stayed at the Lancaster Gate Hotel. Most restaurants in London are very much like that in the U.S. They lack healthy foods. There were many pubs and you could find fish and chips (their version of our French fries) anywhere. But I was a lacto vegetarian, which means that I didn't eat meat of any sort. The only animal products I ate were milk products. So there weren't many choices for good food in London, similar to here in the U.S. 

We were fortunate to fine a little place by our hotel called The Swan. It's a pub atmosphere, but they had an awesome vegetarian lasagna smothered with cheese. It was a delicious meal, and Jim loved their fish and chips, as well as their chicken and chips. So we found ourselves eating there quite often. But for some reason after eating, I always felt bloated. Unlike after meals when I was in the U.S. I really didn't think much of it, but this bloating feeling also made me a little lethargic, as I seemed to noticeably need more rest while I was there. 

I chalked it up to the amount of alcohol I was consuming and the poor diet most meals I was eating in London. I certainly ate way too much fried food. For example, the fish and chips my son would order, came loaded with chips and they were delicious. I probably ate more of them than my son did each meal. And the beer here was awesome. Many different brands that I've never had before, and I really liked the wheat beer. I think Carlsbad was my favorite.

I also had been dealing with a hemorrhoid this entire trip. It wasn't anything significant. The typical over the counter products seemed to manage it's symptoms. I had been having difficulty with hemorrhoids all year, but over the counter products always seemed to get it under control.

In any regard, the poor diet, too much alcohol, and the hemorrhoid were all reasons to justify why I needed more rest than normal.

Next we went to Paris. What a beautiful city. Many warned us that the French people were not so nice to Americans. We didn't experience that at all. The men in Paris are much more forward than in London, or the U.S. I certainly had my share of propositions by young handsome French men. It was an ego boost for sure, since nothing of the sort happens regularly in the U.S. My son was getting tired of people asking if we were a couple:) But I enjoyed it of course!

My son was 20 years old when we were in Paris, and today he turns 21!! He lives in Florida which is where he was born and raised. I only moved to Charlotte, which is where I now live, after he graduated high school. In any regard, when we were in Paris, we had our fair share of French wine. Way too much indeed. One day Jim and I shared four bottles of wine.  A couple of days later, I don't know how much wine we drank, but we ended up at this great little restaurant close to our hotel near the Opera House and met a group of men from the U.S. who were there on business. We chatted and drank with them until past midnight. The next day was definitely a hang over day for both of us. 

I must admit, however, that the food in Paris was much healthier. You could observe the lack of obesity in Paris simply by walking the streets. At a size 8, I felt like I was one of the heaviest people there. I mentioned to Jim that they were inspiring me to lose weight. Little did I know at that time, that losing weight would be the least of my concerns.

In any regard, I assumed that my poor eating in London, and excessive red wine in Paris had something to do with my hemorrhoid problem which got significantly worse by this time. It not only began to bleed, but would fill the bowl with blood during a bowel movement. And the pain associated with the hemorrhoid got worse as well, predominantly during a bowel movement. I decided when I returned, I would go get it checked out by a doctor because this level of blood could be a bigger issue. I was concerned about anemia.

Ultimately, our trip to London and Paris was wonderful. I met so many awesome people, like Ellie, and was able to visit with my good friend Bhavesh who works in London that I have known for several years. But as our trip came to an end with our hangovers from the wine from the night before, we returned to the U.S. Let's now travel eight hours on a plane with a bleeding hemorrhoid. How fun was that? Not to mention that the fattest man on the plane sat next to me. His fat encroached into my chair about 4 inches:( He had to get a seat belt extender because he was too fat to fit in the seat belt. 

I attempted to get my seat changed but Continental wouldn't allow it because the only seats available were at the exit row which was considered an upgrade. I felt that if I paid for a full seat, I should have gotten one. In any regard, I'll choose not to fly Continental whenever I have a choice in the future.

So we returned home on June 20. I tried to manage the symptoms of my hemorrhoid on my own, but this time it didn't work. The following weekend, the pain got worse and the fatigue from fighting this pain in my behind (literally) grew even stronger. I felt so bad that I missed a friends wedding that was on July 4:( Her wedding was in the mountains, and it was going to take me about five hours to drive there. I just couldn't imagine sitting on my ass for five hours. Arrrggghhh:(

On July 5, I set an appointment with urgent care at my primary care physician's and met with a P.A. (professional assistant), Emily, about my hemorrhoid. Unknown to me at the time, this was the first of many appointments. Emily promptly prescribed some powerful ointment for hemorrhoid and sent me on my way.

The treatment seemed to work as each day the hemorrhoid improved. The pain lessened and the bleeding subsided. Yay. I'm healed!! Or so I thought....

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