Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Of Brussels, Birthday, and Barfing

So perhaps you're not so sympathetic with me, having to spend my birthday working (and on a Sunday this year too!), because of course though I'd be slaving away, I'd be doing it in Brussels. And afterwards I'd be able to go out, chow on some frites and sling back some fine Belgian brew. And truthfully I guess I wasn't so sad about it either. I really prefer to spread my birthday fun over several days, or even longer if I can, so I was looking forward to incremental celebrations throughout my trip. (And even beyond--M and I are going with friends to see Tom Petty on his last tour on the 30th, woo!)

But this year, it really was about the worst birthday I've ever had. I felt fine in the morning and dispatched the busiest part of my duties without incident. But ominous stomach rumblings became urgent just before noon, so I excused myself, ran up to my room in the nick of time, and spent the next four hours stumbling between water closet and bed. The pain kept getting worse (what are Belgian hospitals like, I was wondering--and would I have enough French to avoid getting a limb amputated, or something?) and even though I thought I had given everything I had to that fine European porcelain around hour three, apparently not. Something finally came up, and the relief was immediate. Later in the evening, after more sleeping, a friend brought me bland breads and water; another came bearing fabulous chocolates from Pierre Marcolini. And of course so many kind birthday wishes via email from family and friends (thank you)…so maybe it wasn't such a bad day after all.

I slept a lot and made a brief appearance at the event yesterday, though was able to answer email from my room; today I slept in, but it was a usual long conference day otherwise. And I was so happy to be able to do it. This is a small conference, so I wasn't really missed. I haven't been eating much, and what I do take in has to be done slowly. Maybe losing a bit of weight could be a bonus! And I need to sit down a lot.

I did walk around a bit this evening, just to be outside. I was enjoying myself, wandering around the quaint touristed streets near the Grand Place, when I was approached by a guy who wanted to join me. And though he was polite, of course my natural suspicion of the ulterior motives of strangers caused me to tell him to bug off (politely). It put me in a bit of a grumpy mood. Not what I wanted to deal with. But now I've had a bath and that bad mountain climbing movie with Sly Stallone is on, which somehow seems more entertaining when watched in Belgium.

I often lament not being able to spend more time relaxing in the nice hotel rooms we book for our events. I don't think I'll be sorry again.


At 3:38 PM, September 20, 2006, Blogger Rebecca said...

Oh no! yuck, yuck. I'm so sorry to hear about the horribly icky part of your day (ie., most of the day). You'll just have to make sure the post-birthday celebrations make up for it!

At 7:04 PM, September 20, 2006, Anonymous Michael said...

Ugh. Well, happy birthday anyway.

There is a sickness that is conferences, as we all know, but to be sick in that sickness on your birthday is just sicky.


At 11:01 AM, September 23, 2006, Blogger Nancy said...

I guess it's no good now to wish you a happy birthday, so I'm wishing you a happy year instead. May that day have been the low point.

At 9:10 PM, September 23, 2006, Anonymous Julia said...

Waugh! Maybe someday you'll look back on this story and laugh, but I'm so sorry you had to spend your birthday in such a way. I agree with Nancy...your year has got to get better from here!


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