Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday, so I offered to host the festivities for a number of volunteers this year. And because I’m incapable of planning ahead or making prudent choices, that number quickly became about twenty people, even though I have one small two-burner stove, three bowls and three forks, two mattresses, and am generally unprepared to host more than two people at a time. Maren, who is capable of planning ahead and making prudent choices, was amazingly but inconveniently visiting her brother, also a Peace Corps volunteer, in Zambia, which left Nick and me to our own devices on how best to improvise this holiday-turned-runaway train.
So Nick came over the weekend prior to help me turn my house into a summer camp. And good thing he did, too, because at about midnight on Sunday, my body shut down completely and I rapidly got as sick as I have ever been in my entire life.
By Monday morning I was shivering and shaking so hard that I pulled muscles in my neck, and was wrapped up in wool blankets even though it was so hot that day Nick had to keep going out to the porch in hopes of catching some breeze. I had also lost something like ten pounds due to massive gastrointestinal failure and had become semi-incoherent. Nick, like me, tends to subscribe to the “ignore it and it will go away” school of medicine; in our little trio it is always Maren’s job to bully us into seeking appropriate medical attention. So when Nick finally frowned and said, “I wish Maren were here,” I knew it was time to go to the hospital
And that’s how Maren saved my life even though she was on a different continent.