Last week we discovered that being sick really sucks in Venice. Being elderly would also suck. Being sick and elderly would be the absolute pits.
We were walking around on our second day in Venice when Andrew started to feel a bit nauseous. We were about a 25 minute walk from home. There were no ferries that could take us from where we were back to our place. So, apart from possible catching a water taxi, there was no other option than to walk.
About five minutes in, Andrew told us to stop and wait. He then ran down the side of a fairly quiet canal and expelled the entire contents of his stomach out of his mouth into the water. Luckily there weren’t any loved up couples in gondola’s going past or that may have kind of ruined their mood.
So if you’re wondering what the good part in my title was, that was it. How awesome is it that there is a running body of water that you can throw up into at any given moment? And the bonus is it already has a bit of poo in there (sewerage is still discharged into Venice’s canals) so you don’t feel bad dirtying the water.
So we finally got home and Andrew spent about 8 hours vomiting into one of our two toilets. I’ve never been more thankful for having two bathrooms. Also it’s such a big place that you can put someone in their own little infectious diseases section of the house and still have plenty of room. Our initial plan was go straight to Rome when we landed but the place we have there is only one bathroom and tiny in comparison so having gastro there would not have been fun.
It was about 4pm so I thought I’d ask Maria if there are any doctors who could come to your house after hours if Andrew got worse at night. She said unfortunately there is no such thing and the best thing to do would be to walk to the hospital. She said it’s an 8 minute walk and that her husband could take Andrew at any time. That was very sweet but Giorgio is 87 years old and I wasn’t going to ask our 87 year old host to practically carry my husband 8 minutes to the ER in the middle of the night so I just sat there hoping he wouldn’t get worse.
All ended up well and he stopped vomiting about midnight. He was not too bad the next day and we even managed to go out for half the day.
We went to the Rialto market and bought lots of yummy food. We visited a really quirky bookshop called Libreria Acqua Alta. All the books are stored in bathtubs and gondolas because they are so sick of them being wrecked by the periodic flooding of Venice (Acqua Alta). We also went to the Scoula Grande di San Marco. This is an amazing building which was originally the home to one of the six major religious fraternities of Venice. It was later turned into a military hospital and now houses a section devoted to the history of medicine. There are some interesting and somewhat gross historic surgical equipment and books on display that the kids found fascinating and scary. There were old school tracheostomy equipment with detailed pictures of how to open up throats, weird eyeball surgery tools with pictures that probably inspired “A Clockwork Orange” and a couple of very uncomfortable looking baby removal tools with graphic pictures that made Lucy never want to have babies. If you got sick of looking at eyeballs and throats you could gaze upon the rooms incredibly ornate golden ceiling and admire the striking renaissance art painted on the wall.
The next morning I woke up feeling a bit queasy and Lucy walked in announcing she needed to vomit. So the fun continued as Lucy and I spent 8 hours vomiting into two seperate toilets. At this point I wished we had 3 bathrooms.
We timed our sickness quite badly as we were meant to catch a train to Rome that day. We had a special tour of the colosseum the next morning that would have taken us to the third tier and underground. The tickets were so difficult to get and I just couldn’t believe we were going to miss out.
Lucy and I recovered by about 3pm and slept the rest of the day. We caught a train in the morning and spent 3 nights in Rome packing 5 days worth of sightseeing into 4. We even managed to go on the special colosseum tour as they had spots for another day.
The kids been amazing. We basically walked non stop for 10 hours each day as the stupid Rome bus system is so frustrating. Buses are always at least 20 min late.
I won’t go into massive details about Rome as we’ll get the kids to write a post about it at some stage.
So to wrap things up, here’s the tally of good and bad of being sick in Venice.
- Have to walk home if you are sick when you are out.
- No doctors that come to your house.
- Have to walk to hospital as there’s no way to get door to door via transport.
- Canals conveniently located to throw up in.
- Our place had two bathrooms.
In all honesty, I’m a bit jealous of Andrew for throwing up in a canal. It just seems so quintessentially Venetian. I’m sure all the locals have done it at some stage. Possibly from alcohol consumption rather than gastro but you take what you can get.