India

I'm a geek by marriage. I'm Gumby by birth.

At Wondercon.

At Wondercon.

Meet Mr. Pennington. I suspect he is really the one working off bad karma, having to take care of someone with Ehlers-Danlos. It's no easy job. This illness is horrendous. I would get away from me if I could.

As a white collar worker in Silicon Beach with a highly specialized set of tech skills, Mr. Pennington gets to swim with the sharks in Silicon Valley.

Sexy also gets sent to work in India.

View from the hotel in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

View from the hotel in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

The trip to India is a brutal. It starts with a visit to the travel doctor for more vaccines and malaria medication. Malaria is a disease you do not want. In India, keep surgical sterile. Load up on hand sanitizer. No fresh fruits or vegetables. No ice. Brush your teeth with bottled water. Keep your mouth closed in the shower.

The morning commute when working in India.

Getting there adds up to about 30 hours of travel: 25 hours of flying, a few hours for changing planes, then landing on the other side of the earth. 

You can go either way to get to India. To the right, cross these United States, over the Atlantic, stop somewhere in Europe and probably Dubai to get into another plane.

Going left, the route is North.  Brush the Article Circle, and pick an Asian country for a plane change. 

It really makes no difference which way you go. India is exactly on the other side of the globe. 

Some things to consider in your choice:

- Fog frequently shuts down the airport in Dubai, and then youre really stuck. 

- Duty-Free Hong Kong is better than Duty-Free Dubai. 

- Its a long, rough flight from Los Angeles to Asia. Landing time is hard to predict. But when you return, Asia to Los Angeles, the tailwinds are on your side. The flight is hours less, which is nice when its time to come home. 

After once experiencing airport shut down in Dubai, Sexy prefers going via Asia. En route he texts me selfies. He looks worse in each one. By the time he lands in New Delhi, he has the sallow, weak look of someone who has just woken up from surgery.

On the way back, Sexy sends me a selfie with a whiskey on the rocks in the Hong Kong Airport to celebrate that it’s time to come home, although the travel doctor says no ice in Hong Kong as they have sanitation problems there, too. But he has one anyway. You gotta live.

Here Sexy is in his jammies, leaving India for Hong Kong, ready to snuggle up and get some sleep. This particular trip was short. He didn’t even stay for one full week. It was 60 hours of travel for 32 hours of work. Turned right around and went home. Never had to adjust to the time difference. Makes sense to me.

It's time to come home.

It's time to come home.

If he has time for a shower in Hong Kong and has slept enough, Sexy may ask me to drop him off at work after I fetch him from the airport. But if he’s tired and sweaty, we just go to In-N-Out.

In-N-Out by LAX.

In-N-Out by LAX.

The traveling makes his white-collar desk job one of hard labor. But whatever it takes to get me access to the best medical care, Sexy will do. I have a rare and complicated disease that is poorly understood. I am expensive to keep around.

Yes, the situation with healthcare coverage is totally unfair. But what can I do. I have to save myself before I can do anything for anyone else. 

Only once did Sexy come back from India ill. To help him out, I gave him a shot of Vitamin C. He ran around the living room screaming. Im sorry to admit how hard I laughed. He will never try one again.

I promise, your body will adjust to those shots. They really do hurt less over time. Most of mine hardly hurt at all. Honestly. 

It takes a while.

Madora Pennington