It was late when we got to Fontainebleau and found reasonably priced, clean and spacious accommodations, a one hour train ride from Paris. As soon as we got settled, Joe called his doctor back home in Atlanta. Apparently he had been tested the day before leaving on our adventure. The results of those tests confirmed his opportunistic infection was fungal meningitis. We instinctively knew that the source of pain in his head was likely due to swelling caused by this infection. We were now most concerned with getting Joe on our return flight back to the states. We still had a couple of days before we were scheduled to leave. Since the pain medication was working, we figured we could more leisurely approach the return leg of our journey. After a day of rest, Joe felt like he could handle a day trip into Paris. For the next two days, we commuted to Paris and Joe got to enjoy many sites he longed to see. We even enjoyed the view from atop the Eiffel Tower.
Even these no stress excursions proved to take a toll. A day in the city would exhaust us. In particular, Joe would need to get back to our hotel for rest. He seemed to be practicing the tightrope walk he would be on as his illness progressed. His time increasingly looked like a balance between intolerable pain and bearable rest. Karen and I were learning to nurse him along until we could get him back home where he could receive medical treatment. His pain was intense enough that he could not hide it. I believed anyone looking at him could tell he was suffering and was concerned that we may be barred from boarding a transatlantic flight. Joe’s condition was bleeding over into our minds, as our thoughts became centered on getting him on a plane back to Atlanta. We discussed how to handle the possibility that we may have to extend our vacation until Joe could get medial clearance to fly.
As best we could, in the evenings while Joe was resting, Karen and I enjoyed the remnants of our European tour in a small town that for eight centuries provided retreat for royalty. Karen purchased for me a haircut. She even came into the hairdresser's salon to take a picture. One of the mementos of our vacation is a photo of me being pampered like royalty by having a gorgeous French woman run her fingers through my hair.