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final day in Italy - depart Rome and return to USA

Rome Travel Blog

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Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs)

Just before 7:00am I woke up drenched with sweat.  My room at Hotel Nord was stifling!  I threw off my covers and opened the window to find some relief.  My head was still spinning, but it was too hot to sleep, so instead I took a shower, got dressed, packed my bags, and brought them down stairs.  I then went to see Melissa in her room, but she wasn’t there, so I went outside and took an aimless stroll around Rome by myself.

Aside from a few other pedestrians the city streets were dead calm at that hour on Sunday morning.  Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t really watch were I was going until I came upon the Fountain of the Naiads in Piazza della Repubblica.

Repubblica-Teatro dell'Opera, Piazza della Repubblica the Fountain of the Naiads
  It’s a beautiful round fountain filling the center of a driving circle.  It’s surrounded by Repubblica-Teatro dell'Opera on one side and Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) on the other.  The ancient brick façade of the basilica is actually the remains of Baths of Diocletian.

I continued my saunter for about an hour or so until I ran out of film and found my way back to Via Cavour.  Everyone else up by then and some had come down for breakfast.  Carl told me Melissa was in her room, so I went there to look for her.  She was packing at the time and invited me in to hang out.  Uncomfortably, I sat there watching her fold some clothes and wondered if things would be weird between us or if I’d be able touch her again without feeling as though we were doing something wrong.

an old building I passed on my morning walk in Rome
  As if reading my mind, Melissa walked over to me just then and relieved my concerns with the sweetest, most comforting hug and apologized for overreacting the previous night.  Our world had not ended; perhaps we could just erase our imprudence from memory and go back to what we had before we’d allowed our mutual attraction to run amuck.

Following breakfast, we loaded our bags onto the bus and we were on our way back to the airport.  Our early transfer afforded us time to have lunch and do some shopping.  A couple of hours later, we boarded the plane and were heading back to JFK International Airport in New York.  Melissa was still feeling ill when we took off from Rome and I switched seats with another passenger to sit with her.  It was not until a few hours into the flight that her condition worsened and she really started to look like death.

striped building I passed on my morning walk in Rome
  She had such a sore throat that even taking small sips of water caused her trouble.  My concern grew as my weakened friend, wrapped up in a blanket, shivered with the chills while at the same time perspiring.  I spoke with the flight crew, but there was little they could do aside from offer their sympathy.

Melissa had the window seat, I had the middle, and a stranger had the isle.  Throughout the flight, I cradled Melissa’s limp torso in my arms to make her more comfortable.  Trying to keep her hydrated, I fed her sips of water and spoke words of encouragement to motivate her to drink.  She was so enervated she had difficulty even holding her head up.  When we landed, the other passengers began to leave their seats to collect their carryon bags, but the idiot beside me sat still, leaving my patient and me unnecessarily crowded.

Regnando Umberto I, fine arts building
  He got up, however, when I asked him to give us the space.  Andy took our carryon items into the terminal for us and found that Melissa’s wine and olive oil bottles had smashed together in the overhead stowage compartment and broke.  Melissa was virtually unconscious at this point, so once the plane was empty I scooped her up from the seat and supported her weight as she shuffled down the constricted isle.

Finally off the plane, the ground crew had a wheelchair waiting for us at the beginning of the jetway and I placed her in the seat.  Melissa was passed out cold at the immigration counter when I presented her documents and passport to the agent.  Noting Melissa’s last name, the friendly woman (who presumed we were a couple) advised me, “…Better learn some Spanish.

Evans & Melissa on the plane from Rome to JFK (before she became ill)
”  Watching for our luggage at the baggage claim carousel, I spoke more with Dr. Tracey about the status of his ailing student.  He preferred to get her on the bus and back to Connecticut, but I knew she was in no condition for another three-hour ride, so I asked him to go find out if there was a medical facility in the airport, which he promptly did.

I got Melissa and our luggage through customs and to the exit where some people from Alitalia joined us to help out by arranging for a car to bring us to the JFK medical center (CMC Occupational Health Services, P.C.).  Melissa later shared the last thing she remembered was that I’d walked her off the plane and gotten her into the wheelchair and the next was when we arrived at the medical center.  Because she was so sick (mostly from dehydration), the physician’s assistant who treated her advised against taking her on the bus to CCSU.  At that point, I felt reassured that she was in the care of capable medical professionals.

Since she would have to stay in the medical center, hooked up to IVs, I agreed to stay with her, but the faculty refused to allow that citing issues of liability and their obligation to return me to campus.  Dr. Tracey then decided to remain with Melissa while the rest of us headed back to Central.  She asked me to call her boyfriend, Mikey, to let him know she would not need a ride from the school and the PA let me use the office phone.  Dr. Tracey then called Melissa’s mother who agreed to drive down to New York to bring the two of them home.

Having gone without sleep on the plane while taking care of Melissa (after getting only an hour and a half the night before), I was thoroughly exhausted and slept through most of the ride to New Britain.  Although I had called my brother from the road and told him the time I expected to arrive, he was still late and I was the last one standing there with my bags waiting for my ride.  Actually, June was kind enough to come back to keep me company until he got there just after 9:00pm.  Still in dire need of sleep, I did stay awake for the 20-minute drive to Bristol and gave my brother a brief summary of the incredible time I’d just had over the past nine days.  It was my first trip overseas and my most enriching experience.  Italy is an amazing country, so full of culture and history, being back home everything else seemed smaller in contrast.  It was a trip I’ll never forget.

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Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Mar…
Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Ma…
Repubblica-Teatro dellOpera, Piaz…
Repubblica-Teatro dell'Opera, Pia…
an old building I passed on my mor…
an old building I passed on my mo…
striped building I passed on my mo…
striped building I passed on my m…
Regnando Umberto I, fine arts buil…
Regnando Umberto I, fine arts bui…
Evans & Melissa on the plane from …
Evans & Melissa on the plane from…
Rome
photo by: vulindlela