Enough - foreign illness thoroughly experienced.

Each layer of sleep grew more intense and each awakening increasingly heated. Had I baked in the sun? My body was dry and warm, a chill ran across each pore. Sleep beckoned relentlessly. I shoveled the Sahara and moved it to the depths of the sea. I was now drenched in saltwater. Uncovered, I watched the broke-down fan perform rickety pirouette after pirouette. Sleep cures all. Surely, I could sleep it off. My head pounded and I was enslaved under the covers. The frigid blast of transformed and monumental fan blades guarded me with an Alcatrazian eye.

The water was out. I contemplated. The water was only three steps outside my door. I contemplated to no avail.

My stomach finally rushed me out of bed. Now, much closer to the door, I decided water could do me some good. Bones aching and muscles weak, I woke my friend, the nightguard, from a nap. The cup of water was harder to drink than I had thought.

"Hospital," he insisted. I did not give in.
"Water and rest," my stubborn disposition refused.

He ran down the street and bought me a new bottle of water and some food for my stomach. I drank what I could, perhaps a quarter of a cup at most and went for a bite of food. Nausea empowered my weakened legs and launched me towards the bathroom.

The desert and sea cursed me for their forced, yet dreamt consolidation. Onslaughts of seawater and sober Saharan winds took turns abusing my body into a state dilapidation.

This continual cycle gave birth to a new exhaustion. I could not wake up for a wave of fire, water, nor cold. Nausea was overtaken by rapid eye movement. I was out.

This time, I woke with alarm. None of my symptoms had worsened. I felt almost coherent and intact, but my subconscious knew that I needed medical attention. Fifteen minutes later, Jeremy walked in, home from Jakarta. He called a taxi. Another fifteen minutes and a few more temperature alternations, I limited my communication to my pointer finger, holding it up to signify the need of another minute. One more minute to collect myself, to feel nauseous again, and to sweat out some more precious water. A lull arrived and I wrapped the sheet around myself, clinging to my chest.

The taxi driver was lost. This is a common occurrence in Bali, but an unwelcome occurrence in such a situation.

We arrived at a small medical clinic, which was marked 24/7, but also had its internal lights out. Jeremy knocked on the door. I leaned onto the back of the driver's vinyl head rest. My forehead stuck and my vision started to fade as I peeled my face away from the foul plastic. Muffled voices came from the left of the cab. Sightless, I needed significant assistance. Jeremy thought I was dying. That is his favorite part of the story. At least now that I am alive, that is his favorite part.

A few inconclusive tests at the clinic and the ambulance drove me away. Kasih Ibu Hospital. Kasih ibu means "thanks mom".

The first stay lasted four days. After some extensive testing and plenty of veins tapped, the diagnosis was typhoid fever and acute appendicitis.

I was not quite sure how things were going to go for me. During this uncertainty, I wrote out a will. Not exactly on my to do list, but it was therapeutic and helped me think about life and its end.

I went for the conservative treatment of antibiotics and seemed to successfully avoid surgery in a foreign country. The details of the hospital are like any other hospital. It smelled like a hospital, the food was average at best, and I was hooked up to an IV. The recovery seemed to be going well and I started being out of patient mode and back into transient mode in Bali.

The checkup at Thanks Mom was not as smooth as I would have liked. My white blood cell count was still high and they needed to do another ultrasound later that night. I knew that my appendix was inflamed once again. Seeing that I had half a days worth of fasting to do before my next appointment, I went home and had a meal of Nasi Campur. I figured that in the worst case scenario, I would have to have surgery. I went for a surf.

I went back that night at 7 o'clock. More blood was drawn. The ultrasound was done. A little more fasting and I was under the knife before 10:30 p.m.

The operating room was terribly cold and the green tile muddled the lights. They injected anesthetic into my spine, extraordinarily painful in itself. My eyes started to blink heavily and my lower two-thirds lie paralyzed.

I awoke once at the end of the surgery to an overly enthusiastic nurse showing me my appendix in a bottle. I woke up again when they moved me from ICU to my bed. That was unpleasant enough. The third time I woke, I was in great pain. My insides burned with an acidic, cancerous fire and my back felt hinged at the point of injection. Rest was a big part of the day, but two final obstacles revealed themselves. My temperature had risen once again and an allergic reaction to one of my medications restricted my breathing a bit more than I like.

Now that I am out of the hospital, I am taking it easy. My insides do not feel quite right yet, but I know that will get better. How many more organs can I lose?

Things have worked out though. I have gained more than I have lost here. Travel insurance is a godsend, appendixes are useless, the time to think was well-needed, my brother flew over to see me, and now I get to extend my visa for another week. Things could definitely be much worse. I have much to be thankful for and some new and rediscovered appreciation for my life back home.

1 comment:

amy said...

so glad you are alright brother. we were all very worried.
love you