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.

Balinese Spirits or Sleep Paralysis

I awoke suddenly. Nothing was there. The room was clear. I pulled the comforter over my chilled face. The air conditioning was excessive and unnecessary. My toes begged me to get up, but the rest of my body countered, warm and tired. The door tried to open, but the handle turned as if it already had been. It was locked and I knew it. I also knew something had just entered- a spirit, a state of REM, perhaps a thousand pillows. I could not be sure, but whatever it was crept over my body. Gently, silently, and evenly it rest down on my chest. Then slowly it pushed with power and ease, complete balance of the two, equilibrium in excess. My life lie at its mercy. Paralyzed, I stared at the blanket. Would this be the demise of the author? Such a lame and horrible demise it would be. Silent, I could not scream. I could not breathe. My mind raced and millions of pillows now filled the room. My still eyes blinked. I kicked decisively from the quadriplegia. A few minutes after, I looked at the clock. 4:24, it blinked. It had been nearly an hour since I was awakened by the door handle. I had been paralyzed and fully conscious. I think I was conscious at least.

Cure All, or Larutan or Else

This is a drink I found. It is mild, delicious, and has a rhinoceros on the can. Here is what the can reads...

Larutan Penyegan - kaki tinga
Indications & Uses- The preparation is a traditional medicine which gives a cooling effect in body heatness, flu, gingivitis, sore throat, constipation.

Recommended Consumption:
For treatment purposes-
Adults - consume 1/2 can 1-3 times daily
Children - consume 1/4 can 1-3 times daily
For precaution purpose-
Adults - consume 1 can daily
Children - consume 1/2 can daily

Lighthouse Keeper and an Odd Dream

The jobs I would like to do are dead or dying. The traditional lighthouse keeper is dead. His fortress stands alone, abandoned, but running. Electronic and dehumanized, the towers are on life support. The pulse beats and the organs live, but the soul has left the body. I would like to be him, watching the approach of dusk, glorious and timeless. I would man the candle and ignite the coast. In the sleeping and deviant hours of the land, my friend would be a cup of coffee, warm and reliable. Twilight would be the flag to freedom, dim light sprints into a burst of dawn. What more could reward the soul than something so epic and predictable. Alas, the romance is gone and the keeper dead.

I had an odd dream while in the hospital. It was beautiful as well. It took place in Southwest America, among the cactus and coyotes. I found an old friend's house there, out of place, but there. Walking in past the stairs, I could see they were sleeping and did not want to break the sweet content of slumber. Kicking the doorway as I turned, my true klutzy nature was revealed and my friend woke. He was as warm as ever and the same as I once knew. Only now he was wearing ridiculously thick glasses. He was still the same though. After a visit, dusk was approaching and I had no light home. Neon phosphorescent wildlife welcomed me, a psychedelic western. Luckily, as with any good dream, just what you need falls into your hands. A camera to capture this wonderful oddity materialized. Snap! "Don't fuck it up Jason." How could I fuck up? "Well I better focus anyhow." Steady hands... steady... glowing coyote... steady hands.

Where Is My Home?

When I return, where is my home?
Will it be found beneath tent of trees
or will that house be gone and I alone?
Can one come home once he leaves?
Perhaps the ghosts of past nights, past friends
will have long since come to their inevitable ends.

Surely the fog rolls with thunder-less roar,
breathable calm and humid relaxation in hand.
Will I find my friends on the expanse of shore,
or will they be buried in a timeless sand.
I fear to return from a world so distant
into old place of youth, now so different.

No-fly Zone

It is four in the morning and Kuta Beach is still a zoo. Drunks with drugs and ciggies play a demented, primal game of survival, the inebriated version. Young males are fighting to claim title of "alpha male", flaunting ink and muscles, trying to show association and might. Men and women, boys and girls, in any combination of the four, play games of cat and mouse looking to recreate rather than procreate. I can handle this madness. I can choose to ignore what I see and I am better off for it. I have the choice to be or not be here.

The other thing I saw this night broke my heart, picking it up, dumping out any remaining local brew, and kicking it to the curb. Kids on the street, trying to sell bracelets and the like at four in the morning. These were not kids that chose to be here. Some of their mothers stood nearby, holding their youngest, most raggedy child. "Hungry," they tell me. I think the children are more tired than hungry, I try to tell them to go home. I try to explain that I would be more than willing to help if their child was not out so late. I offer to by food, but this mother insists on money or cigarettes. Other mothers were not present, but surely they had similar intentions. This is no way to live, no way to grow. Some of the solo children were no older than five, with tired eyes, in among the carnage and profanity of night life. The other children who were with mothers even quite younger. I cannot handle this. This I cannot ignore. This will not fly.

My dreams were muddled, but redundant. They told me to fast from talking. I did not talk yesterday. I need to figure out how to help children like this. I hope the silence of my mouth will help my mind figure something out. I will fast some days until I can think of some sufficient way to help. Silence will mold my mind while fasting, I can talk with people for possible solutions or steps toward a solution the other days. I feel helpless to help the helpless most of the time, but it is all I want to do.

Let's Make a Word

Remilist |ˌreməˈlist| v. - to reminisce about a time, place, person, or thing by making a list.

Blogual Responsibilities Ignored or I Paid My First Bribe Today

Well, I only have a few more days here in Bali, so I have decided to post some blog entries that should have been up long before, as well as write some new ones. Sincerest apologies for ignoring my blogual responsibilities.

Indonesian ginger coffee, fought off any lingering congestion from my cold as well as any jet lag that remained.

Right now it seems low tide is simulcast with the amount of sunlight. So at noon, we have twice as much beach and no good surf, at least within Seminyak and Kuta. High to mid-tide is best, which means surf, siesta, then surf again. All this with a plenty of 2$ meals of nasi in between.

This morning we surfed this head-high right a few breaks down from our friend, Dedik’s surf school. Jeremy and I snagged a few waves amongst the local kids and aggro aussies. These were the first real waves I have felt confident riding. Until now, I was mostly greeted with low-tide closeouts.

We had a fifty cent post surf meal from a bicycle vendor then hung with the boys (and two girls) from the surf school. Jeremy offered a ride back to Uma Drupadi (our apartment) on his motorbike. We made it within 100 yards of our place and were stopped at a police checkpoint. “Oh shit,” I heard Jeremy utter. They pulled us aside. I was not wearing the helmet that I did not own (a requirement for any westerner.) They took a look at Jeremy’s illegitimate motorbike license.

“Very good,” the officer approved. “What you do Jeremy?”, he enquired as he escorted Jeremy to the side of the road.

“Where are you from?” one of the other officers asked me. “Ah, Chicago. What you do?... Ah, student. Very young.”
“Very young,” the main officer replied, returning from the side of the road.
“Chicago Bulls! Good basket!” the other officer said, faking a signature fade-away shot.

Jeremy talked with another officer while this went on. They wanted a bribe, but would not come out and say it. So they made small talk until we got the point.

“Hey, how much do you have on you?” asked Jeremy.

As soon as we slipped them some money, equivalent to a few US dollars, they let us ride off with an illegitimate license and no helmet. It is just how the system, or lack there of, here works.

I slept quite a bit today. Jeremy and our friends here have started to realize how I sleep. Hard.

My siesta turned into a six hour dream marathon. I just woke up at 10 to an empty stomach. The 24/7 cafe two doors down, Warung Drupadi, tempts me with fried rice and a bottle of Bintang.