Tag Archives: illness

Being A Stubborn Sick Person

Those who know me personally will know that I am stubborn as a mule. We’ve already established in previous posts that I hate asking for help (and am still yet to do my help challenge six months on). This week’s stubbornness and argumentative battle is between me and multiple viruses, bacteria and fungi. ¬†And believe me when I say I am seriously pissed.

The unexpected visitors arrived on Australia Day and sent me home from work to roll around in a pool of my own feverous sweat instead of drunkenly rolling around in the sweat of others with my friends at a club party. Despite how upset this made me, I was determined to not lose my income as well so I drugged myself to the eyeballs so I couldn’t feel my face and went to work only to have my colleagues force me to go home by lunch.

By Friday, and still in a state of extreme high from my marvelous concoction, I’d contracted a stomach virus on top of the cold and I was exhausted. I curled up in a ball on my yoga mat underneath my desk on the office floor and passed out for an hour and a half. Upon waking, I discover that kids have walked past the door, saw me on the floor and decided to raise the alarm. I am lucky that my boss found this funny and told them it was fine. Apparently “surviving” is an appropriate way to spend professional planning time. “Planning efficient use of the little energy one has in her expenditure”.

Anyway, I survived to the weekend. I had barely eaten in 4 days (apparently naming your stomach infection Billy Bob and celebrating the loss of 5 kg and getting skinny is not the appropriate thing to do in this case) and I figured that by the end of the weekend I could kick it. And let’s be honest, I was also bored as hell and couldn’t do any more movies. So I haul arsed out of bed and went down the road to buy 6 chicken Kievs and a couple of onions.

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Onion all be just chillin’ on the desk and shit.

According to the Internet onions in your sock help detox the body. And garlic in your ears acts as an anti inflammatory. And cut onions in your room absorb all the nasties. As a scientist I put all of this to the test and sat eating 3 of my Kievs upon return of appetite rolling around in onions with garlic in my ears watching Bridget Jones (I may or may not also have been high on cough syrup). And while all of this may have worked in my mind (or it could have been the drugs), it was one of the few entertaining days I had whilst I’ll on my own with nobody to entertain me.

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Hanging with some Bridget Jones with some garlic in my ears

Add to this whole thing that I have been having voiceless shouting matches with my moron landlord about the mould problem in my room and I was in fighting form. Imagine my response to ‘but the leak is from clean water so the mould should be clean mould’.

 

 

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Yep, that be some pretty clean looking mould right there.

Anyway come Sunday, I am worse again, and I have gotten fed up with this shit. I can’t afford the loss of income so I dragged arse to the walk in clinic. My friend Tim always says “by the time you make it to a doctor you are about 36 hours too late”. He ain’t wrong. Though in this case it’s about 4 days too late.

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Onion slices in the socks and ready to go!

 

So they will apparently see me in 2 hours after their massive waiting list wanes and sent me off to entertain myself for a while. So here I sit in Pret A Manger drinking hot chocolate, high again on cough syrup and drugs “finding Wally” (a man in a Wally hat as he goes up and down the street much to my humour) waiting to be reunited with my bestie after a 2 month hiatus of friendship ridiculousness. With a bit of luck that will be it for my 2 yearly visit to a doctor and I can go back to being a lucid, face-feeling human being instead of living life like that song by The Weekend. “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you…..”

TWO HOURS LATER…..

After passing the painful waiting room time with a bestie catch up, I managed to get in to see a doctor. She graciously gave me the most kick arse antibiotics she had in her cupboard. She also sent me off with what I like to refer to as “my ventolin bong” to open my airways. Between the pure sweet smell of oxygen and salbutamol, the tasty tastiness of cough syrup and antibiotics coursing through my veins, I am starting to feel somewhat normal.

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Me and my new ‘ventolin bong’ hanging about drinking tea with my bestie in the Costa Coffee.

Go home, roll around on the shower floor for a while because that is what you do when you are ill and high (or drunk), then step on scales…. wonder a) how high actually am I because scale gives ridiculously low number? b) after double checking said figure about four times wonder how I have managed to lose 12kg in 6 days…. and c) decided this was enough of a reason to eat 3 more chicken Kievs. Well done Billy Bob. You did good. High five! Shame about you immune system. You suck….

 

 

 

Traveling Adventures With Needles

Post my little hospital visit in Nepal, I developed a secondary infection. One that would see my time in India being very uncomfortable for the first couple of weeks. I thought that the medication that I was on for it would do the trick. Unfortunately for me the infection didn’t go and what was left made me sicker and sicker and eventually I left Pushkar in a taxi bound for a doctor in Jaipur.

When I arrived I had high fever again and they made me go through different tests to identify the type of bacteria causing my infection and what antibiotics it was resistant to. While I waited for these tests to come back for two days they put me on a series of medications to manage my symptoms and I spent two days in bed watching Bollywood sitcoms and drama shows in Hindi that I didn’t understand.

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Hospital gowns… my most prominent Asian attire.

The day I went back to the doctor I sat in wait for the results. As he hands me the sheet of paper with the results, I nearly cried. Of the fifteen different antibiotics that they had run this bacteria against, only three of them worked. My infection was resistant to twelve different classes of antibiotics. As someone who has studied science, microbiology and chemistry, I understood the severity of this.

Of the three different types of antibiotics that they gave me, the one that showed the most efficacy was amikacin…. an injection to be taken every 12 hours for five days. The doctor says to me “so how long are you going to be around for? You will need to be injected by a nurse”. Me being me and stubborn as hell, I said to him “I leave tomorrow. I will give them to myself. Teach me.”

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The giant pile of drugs and injections they sent me home with.

Both the doctor and the nurse stood there dumbfounded because they weren’t sure whether I could do it or not. They demonstrated where I had to inject myself into the buttocks and I dug the needle in and pressed down on the plunger. Too easy. “OK, they said, you seem to know what you are doing, here is your bunch of needles and all of the other pills you will need to take for the next week or so. Good luck!”

I left the doctors office, got into a cab and went back to the hotel where I was met by my tour leader in the lobby. I started to cry for all of the thirty seconds that I allowed myself before telling myself I need to pull my shit together and get about it. There is nothing else I can do about it other than just suck it up and deal with it.

That night I didn’t sleep well. Nor did I sleep well any other night for the whole five nights that this went on. I dreamt of needles. I had anxiety about not doing it properly and my ever growing bruises on my arse. The first time I gave myself an injection unsupervised by medical practitioners I was freaking out. But I did it. I got up and I got on the bus and I went to Bharatpur.

On the third day of having needles I still wasn’ feeling too bad. My symptoms had started to disappear and I was feeling better. It was my day to go to the Taj Mahal. So slowly but surely, I went. I got dressed up in a sari, I did my hair and make up and I went to the Taj Mahal. It was a great experience and I am so happy and lucky that I got to go. Everybody keeps telling me I look so happy and healthy in the pictures. Pictures for the most part lie. I felt happy, but also very weak and very sore. My time at the Taj was cut short by my needle schedule and I had to depart to go back to the hotel to take my fifth needle.

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Looking apparently healthy at the Taj Mahal.

The following day after needle six, I was suffering big time. I could barely walk without pain. I had giant bruising on either side of my butt and it became almost impossible to manage. From here we had to leave however and go to Varanasi on the train. This was one of the worst times that I had with needles.

Because of my soreness, they put me in a side berth on the bottom bunk overnight. Many of the Indian locals however found it quite OK to use my hips as bag holders at 2 am when they were getting off the train or to lean over me and put their hands on my hips or knock me as the night went on. The amount of times I cried out in pain and started yelling at people I couldn’t count. And of course they had no idea what was going on and I couldn’t explain as I didn’t speak Hindi.

The morning bought with it a new challenge. Trying to give myself a needle on the train. As the train slowed to a stop, my friend climbed down off the top berth and helped me alcohol wipe down my skin and hands and take the medication into the barrel of the syringe. Whilst she grabbed a chunk of my flesh, I plunged the needle in and started to inject as the train started moving and we had to finish the injection while taking off. We were half concealed by a makeshift curtain sheet that I tied up that didn’t really cover very much and the men on the train sat staring as my butt hung half way out of my pants, but when it is your life and your health on the line, you kind of stop caring. We survived the train needle, needle number eight and we were on our way to the finish line.

My next needle was on the floor of a silk shop in Varanasi. We were visiting there to learn about how to identify real silk from fake ones. Three girls held up a cashmere blanket curtain and I injected myself again with help in style from behind the blanket. The whole thing had become oddly funny. Instead of scheduling my activities around my needles, my needles had just become a part of my activities.

My last needle was the following morning. Never before had I been so happy to not have to deal with anything anymore in my life. I was happy that I could finally rest without having to inject on to bruise after bruise after bruise.

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My left buttocks by day 3.

Upon arrival back in Delhi three days later I went to the hospital to get a check up. After x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work, urine samples and the entire works, I left the hospital and went to the hotel to await the results. Two days later they arrived. For the first time in over a month and I half I was infection free. My body had been put through absolute hell and I was tired. I didn’t care too much about being in India even. I wanted somewhere to sleep and rest. I wanted to eat a giant steak to get some protein back into my body to heal my bruised and weary muscles. I wanted so much to not be on the road. But despite all of this, I was incredibly thankful for the amazing doctors in India for figuring it out and dealing with it so thoroughly. And I was incredibly happy to be alive. There is nothing like a near death experience in Nepal followed by severe antibiotic resistant secondary infections to scare the shit out of you. From here on in, I look after myself every day the best I can and am thankful for my health being so good ordinarily.