Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sam takes to bed in Ubud

Our next stop was to spend the remaining five days in Ubud, the artistic and cultural centre of Bali. However, just before we left, upon exiting my morning shower, all of a sudden I felt very weak, tired and as if someone had belted every muscle in my body with a baseball bat. As I had had a very painful full body massage the day before, I just assumed it was the after effects of the masseur’s very hard pummelling of my sensitive flesh. As I sat in the car on the journey down to Ubud, I grew more and more weary and just wanted to lie down. Upon arriving at our accommodation, I immediately lay down and basically didn’t move other than to go to the toilet for the next three days. During this time I also developed an incredible itch as a result of a rash all over my back which I assumed might have been caused by the falling sawdust from the ceiling due to the termite problem the room had. Every time I brushed off the sawdust from the bed, it would slowly start to come back again. The itching drove me absolutely nuts and some brief respite came in the form of the Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera creams we had brought with us from Australia. Daniel massaged them into my back and lying under the fan with them on my skin was wonderfully cooling.

My body really ached for two solid days and at the same time, I completely lost my appetite and couldn’t eat a thing as the thought of doing so made me feel sick. Two days later, I got my period, which was way too early as it came on day 25 when normally it comes between day 28 and 30. This rarely happens to me as my cycle is like clockwork unless I’m particularly stressed or out of sorts. I couldn’t quite see what had brought it on so soon but had to remain in bed for at least the next two days as I normally do on a monthly basis. By the fourth day I was going out of my mind and was suffering from cabin fever. I wanted to go for a walk so we went in search of a restaurant that according to our out of date Lonely Planet guide to Bali served amazing colourful salads which I thought I might just be able to eat. We walked and walked and walked and ended up on the outskirts of Ubud but no restaurant was to be found as it appeared it had closed down. I was absolutely buggered as we had walked for nearly two hours and I couldn’t go another step. We caught a taxi back to town and ate at the famous Bali Buddha vegetarian restaurant. However, I simply couldn’t eat a thing as the thought made me sick so I just drank some juices and had one or two bites of a very small ginger biscuit which I couldn’t finish. I just wanted to go and lie down again.

The following day was Monday and we were due to leave Bali on Wednesday morning. I asked Daniel to look up a medical clinic in Bali and make an appointment for me the following day. This he duly did. We both also got on the Internet and looked up the symptoms for Dengue Fever which was what I believed I had. I had many of the symptoms: muscle ache, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and skin rash.

While suffering in bed I read the British spy novelist John Le Carré’s The Constant Gardner, an absolutely riveting and very disturbing novel about the extent to which some pharmaceutical companies will go to in the pursuit of profit. At 560 pages it kept me busy and helped to keep my mind off my predicament. It was also quite apt that I was reading about Third World illnesses and drugs given I thought I had Dengue Fever and that there is no cure for it (simply not enough money to be made in finding a cure for a Third World illness). I highly commend this book to you and perhaps the film which has recently been released in the West although I have yet to see it (the local DVD store has a version but upon testing it in the store, discovered that it was filmed from the back of the cinema and therefore the quality was crap and I chose not to buy it).

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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