All My Illnesses Part 1 – What Went Before

I’ve been sick almost every month since I left Jamaica in January.  Ugh.  Such a drag.

I got to Indonesia at the very end of January with feet that carried the effects of my Kilimanjaro climb.  My mountain toe situation has stayed with me for my entire time here.  They hurt, then they looked awful, then they looked terrible, then they hurt a lot, then I got help for them.  And then both my big toenails fell out within a couple of days of each other and I’ve basically had nail stubs for the past few months while my nails have slowly grown in.  Now, they’re almost back to normal, although my left big toe is prone to being a little sensitive sometimes.

So in February, I basically focussed a lot on my mountain toes.

In March, I dealt with a 24-hour bug one Sunday.  I woke up feeling perfectly fine but within a couple of hours, I had a fever and body ache.  I spent the day in bed, sweating and aching, but by Monday morning I was fine, though I had a cough that would persist for several days.  A few days later, I fell off the bike during my one and only bike-riding lesson.  Scraped off some of the skin on my left arm and leg.  I got back up and continued the lesson.  Two hours later, I cleaned my wounds but it was too late; the germs had gotten into my system and I had a terrible fever that afternoon and night.

In April, I moved to Jakarta and my dust allergies kicked in, I think, seeing as how this house literally had dirt hanging from the ceilings when I got here.  Within a few days, I had a fever, cold and cough that I was only finally able to kick when A and I went to blessedly clean Bali.  The break from the dirt was a godsend.

But in May, my dust allergies persisted, with the cold and coughing.  It was miserable but I managed.

In June came cleaning day and relief from the constant state of nasty.  I was thankfully fine for the entire month.

In July, I exited Indonesia for my vacation and kicked it off with a brief stop in Singapore, where I picked up a sore throat somehow.  I still have no idea where that came from.  My throat didn’t hurt, I was just hoarse for about 2 days.  I didn’t even have a runny nose.

I had high hopes for August, but then I ate the bad pork in Samosir and was sick for about 36 hours.  I was lethargic and had a general feeling of illness without being able to pinpoint what was wrong.  I wasn’t even really nauseous, although I did throw up once.

In September, I was blessedly fine all month.  God bless June and September!

In October, I made bad decisions while I was in Bandung and came down with the flu.  That one took me out for about 2 days, but it was here and gone pretty fast because of the Pharma that my anam cara had sent me.

November came and I thought I was home-free with the illnesses.  Last week I came down with the worst of all the ailments I’ve had this year.  I suspect that I got it from one of my students.  It started as a tickle in my throat last Tuesday evening that I ignored.  By mid-morning on Wednesday, I was done.  At 11 am, I had to head to bed, where I spent the rest of the day and night, my body aching awfully and fighting through a fever.  Even my butt hurt.  I remember dreaming that I was sitting on all the hard surfaces that make up my day – hard metal bench, the floor, hard plastic chairs – and just feeling my butt ache along with the rest of my body.  And believe me when I say that spending sick time on a back-breaking mattress is not fun.  I got up on Thursday morning, taught my morning classes as best as I could and went back to bed, still slightly feverish and aching but better than the day before.  I taught my Thursday evening classes and packed it in as soon as I was done.

On Friday morning I awoke with an awful sore throat.  Not my sexy-voiced hoarseness of Singapore, but an aching, painful-to-swallow sore throat, the real deal.  I knocked back honey and lime all day, and I drank copious amounts of hot tea.  I even gargled with warm water and salt.  All of that barely helped at all.  That evening as I was getting ready to go spend my last weekend at The Jamaican’s house, my newest colleague offered me some pills that are supposed to help a sore throat.  I Googled them and felt comfortable that they wouldn’t kill me, so I gratefully accepted them.  I took them on Friday night and on Saturday but my throat continued to hurt. All day Saturday, I still had a low-grade fever and I felt low-energy.  On the plus side, I was in a comfortable environment so at least I spent Saturday in a nice bed watching movies, even as miserable as I felt.

I went to bed early on Saturday night with my right eye feeling a little drainy, only to awake near midnight with it coated in mucous.  What the heck was happening?!?  By the time I got up on Sunday morning, and after some Google research, I came to the conclusion that I had somehow managed to pick up viral conjunctivitis.  My right eye was red and slightly swollen and my left eye was also red.  Both eyes were mucousy…eeewww!  How I picked that up, I do not know.  Still, on the plus side, my throat pain was down to a dull discomfort instead of the raw ache that I had been dealing with for the previous 2 days.

During the wee hours of the night on Sunday, I seriously considered going to the emergency room when the sun came up.  But since I awoke with my throat feeling better and was pretty sure my pink eye was viral and not bacterial, I decided instead to go to the pharmacy around the corner and get some lozenges to get me through the remainder of the sore throat, and some eye drops to deal with my pink eye.

I can’t believe I actually just said that.  Pink eye.  Sigh


My eye drops (worked like magic) and lozenges…cost me a total of less than US$4

Anyway, aside from the pink eye, all of my flu illnesses this year have been ridiculous for one reason and one reason only.  Before leaving Jamaica, my doctor gave me a vaccine that was supposed to prevent or reduce my susceptibility to respiratory illnesses for about 2 years.  To say that was a waste of my money would be an understatement.  He’s at the top of my list of people to see as soon as I hit Jamaica; he has some explaining to do.

Anyway, oonu pray fi me, please!  I have one and a half weeks to go before I leave here and I really don’t want to get sick again before I get back to Jamaica, where my mom and dad can love on me while I get my body back in fighting shape!


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