Thursday, September 29, 2011

Third World Country Sick

You haven't been sick until you have been "third world country" sick.
Our weekend trip was nearly ruined by an unwelcome stomach bug. Shortly before we left the last temple on Monday I started to feel miserable. By the time we got home, I was completely miserable. Little did I know that was just the beginning. I don't get fevers. In fact, I can't remember if I have ever had a fever over 99 deg F. I just don't get them! But by dinner time (or as my Aussie counterpart Kara calls it, "tea") I was on fire. Every part of my body was burning- except for my feet, which were inexplicably cold. And any time cool air from the air con or a fan blew on me, my teeth would start chattering, and I was covered in goosebumps.
Starting to get the picture? That was just the beginning. Montezuma's revenge kicked in shortly thereafter. (Montezuma seems like the wrong ancient icon here. And it seems inappropriate to call it Buddha Belly, and yet I'm so swollen, that almost seems right.)
I was miserable.
But of course, I'm in a hotel room in a flooded out town. We had attempted to go to an ATM on our way home just to find the ATM was out of money. And no one takes credit cards around here. With absolutely no money, no drugs, or anything to really help me, I ate a very small cup of soup, and went to my bed. On the one hand, at least I was in my bed for a few hours. But the rest of the night was spent sleeping on the hotel bathroom floor. You haven't been sick until you've been so sick that you've had to sleep on the floor on a developing country bathroom floor.
I'll just leave you with that image and move on.
Because I was sick I had to stay behind in the hotel while my friends went out sightseeing the next day. The girls had to force me to leave the room to ride the elephants - and I am very glad they did. The highlight of the elephants may actually have been when Kara said, "Just think of the story you will have to tell if you throw up on the elephant." (Yeah, she's at home sick today where I bet she doesn't think she's so funny anymore!) Thankfully, it held off till I got off the elephant. But that poor jungle will never be the same. (We then left and I went home so I could return to my sickbed.)
Being sick in a developing country, or away from the comforts of home anywhere, is just miserable. Add in a language barrier, unfamiliar products, etc, etc., and it is just plain awful. You really have to dig deep into yourself to have the strength to get through it. You never what kind of person you are going to be until you have been truly tested. It isn't the kind of test you ever want to endure.
I was very blessed to have wifi in my hotel room and a few friends who weren't afraid to stay up late a few hours just to talk to me online and check in on me periodically. They will never know how much that meant to me to not be "alone" while I was sick. (Thanks Amigos!)
Having arrived back home in Phnom Penh, I have finally found a drug store and got some medications. Unfortunately, I seemed to have only traded one ailment for another. But this second ailment is more manageable.

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