13 August 2014

Trip to Singpore Hospital - "That's the end of that."

The four words you don't want to hear when you're in a hospital?
"It's not good news"? Nope.
"Say your last goodbyes"? Nope.

Please. Don't. Eat. Anything.

I'd felt a 'something' at the back of my throat since my epic fish (see below) from Top Spot in Penang. I'd ignored it for almost 5 days, but on the advice of 4 people I decided I really should get it checked out.
First was a trip to the clinic down the road. First I checked that they were in fact doctors - they looked more like an exclusive salon with bazaar and vouge on display in reception, though the fact they were a year old should have been a tell tell sign. Then I met a lovely a doctor with great English and a clean office, I'll him Dr Lovely.

Dr Lovely had a prod with a giant ice lily stick but couldn't see anything. I was slightly embarrassed that I was causing this amount of fuss, but he wanted to x-ray me. And the lame thing is that all I was thinking was 'Ooo this is going to make a great souvenir, even if I have lost time, money and my dignity'.

One x-ray later, two x-rays later I was back in the consultation room with Dr. Lovely. The x-ray wasn't conclusive really as it was a bit opaque and so he had another prod. Now he got out a little square of medical fabric stuff, wrapped it round my tongue and pulled the poor thing out and down. And then has the cheek to enlisted ME to inflict such an action on my poor tongue. Nothing. He said what the GP friend from back home said - I needed to see a ENT specialist at the hospital, near Orchard Road (yes, the one with 22 shopping malls). My debit card scowled at the inevitable bill of seeing the ENT specialist, but I told it that if it co-operated then we could go shopping after.

I might add that this was the day of the silly Bandung flight/airport sleepover*. The night before, it became hazy as to whether I could actually obtain a visa on arrival at said uno-runway-aiport-shed place. The internet suggested yes, including the airport website, but Asia being 450 shades of grey, I wasn't convinced seeing as the Indonesian embassy didn't list the airport as having VOA facilities). Needless to say Monday 4th had morphed in to a dreaded day of shit-I-could-do-without.

I reached the hospital with minimal issue, which is miraculous given the 5+ hours I spent on public transport to the beach the day before. I was pointed to the 5th floor. Then pointed out of the WRONG office to the right office. The office of Dr Loy aka Dr Super Lovely. Dr Lovely had phoned him to explain what the situ was and he soon got down to business with metal lollipop sticks, then to the big guns - the laryngoscope. Little clamps held my nostrils open (yes the clamps were similar to the ones they use down there, though happily not as painful) as he sprayed up the medication to numb my nose, before he stuck the cable (with a camera on the end) down my nose.
He politely gave me top viewing seat right infront of the screen. The camera is tiny of course - Jack Bauer stylee. I saw my nostril hair and some bogeys (hey josh, tell me I'm beautiful NOW) before he made it to my throat. Breathe through your nose and swallow. It was strangeeeee. You know the feeling of swallowing spaghetti? Like that but the is al dente spaghetti and spritzed with disinfectant.

He found an ulcer and I felt relieved that I wasn't imagining things. The previous X-Rays weren't really good enough for Dr Super Lovely to say with certainty that the bone was not lodged in my oesophagus, so another would be needed ($$$ commence panic... 'I don't have enough on my travel card and the likelihood of my debit card being locked for international spending is high. Yelp') and UNTIL THEN I couldn't eat.  That's when the seriousness of the situation really set in. No food.

I waited for an hour or so to get my x-ray. It was very quick although this time Ruth (the x-ray technician) asked me to take all my piercings out. No can do - I've never taken the piercing out at the top of my ear! She saved me yet more trauma and I could keep it in. And so then I had another hour and a bit wait to get the actual x-ray, to take up to Dr. Super Lovely. I went back up and his receptionist greeted me like old family.
Luckily my pipes were all clear from bone and there wasn't one lodged IN the ulcer, but. BUT I still wasn't to make it back to Gili after all. Dr Super Lovely told me that Indonesia doesn't have great healthcare. The Gilis are (beautiful, magical, wonderful) tropical islands with an overpriced clinic attached to a hotel and little else by way of medical facilities... So no travel for a few days in case the ulcer got worse or there was complications.

That was it - dream over. By the time I had bought another pricey flight I would have only 2 full days in the Gilis before I was due to fly home and surprise everyone. I was tired, I was frustrated, things were going wrong and the deal-breaker? That I was no long so excited to wake up in the morning. I was going home.
To most this seems simply unthinkable to be so unmoved by travelling, but everyone reaches their saturation where it takes something mind-blowing to wow you. If I had more time to slow the pace and almost live in places - a week here, a few weeks at the next place, a month volunteering - I would do it, but with home in reaching distance, existing in a city for a few more days spending money I hadn't budgeted just wasn't ideal.

...And I was EXCITED about going home. Lots of people go travelling because they aren't content with their lives and their looking for something bigger and better. Yes, I wanted to see the bigger picture but I wasn't looking for better - just different. I was happy to go back and see the friends I love, the family I love, the life I love.
Last selfie of my trip!! Excuse the travelling face!
This isn't the end of blogging #backpackerbean's journey through Asia. I really hope you're still interested in the gazillion stories I have to come! I'm going to try post as much as possible as I want to tell the whole story before Christmas (yes I know there is a LOT to come, but I'm trying to tell you all the juicy/useful bits).

The easiest way to keep posted is through Bloglovin. Bloglovin will send you daily emails, weekly emails, or just stay as unread on your homepage. As always, I will share posts on Facebook (private - sorry!), Twitter (@beaniewatson) and Google+. 





*Rather than booking a flight from Singapore to Bali, I managed to book one to Bandung instead. Nearing the end of my trip I couldn't afford to waste a flight so I managed to book a connecting flight leaving at 5.40am and figured I would just sleep at the airport.

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