Over the years my husband has pestered me to get a passport so that I could travel with him and enjoy the many delights of different spaces, places, cultures and food. I have never really been interested in travel but I got myself organised and got myself a passport. A few weeks later.. or so a previous story goes… my husband booked a holiday to Thailand online and I bought myself a new suitcase.
The holiday turned out to be great apart from a bout of food poisoning which put me off the local cuisine and took me to as many Subways that I could find in Patong as at least I was only getting salad on a bun. Having food poisoning with my illness is no laughing matter and I was out of Solu-Cortef injections so I wasn’t taking any chances. Subways once again came through and I remained healthy for the rest of the holiday.
A year later my husband was being sent to Singapore for a company training course and asked me to come along. We could pay for the flight with frequent flyers and the accommodation was company-paid and therefore mostly ‘free’ (I like that word a little too much). As I had taken up photography the year before and didn’t take any cameras to Thailand I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some experience with wildlife and cityscape shots so I was keen. After all, I was okay the last time I went overseas and as long as I stuck to bland food (Subways or hotel restaurant) I would be okay.
One day after we landed and my husband had gone to do his course, one of the wives (a friend of mine) who had come along asked if I would be up for some Singapore public transport to check out some of the tourist attractions. I didn’t need to be asked twice – I packed up my camera gear and joined the fray of Singapore civilians going about their everyday activities on the rail system and bus routes.
We ended up at a fantastic bird park and I got some really awesome shots of a multitude of birds doing a multitude of bird things. I was having a great time although a little tired from the overpowering Singapore humidity and the smoke haze that hung in the air from the palm oil fires across the country at the time.
On the way home I started to feel slightly nauseated and went to bed early with a headache and an extra dose of cortisol to make up for the strenuous day. The next day I was feeling drained but I managed to get out and about and do a little shopping and sightseeing with my husband that night where I got some great photographs of the Singapore skyline from the top of a viewing platform. It was after that the rot set in.
I barely made it back to the hotel room before I was throwing up. This went on all night until I had nothing left and kept going. I decided to get a doctor in to give me a needle to stop the vomiting and when my husband returned he gave me my Solu-Cortef injections to make up for the lost cortisol in my system. Unlike Thailand, however, I did not improve and ended up in the Singapore Hospital for five days with some unknown virus, a multitude of IV medications and even more oral medications. I lost count of the blood tests and my sodium was dangerously low. The hospital refused to let me out until my sodium normalised and my endocrinologist in Australia was contacted for instructions on the correct dosing for panhypopituitarism.
As for me, most of my time in the hospital was a blur of sickness and fear. Fear of being in a strange hospital in a strange country dangerously ill with an uncommon underlying illness that few of the doctors there knew anything about and a fear of not making it home.
I made it home mainly thanks to my hero husband running the gauntlet of hospital doctors, hospital administration, insurance company paperwork and rebooking flights home when I was well enough.
Six months later I am still suffering the after effects. I came home mentally manic from all the different drugs that I was given and had to see a psychiatrist for medication to slow my brain down. I am still feeling the after effects with some insomnia and bad dreams when I do sleep.
I am getting better, however, but have decided that my next holiday will be a long time coming – and won’t involve flying to a foreign country. I think Cairns would be nice.