Southeast Asia Map

Southeast Asia Map

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

[INSERT: A Real-time Post]

There are a few blog posts I need to make to close the time gap between the previous post and this one, a whole country's worth! But a real-time post will paint a real-time picture. Here is our reality right now: I am sick, I have been for a few days, and we are both having to deal with it. I'm tired but am having trouble sleeping due to a persistent cough. The effort to speak is exhausting and today I finally lost my voice. I quite literally haven't been able to smile without also feeling pain since Friday last week, so my usual optimism and sunny nature feels depressed.

Our series of unfortunate events, actually mine, began exactly two weeks ago with a teeny tiny motorbike accident. This happened on the very last day of our road trip around Bali, at the very last possible moment, just as Dennis was parking our rented scooter in a narrow alley on our return to Ubud. He pulled in too close to an adjacent bike and the top of my left foot was gouged by a deep scratch about 3-inches long. In retrospect, given the crazy driving techniques and safety violations of the Balinese, how we managed without injury up to this point is pretty amazing.

Later that same day, my foot iced and elevated, I discovered that my iPad had run out of memory to download any new photos. The search for a reasonable solution over the last two weeks has been frustrating to say the least. In between our travel commitments, unreliable and/or slow wi-fi (mostly non-existent) and emails to my tech savvy brother, I've come to the conclusion that there really isn't one. Unless of course, you're connected to a reliable and speedy wi-fi source! Distracted by this problem and figuring a work-around has meant my blog posts have slowed down, though more recently I just haven't had the energy to work on any.

Last week, Friday dawned bright and beautiful at the 'Hundred Islands National Park' in the Philippines; a great day for island hopping. However, hurrying to the bangka (boat) I tripped over a rope and fell face first; crashing hard onto the unforgiving cement! For a few seconds, I lay there in shock as the damage slowly registered. Within a couple more seconds Dennis, and at least three other pairs of hands, had rushed to my side to help me up. I admit to making some weird sounds. Glasses askew (amazingly not even scratched!) and blood pouring down my face, I was utterly frightened that I was going to lose some teeth. Within minutes, our Filipino host and friend - Ronnie, was rushing me in his van to a local dentist.

After careful examination and discussion, the dentist advised immediately pushing my front tooth back into place. The force of the fall had pushed one of them backwards into my mouth. I was able to tolerate the pain and walked away with a few painkillers and a week's supply of antibiotics. I was shaken by the experience but determined it wouldn't sabotage the effort our group had made to come and see this beautiful area. With my well-being at the forefront of everyone's mind, we still managed to enjoy the rest of the day as planned.

I surprised everyone, including myself, by sleeping most of Saturday and Sunday. During my waking moments I hobbled around the house (both knees were also badly hurt), my whole body feeling bruised, and of course, finding it difficult to eat anything. The damage to my front tooth aside, my swollen upper lip and badly grazed skin meant I couldn't smile or open wide. The antibiotics were also upsetting my tummy and on the whole I felt I'd been beaten up. I think the impact of the fall was far greater than any of us had realized.

Though I briefly felt better on Monday, I believe the travel day on Tuesday set me back again. Also, after a dentist appointment in Bangkok today (which we'd set up from the States more than a month ago) my fear that all is not well with my front tooth was confirmed. At some point over the weekend I'd noticed an abscess forming but had crossed my fingers and hoped it would go away. No such luck! The infection means I need a root canal as soon as possible. Fortunately there is an opening this Friday; the day my antibiotic course ends and the day before we fly to Cambodia! Hopefully I will feel much better by then.

There's a perfect word in Afrikaans to describe exactly how I'm feeling right now: gatvol! I don't know that there's an English equivalent that so perfectly encapsulates the upper limit to my tolerance level. Please, some sympathy hugs would be lovely ... it's time to heal. :-)


  1. Very sorry to hear about your troubles, and hope you recover soon and fully.

    Dan and Sandy - toomanycats

  2. Oh, Karen. Here comes a virtual hug () ... I wish I could be with you right now to help you through the next few days. I will be thinking of you and I know Dennis will take excellent care of you :) How is your foot doing? You will need to take good care of that so it doesn't become infected in the humidity! Peter is right, it does remind me of my accident in Greece. It kind of puts a downer on your enjoyment level when you are coping with pain at the same time. I hope your tooth, foot, cold and general bruising feel better soon!

    Here is a saying for the Chinese New Year: Shēntǐ jiànkāng (enjoy good health)!
    Lots of love, Helen