I think there are few things that are worse than feeling sick. Feeling sick for days on end while travelling is one of them. It is not that it does not matter having friends around, people offering their drugs, natural remedies, offering to buy food, or pain killers so that you don’t have to move. Although these friends make you feel exponentially better there is this vulnerability that when you are sick and away from home becomes almost unbearable.
When you are sick home you can afford to be grumpy, not nice, close yourself in your safe room and sleep away. People will come and check on you even if you tell them not to. When you are travelling you cant inflict this on people, who as nice ad they are, are after all people who you just met a few months ago.
In the beggining feeling sick every single day with a fever that never leaves that makes you just accept the lethargy. But when the fever is accompanied by your head punching you, your eyes making you feel you are in a rocky boat about to throat up, always just about to, because the relief of putting outside that which causes discomfort does not come. Also when your throat stops allowing you to speak and eat you don’t mind too much, but when it screams ” listen i will tear apart all of your self respect, your ability to sleep and even breathe” then you cannot even just resign yourself to the fate. You want to vomit yourself out but you are too tired to. Then when you loose it. When you loose all the shred of hope and patience that you can just wait and things will be fine then you go search help.
It happened to me in the middle of last night. I just had it. I wanted to be magically transported to my home in Brasil. To have my mom annoy me with teas, and propolis and doctors, and notice that I have not eaten in days. I wanted my dad to bring me coconut water, and tell me not to hear depressive music, and insist that I must eat. I wanted my brother to tell me which antibiotic I should be taking and go into the details of all drugs he love so much. Then I would be a typical teenager. I would roll my eyes, storm out and just ignore them. I wanted my grandmother to ground me once again for washing my hair at night. I would disagree with them all but I would feel safe. i wanted Haiko to tell me the lights that were making me want to vomit were just migraine. But in the middle of the night here even the thought of catching a plane made me realise those were dreams. The truth is that I was too sick to even call. To even speak.
But when this point comes, that not only you are not better, but every second of being well is followed by feeling much worse minutes later then you discover painfully that you have to ( at some point ) to become your own mother, and father, and brother, and grandma, and husband. You have to swallow the pride, the pain, the lack of desire to move and you have to search help.
There are a million things that make you not want to do it. A foreign country. A foreign culture. A foreign language. the fear that it might make you more sick, be wrong, or you might just not be understood. But it comes a point that you don’t care anymore about any of this. At this point you search whatever help there is. That is how I finally accepted my fate and decided finally to go to Hospital. I went once again, 2 years later, to the public hospital of Non Khai.
I walk to the reception.
” do you speak thai?”
i sign that I dont
” I speak a little english. Basics”
I put my hands in prayer in the “way” gesture and thank her. She is so gentle. I am so thankful. I wonder what is the likelihood of someone speaking english in a brazilian public hospital outside the big centres.
The place is clean. It is calm. Organised. She gives me a number. it is number 20.
There are not that many people that early. Another lady comes to tell me to wait a little. I try to communicate for her not to worry I was just one more patient.
But within minutes I am taken in. A young Thai doctor asks me about my symptoms. He looks at my throat and concludes it is bacterial. i need antibiotics. He asks me a few questions. When he notices I am from Brasil he smiles and tells me he loves the brazilian football team. Kaka, Ronaldinho. I once again want to kiss these football players who make me be so well treated everywhere.
I leave the hospital with a bag full of medicine, and a lovely treatment for almost no money at all. I wonder if it is the placebo effect of feeling you are now being treated that makes me feel immediately better. Not good. But better.
There is barely anything at all that feels as bad as being sick in the other side of the world. But there is also almost anything as good as to realise that when that moment comes you do stand up. You walk as much as needed to search for help. And when you do you can both appreciate more the people who have always taken care of you, but also yourself the one person who will always be there to lift you up.