Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Another update.

Turns out my nasty little bug is acute follicular tonsillitis, a rather aggressive form of tonsillitis.
The good news is that my treatment is going well and I'm feeling 1000% better than I was yesterday morning.

We will be continuing the IV antibiotics for another couple of days, but all my other meds are oral now. My new IV cannula is in place, no thanks to the doctor who butchered the vein in my wrist before deciding to try again on a vein in the back of my hand, and it appears to be working just fine. Hopefully it will come out on Thursday.

As for my birthday tomorrow, I will be having a nice little Thai picnic on my front lawn with my mum and a few friends and if I'm lucky I might even get some birthday cake!! Yay!!! I think it will be an occasion to bust out the island dress!!!

Addendum - 11pm: Spoke with my beautiful boy in Vanuatu this evening. I feel even better after hearing his voice and knowing that he misses me just as much as I miss him. He's very upset that I'm sick and he can't be here with me but he's very glad that I can still have a conversation with him in fluent Bislama. He was worried that I'd forget the language that I've tried so hard to learn. It feels like it's been weeks and months since we last saw each other, not just one week. I can't wait to go back. I feel so loved up. :o)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Update r.e. my 2am whinge

Following the crap night that I had, Dad and I decided this morning that the best course of action would be to go to the hospital for treatment. So I have spent my day hospitalised and receiving intravenous therapy to reduce the swelling in my neck and face plus some super beefy painkillers to make me feel a bit more human.

We don't quite have a firm diagnosis yet. The leading favourite was glandular fever (mono for all my American friends) until I told them that I've had glandular before and the monospot test came back negative. The leading favourite now seems to be either a rampant form of tonsilitis or some unspecified viral infection and a bit of cellulitis (inflammation of tissues - which explains why my face was so sore).

In order to treat this I have been admitted into a relatively new program that is offered by the hospital. Because I am mobile and seem well otherwise I am a perfect candidate for the Hospital in the Home program, a program that allows me to recieve my treatment as necessary from doctors and nurses in the comfort of my own home. Until I am better (which will hopefully be 2 or 3 days) I will be visited twice a day by a nurse and a doctor who will administer my IV therapy, and anything else I need, in my lounge room. Awesome program!!!

On the down side...
It's my birthday on Wednesday and I've had to postpone my party that I had planned for Friday night. Looks like I'll be spending my birthday sitting quietly at home with a needle in my arm.

But at least I won't be sick anymore (I hope, fingers crossed!)!!!

Seeking your sympathy again...


Tuns out my little throat and ear infection is a bit more complicated than we thought. After 3 days on a broad spectrum antibiotic my condition only got worse. So this morning Doctor Dad went and gotme some new, more specific antibiotics. All very well and good except that after 24 hours they too have had not had any effect. The pain in my face is so bad that it hurts to put my face down on the pillow. I can't swallow or talk (Oh my god," the masses cry. "She can't talk!") without getting big pain in my throat and ear, and the right side of my face is sore as all get out. I can't sleep from the pain and haven't slept properly for the last four nights. Pain killers don't do shit, which is why I'm blogging at 2:45am.

It now appears that I may have a form of tonsilitis rather than the simple throat and ear infection that the doctor so sweetly diagnosed on Friday. Oops.

Hopefully, using Doctor Dad's connections, I'll be able to get in to see an ENT tomorrow. I still have my tonsils... maybe it's time to get rid of them.

And to make matters worse I miss my boyfriend. The person who has supported me everytime things got rough over the last 3 months, is in Vanuatu sleeping soundly (I hope) as I share my pain with people in computer land.

It's very lonely when you're sick and sore at 2am and the person that you love is out of reach. :o(

Thank you for reading my whinge. You will be returned to your usual scheduled programming tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Chapter 2...

Before I begin todays serial episode I would like all of your sympathy please. I have been back in the country for 5 days and have just been diagnosed with an ear infection and a throat infection, both on the right side of my head. I can't swallow and it hurts like hell!!! :o(
Sori lo mi.

Now for todays episode:

After leaving our friends on Ambrym our trip to Pentecost took something of a detour. Pull out your maps kids because this detour got quite complicated!
From southwest Ambrym we went across to the east coast of Malekula where we picked up some Rom dancers (a form of traditional dance), who were going to North Ambrym to dance at a festival. From Malekula we went back to West Ambrym to drop off more people, and from there to North Ambrym to drop off the Rom dancers. After that drop off we were finally on our way to our drop off point on Pentecost.

The map doesn't really give one an idea of how large the islands are or of the distance between them. I was led to believe that our trip from Port Vila to Pentecost would be quite quick, maybe 8 - 10 hours. It turns out that our detour added another 6 hours onto what should have been a 16 hour journey. We arrived at Melsisi, on the west coast of Pentecost, at 8pm Wednesday night, amid rough seas, pouring rain, total darkness and an impending electrical storm. Our journey had taken us 22hours on the boat.

It was on our way from Malekula to West Ambrym that Jin (another girl from my group) and I struck up a rather interesting friendship with the Rom dancers. Sitting upstairs in the open, sharing songs and laughter over rough seas, Jin and I were both surprised when one of the men turned to us and said "You know the stories about men from Malekula don't you?"
"No" we replied in perfect unison.
The man's eyes gleamed and his smile grew wider as he said " we eat people." Jin and I looked back at him, our eyes wide with disbelief, and the man's eyes gleamed even brighter and his grin became more mischievious as he hissed "Man taste sweet, like fish." Jin and I looked at one another not knowing whether or not this guy was having a joke at our expense, while all the other Rom dancers collapsed about laughing.
It turns out that the last known incidence of cannibalism in Vanuatu occurred on Malekula about 50 years ago, so it was definitely within living memory of some of the Rom dancers.

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mi bin missem yufala bigwan be mi no bin missem Sydney!!

Hi everyone!!!
Olsem wanem yufala? (How are you guys?)

I have finally arrived back in the city that I have tried so hard to avoid for the last 11 weeks! I arrived safe and sound just before lunchtime on Monday and I have been trying to regain some equilibrium here in this somewhat fair city. :o)

Sorry I delayed my return for so long, I had some urgent business to attend to in Port Vila regarding some personal space, a boat and a boyfriend... But those stories will come later. I feel much better now after my extra week to chill out and relax and hangout with my friends and "sootsoot".

I know everyone is eager to hear stories of my travels and see the pics and I am keen to answer everyone's questions, so over the next few days, weeks, months, or even years, I will write a couple of posts a week about my experiences and pop up photos. If you have any questions leave me a comment and I'll try to answer them as quickly as possible in a following post.

I would like to say a BIG "tankyu tumas" to Misses Aimee and Becca for keeping people as updated as possible during my journey!

As a jumping off point for my adventure stories today I am going to begin posting a massive letter that I wrote home just before Christmas (17th Dec to be exact). Because the letter is so big (18 pages) I will post it as an old fashioned serial, posting a new section every day or two until it's finished.

To give you some understanding of the Vanuatu postal system you need to know that although the letter was written on the 17th Dec, it didn't get off the island until the 28th Dec, and didn't arrive at my mum's until mid January!!! But at least it arrived, unlike some other people's e-mails!!!

Anywho, on with the letter!!!

Sat 17th Dec 2005

Hi everyone!

I have so much to tell you all and I'm not quite sure where to start so I'll just start from when I sent my e-mail from Port Vila, the day before we left for our projects.

That afternoon I spent a bit of time trotting through the markets in Vila and picking up any last minute stuff that I needed to take to the island with me. The markets in Vila are amazing! They are open 24hrs from Monday to Saturday afternoon and are closed on Sundays for church. In the markets you find table after table of fresh produce, such as mangos, pineapples, papaya, crabs, herbs, island cabbage and coconuts. Each table is run by a different Mama and family who bring their produce to the market and live under their table all week until the market closes. There's also a cooked food section of the market where you can get a freshly cooked hot meal for 200 - 300 vatu ($2.50 - 3.75 AUS). It's all very tasty!!!

The day after I sent the e-mail (Tuesday 6th Dec 2005) each group departed for our various islands. My group, going to Pentecost island, and the Ambrym group were supposed to leave Port Vila at 6 am on the Tuesday, while the Tongoa group were supposed to leave on Tuesday night. However, due to the remarkable phenomenon known as "island time", the Tongoa group ended up leaving to load up their boat long before we did! By the time we finally got down to the dock and loaded the boat with our packs and supplies for both the Pentecost and Ambrym groups (24 packs and 150 boxes of food and supplies), it was 9:30pm and we noticed that, although everyone was on board, the boat to Tongoa hadn't left yet! It was still sitting in the Harbour when we pulled out at 10 pm, much to the Tongoa groups dismay.

Despite the fact we were riding on the fastest boat in the fleet, it still took us 12 hours to reach Ambrym. It was only then that the penny dropped and I realised that we wouldn't be loading people and cargo onto a dock! Instead everything and everyone was loaded into a little dinghy with a motor and was sped ashore to be left on the black beaches of Ambrym.

To be continued...