My first taste of Sri Lanka ~ Nothing like getting sick and falling into the ocean!
This post is originally from February 15, 2017
The last I wrote I was saying goodbye to India and ready to bring on the island of Sri Lanka. For the first week in Sri Lanka Kris and I will stay at the beach town of Mirissa. After our flight into the capital of Colombo we made our way about 4 hours south and by the time we finally reached Mirissa it was dark. The next morning when the sun came up I went out on our balcony and it felt like I was truly in paradise.
We are overlooking jungle like farmland with a narrow water way below. There isn’t a shortage of exotic birds including cranes and peacocks. Yesterday we saw a massive lizard (prob 3 feet long) swim by, and when you look into the trees you can also spot a monkey or two! Our lovely hotel is just a short walk to the beach and Kris and I couldn’t be happier to relax at this comfortable place!
To be honest, the entire time I was in India I wasn’t feeling my tip top self; I just tried to push past it because you can’t take a sick day on vacation! I basically had a head cold where I couldn’t breathe worth shit – which really isn’t that bad… just an inconvenience. But as the days went on I started to feel even worse, and yesterday I hit an all time low. I had a fever and I can honestly say that I have never felt this achy in all my life. I started to believe that I might actually have malaria or dengue. I know I have a pretty high pain tolerance and this was unbearable. Because we are flying solo this week there is no tour leader to give us advise, but we decided I best get to a doctor.
This morning we hired a tuk tuk and asked the driver to ‘please take us to a doctor’. He understood and quickly seemed like he knew where to go. We stopped at a random shack just minutes from our hotel that had a red medical sign tacked up to the wooden boards…with nobody in sight it was clearly not open for business and thankfully so!! Next our driver took us to the next town of Weligama and bingo, there was a ‘proper’ clinic. Things work a bit differently that clinics back home in Canada. First of all I had to enter a tiny space that served as the queue to see the doctor. It was super confined with quite a few people squished in, so all the coughing and lack of air made you want to get the hell out of dodge! The line went pretty quickly and sometimes a patient would be in and out in literally 2-3 minutes! Again…nothing like a doctors visit at home! When it was my turn, you just let yourself in the room and the doctor was waiting at his desk. He had a lovely friendly smile and his English was perfect. He took much longer with me because all he wanted to do was ask me questions about my travels and Canada. He sent me for lab work which was the next adventure.
On the lab requisition he asked for my name and when I proceeded with my last name he was like ‘no Heather is good enough’. The lab req was literally a piece of scrap paper no bigger than my phone. I had to go to a new room that was much cooler than the last and I was immediately given a pee cup and told to pee. The toilet had no lock and was merely just a squatter – definitely wasn’t a place I wanted to spend a lot of time. And to make matters worse I was given the challenge of having perfect aim because this cup was probably half the size as the ones we have at home (smaller than a shooter glass). Challenge successfully completed I handed my cup to a lab worker. Everyone in the lab had bare feet and there weren’t a pair of gloves to be seen. To get my blood drawn was interesting … from the tourniquet (which looked like a seat belt) to the needle – it was basically a syringe with a needle. She pulled it back to suck out the blood and right in front of me pushed my blood out of the syringe onto glass plates to test it right there. Right beside me were other people’s bloody glass plates thrown into a box. Sterile isn’t the word of the day at this clinic!
After a half hour I was given a paper with the results and told to go back to the first queue to see the doctor again. He read the results and malaria wasn’t the cause. My blood count was all out of whack which he determined I have a bacterial stomach infection that I caught from my good friend India. This has been the cause of the fevers, stomach issues, sweats, headaches and the worst of it – the pain. So he prescribed me antibiotics for four days and hopefully I will be as good as new.
I asked him how I got the infection and he said the water treatment in India is terrible. It could be from anything from a vegetable being washed with tap water or ice. Because I had been so careful with the food I know exactly what it was from… you see, DUMB ASS/ yours truly is lazy when it comes to certain things. In all my travels I never go to the effort of brushing my teeth with bottled water and I figured that since I have never been sick from tap water before, why start now? DUMBASS! Note to all travelers, use bottled water to brush your teeth!
Later in the evening we decided to head to the beach to watch the sun set and have dinner. You see there are basically two separate beaches connected by a sand bar and on that sand bar there is this jutting piece of land/rock you can climb that would be a perfect place to take photos. The only problem was that the tide was really high so it looked a little treacherous to cross at that time. Note to self-stop there…nope, I figured I had this! With my camera held high and determination on my face I was going to get to the other side. I just had to wait for the perfect timing when the waves separated from both sides. Slowly we inched forward and looking ahead at Kris I could see that she had her skirt hiked so high I could read the writing on her underwear. All I was staring at was ‘party til dawn’. I was kind of snickering to myself over her underwear when I heard a local guy yell out ‘RUN’ and something took over that erased all my rationale. I bolted so fast and in mind I said to myself ‘I’ve got this!’ … but within an instant I had fallen into a two foot dip in the sand and the next thing I knew I had done a complete face plant into the ocean! I came up a drenched rat with everything on me being submerged in water and now covered in wet sand. My sunglasses that had been on my head were gone and my main concern, my camera looks to be a goner. I am hoping if I let it sit it will miraculously work again…but so far the camera gods aren’t shining down on me.
I truly could be an internet sensation right now had we got that on film. The local dude couldn’t stop laughing and I think Kris nearly peed herself replaying it in her head all night long. I have to admit that it must have looked pretty funny too, so when I don’t think about my camera I end up laughing my ass off as well!
Sitting through supper in wet clothes was not ideal but only made for getting back to our hotel even sweeter!