It takes a lot for me to go quiet on social media, I’m out here in Vietnam and on a daily basis there’s always something to Tweet about, Instagram about, Blog about, Facebook about, Tumblr about, Snapachat about. You get the the idea.
However just over a week ago I was struck down by an illness that left me wanting to do nothing more than be engulfed by the darkness and safety of a duvet. In the first few days I was certain I was suffering from heat stroke, the rainy season here in Ho Chi Minh City appears to have ended and the dry season had begun, daily temperatures reach the mid 30’s. You don’t realise just how much water you need to drink before it’s too late.
I suffered from heat stroke previously on this trip during the first few weeks in. Thailand, whereby I threw up in a poncho and nearly passed out in front of a Buddhist monk as he was praying. Fair to say not one of my finest moments!
It became apparent however after a few days of being ill here in Vietnam that this time I was not suffering from heat stroke. It was 35 degrees outside and our bedroom was easily as hot, yet even with no air conditioning or fan on I was cocooned under my duvet shivering. Then ten minutes later the air con would be on and the fan on full trying their best to cool my sudden high fever down. For a week I basically slept, never left our room, hardly ate a thing, and became very disillusioned with what was going on around me. Something was definitely not right with me, but I thought in hope that with a few more days of rest and patience this would all be over.
Later that evening though my fiance Sam found me curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor trembling, shivering and looking extremely pale. So the decision was made at that moment that I needed a hospital, and so in the very early hour’s of the morning I was thrown on the back of a scooter and we made our way. After stumbling into A&E I was rushed to a medical room where I was placed on an IV drip and had all sorts of tests to determine what the hell was actually wrong with me. Two hours of waiting went by (or in my case sleeping and trying not to throw up). I was finally woken by the amazing Vietnamese doctors informing me that I had contracted Dengue Fever, a tropical disease caused by mosquitoes. Despite having never heard of it millions of people are infected each year, and only a small percentage die. Luckily for me the doctors felt they didn’t need to admit me to hospital and that I could return to our HCMC apartment room. However they still warned me before leaving to look out for any hemorrhaging, the only symptom which if present can develop into something much more serious and fatal.
Days of rest and endless water as well as some awful hydration drinks. Days of only seeing the city through the window. Days of cold showers. Days of an irritable skin condition caused by the fever. Days of no social activities or 16p beer. These days passed slowly but thankfully I recovered without the disease progressively worsening. I’m glad the ordeal is now over, when you’re out here in a different country being ill is so much worse. You miss home comforts (for it was Sunday Roast), you miss family, and you generally just miss those familiar surroundings that make you feel comfortable and safe.
Anyway, Dengue Fever did not defeat me, and now it’s time to go back to HCMC life and continue our travels.
Special thanks goes to my incredible fiance Sam, without her I’d probably still be laying on that bathroom floor.