Nusa Dua and Ubud, Bali, Saturday 2 June 2012

I very rarely get ill. Maybe once a year I’ll succumb to a viral infection that’ll knock me fairly hard, but that’s about it. Sick? No. I might feel a bit on the queasy side when everyone else is spewing up their guts, but the last time that I was actually sick–other than in an alcohol-induced capacity–I really don’t recall. I see doctors because I’ve done something crazy and an appendage is hanging off of me, not because I’m ill.

Until I came to Bali.

It started at about 3am on Saturday. I just didn’t feel very well. It was that ‘Hmm, maybe I picked up a bug?’ feeling that I get and usually wake up feeling okay. Except that I didn’t. I didn’t manage to go back to sleep and by 6am I was trying to decide just what to do with myself. Lying on the bathroom floor seemed a good plan.

At 7am I lurched from my door to reception to tell the dive school that I really wasn’t capable. At midday I woke in a cold sweat with a headache so severe that I could scarcely open my eyes. I did the meningitis checks, just in case. I might’ve been photophobic, every single inch of me might have been aching, but my chin did still reach my chest and there was no purple rash. I could go back to sleep.

It wasn’t so much sleep, though, but a fitful state of sprawling on a sofa. However I laid, I was either uncomfortable or in severe pain. Lying on my side sent shocking pains through my kidneys. Lying on my front hurt my chest and abdomen. Sitting up was impossible as I couldn’t support myself.

It’s possible that I might have entered delirium at some stage that afternoon, but I’m not really sure. I’m not sure about much, except that I felt dire. And it was going to stay that way for five days. For at least another two days after that, I would be in a state of physical exhaustion. And even writing this now, ten days later, I’m not convinced that I’m right.

Worse was that I needed to switch hotels in the middle of all this. I didn’t pack. I heaped things onto the bed and asked the staff to carry everything to a waiting taxi that they’d ordered. I sat in the front, with a collection of plastic bags and a bottle of water. When I arrived in Ubud, the staff at the new hotel sat me down, gave me a drink, and practically put me to bed.

That was where I stayed.

Like what you read? Give Daniela Bowker a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.