*this article have been written over the past week
It’s been quiet here for a while. My posts don’t come as promised. You’ve heard nothing of my volunteering. The fb page is equally quiet; only my own personal page is being posted on. My friends knows I haven’t been feeling well. But I’ve waited to the second blood test to tell you all why.
I have never really recovered from the Inca trek. I’ve mostly been in bed after arrival to Huancayo where I was to do my volunteering. I’ve been lucky enough that my host family are doctors. They’ve been looking after me and trying to make me better. I did get better. Several times since the Inca trek. I also had relapses several times after the Inca trek.
Last Monday, during one of my relapses, they took the first blood tests. Nearly two weeks since I first got ill; the incubation period was complete and the Typhoid fever strongly spreading through my blood (yes, I did have the vaccination).
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs. Without prompt treatment, it can cause serious complications and can be fatal[…] If the condition is not treated, the symptoms continue to get worse over the following weeks and the risk of developing potentially fatal complications increases [untreated(?) survivors may have permanent physical or mental disabilities, and the fever bacteria chronically].[…] Typhoid fever requires prompt treatment with antibiotics. If diagnosed in its early stages, the condition is likely to be mild and can usually be treated at home with a 7 to 14-day course of antibiotic tablets…read more about Typhoid fever here.
Please note that my doctors have put me on antibiotics and that they believe it was found early enough to not have complications. Please don’t worry, I just want to share with you for a moment the blessings I feel over the coincidence that my host family is some of Huancayo’s best doctors and for my volunteering boss who insisted on a blood test. Without it I could have gone on thinking it was just a stubborn flu and stomach bug.
That’s the symptoms. During the day I just feel weak. Sometimes I can eat food, other times it comes straight back out again or results in a deep sitting stomach ache. Since the antibiotics started I’ve been less and less capable of eating. Every night has been me over the toilet followed by two injections even more painful than the pain they’re supposed to prevent. Each night my body struggled more and more to recover from the injections. The third night I didn’t need injections… Because I didn’t need to vomit… Because I didn’t eat anything but soup water. I tried some crackers and I had to go on the pain relief tablet (The amount of new medicine my body has had to take the last weeks is unreal). It’s okay though, they say the most important thing is to keep hydrated. I’m supposed to be allowed to eat normally in four-five days. I just need to keep hydrated. I’m peeing like a waterfall now. I wake up several times during the night to go, but the third night I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was thirsty, but the water made me feel nauseous. I can’t cope with another injections. They feel like a wire being drilled into my behind before it wraps around my legs and stops the blood; make them shake with cramps. Yet, at the very least they make me cry myself to sleep. Yeah I know, I’m a needle coward. One of those.
Back to the water. I long for Norwegian water, bacteria free food and medicine. During the nights I dream about the long, tall summer grass. Of Scandinavian children’s songs and treading strawberries on a straw. Plucking blueberries in a steel bucket. It’s all in front of me, but I can’t reach it. Day and night something tells me I won’t return to it. My death anxiety is working overtime. I wake up during the night crying after my nan. Calling after her. Gasping for air that won’t fill my lungs. Norwegian air.
I can’t recall ever having been this homesick. It’s a long time since I’ve been this scared. I see the worry in the doctors eyes as I get worse symptoms, I hear the relieved prayers of my Peruvian mum as I pass a meal without vomiting. My whole mentality is a roller coaster of negative and positive thoughts.
I’ve talked with many of my friends regarding whether or not I should cancel the trip and go home. A couple, always 100% believing in my strength, suggests I shouldn’t; I can bounce back. I swallow the lump in my throat and decide to do as they say. Yet, others, equally wholeheartedly believers of my capability at the beginning of the trip, asked me to come home. As soon as possible. If not for me, then for those who love me. I cried – no bawled – of relief. I was reminded of the only one of my closest who begged me not to go in the first place, when I said how worried I were, and the promise I made that I would try and if it didn’t go I’d come back.
At day time I feel guilty. I feel guilty because I’m in bed and feel relatively fine. They discuss if I can go volunteering for the day and I panic; I don’t want to make someone sick. I don’t want to go anywhere but home. Yet, I want to volunteer. That’s why I’m here. The kids need me. How can I stay here and feel sorry for myself. Am I really sick when I feel relatively fine?
Then the afternoon comes; it’s lunch time and I try to walk. My one side feels paralysed. My world is tossed on the sea. The fever comes as clockwork. Even sitting upright to get down the soup is a struggle. I have to go back to bed and wriggle in pain for a couple. The selfish devil on my shoulder tells my body to fight the pain so I can return home. The unselfish angel on my other shoulder tells it to fight so I can volunteer. Either way, I’m constantly visualising vikinghelmet-wearing teddies riding my immune system in a war against the Typhoid bacteria. Sometimes there’s a Welsh dragon in there too, but I’m not really sure he is helping to prevent the fever.
Last night my organs were swelling and inflamed, today my body was like the morning after a Great War. Quiet. It’s Friday and my second blood tests were taken to check the progress:
When your body status is normal, one have a police body of 5k(-10k) patrolling the body canals. More soldiers are put out when a war breaks out against a bacteria. A soldier quota of 15k means shits gone seriously dangerous. Approx 20k means your soldiers are fighting for your life and 25kish means the battle have turned out like the great ambush in the movie Antz – mutant bacterias are leaving your soldiers headless and bodiless all over the place. Now my soldiers of Vikinghelmet-wearing teddies were on a quota of 17k on the day we discovered the ambush of the Typhoid bacteria. Today, only 7k police forces are battling and patrolling around in my body. It’s like the first couple days the Welsh dragon were breathing it’s fire around Laketown and the last couple days the teddies moved up to the ruins of Dale and fought next to Erebor which did and still are sending out dwarf-teddy soldiers while at the same time building up the defences on the inside; my liver were and is still inflamed and slightly infected.
There’s a sun rising in the horizon, but we’re still on the look out for any Azogs or Bolgs which – if they do appear – may arrive later: Complications may still happen after the Typhoid bacteria is treated. Because of this I have been recommended not to continue my journey after I’m out of my host family/doctors’ care. One bad meal or even a small accident can bring severe complications to my organs which will be delicate for a long time forward. I have been prepared for this decision. Apart from my consciousness, which feels guilty, there’s not a fibre in my body which doesn’t want to go home. I long for it. I left to SA thinking a bullet would prevent me from going home, but I dodged it instead. I thought I could be, but, independent of my respect and admiration for them, I can’t be a martyr. I’ve been terrified and cross with myself. I’m sincerely sorry to those I will disappoint and to my readers and supporters who expected more of me; if you think me a coward, a failure or a fake I understand; most of all I’m sorry to the children I don’t get to help (this time). This is not a mission I will complete. I’m ashamed, yet the relief is overwhelming in me as I can finish this post saying
I’ll be going home.