note: This post is more of a journal style post rather than my usual style. If you find this kind of narrative interesting, please comment 🙂
Being sick on the road
The first part of this post was written while I’m in a dorm bed sick and have been for a couple of days, the second part on day 8. It started 8 days ago with a way too strong aircondition. Didn’t think too much of it – just the sniffles – and so I left Cat Ba island towards Haiphong with a bit of a dizzy head.
The trip went well but I felt tired in the evening and called it an early night. I was travelling with two friends, Matilde and Teun, so we split a 3 bed room which gave me some much needed quiet time.
The next morning, Matilde had to go for Ninh Binh, Teun being restless by nature just wanted to ride again and so he went to Hanoi. I wanted to go to Hanoi as well but opted for another night in Haiphong to get well and rest – this time at a much elevated price since I was alone (300k VND = 13-14USD).
The next morning, I wanted to get going – I had spent the entire day before just watching tv and eating pizza. I hadn’t left the room for 24 hours’ straight.
I got on the motorbike at 12 and made it to the Hanoi hostel at 14, driving maybe a bit too fast. Thinking back – this was probably one of the highest risk rides I’ve made to date. I was feeling quite under the weather and driving in Hanoi is no joke – you’ve got to be alert and vigilant – but I made it and checked in to the hostel. These prices were much more accommodating and with a few more days’ rest I’d be ready to roll again.
The next morning, I still wasn’t too well but still much better than the day before and therefore decided to stay another night at the same place. But, as luck would have it, they had no room for me – so I had to move – again.
I had been recommended another hostel that was only $5, including breakfast – cheapest so far. It had two downsides though, it had 14 bed dorms and it was a party hostel – free beer and music all night. I took it; I was feeling better and I felt like I was done with the cold. I grabbed a couple beers that night.
The next morning the cold was back with a vengeance and I stayed in bed all day. I tried to go out for food but after 5 mins walking in the heat I couldn’t take it anymore. I went back to the hostel and ordered their overpriced food and some tea there and went to bed again. Movies all day and then sleep.
The 6th day and I (again) felt like I’m getting better and this time I’d learned my lesson. No alcohol and just rest. All day till this devil is out of me.
7th day i felt great in the morning but I got a hellish headache around noon so I finally decided to go to a doctor – make that travel insurance worth the money. I decided to walk to the nearest hospital – which in retrospect probably wasn’t the greatest of ideas because when I got there noone spoke English. I walked around like a clueless baboon for a good 10 minutes until a doctor showed mercy on me and asked me (in very good English) what my problem was. I told him my symptoms where to he explained that this was a local surgical hospital and I would have go the French-Vietnamese hospital 5km away. I guess that would explain the stretchers of people with blood on them everywhere. A very overcrowded and bloody hospital indeed.
I took a motorcycle taxi there for about 30k VND (1½ USD) and went inside. From here it was easy – everyone spoke English and I got served quickly, bloodtest, urine test, blood-pressure test, temperature etc. they took good care of me and he concluded that I had somewhat of an inflammation that caused the headache. I got some pills and went home
The next day – the time of this writing I feel much better and the night before I was even out (drinking sprite) for a few hours for the first time since I got sick.
It’s been 8 days and I’ve spent most of them in a dorm room. It can be rough sometimes to get sick while travelling but it’s the name of the game and that’s something you will just have to deal with. Throughout this time, I’m glad I had a nice bed, internet, a computer and enough things to entertain me after all. Oh, and travel insurance! The bill was 5,5mil VND/$250
So why did I write this short piece? Because life on the road can sometimes seem very glamorous when you see those Instagram filtered Facebook pictures and only hear about all the good stuff that has happened. The younger generations (yes I’m still one of them) has started to use social media to brand themselves – it’s so much more than just sharing with your friends. It’s a whole online identity.
With this post I just seek to put a little perspective on it all. There are good times and bad times. Whether it’s sickness, depression, loneliness or something more tangible like being scammed one too many times or just hating whatever place you’re at.
Without the bad times, we can’t enjoy the good times.