Goodness it’s been a while…. Sorry to deprive you all, you must’ve been simply dying of boredom without my ramblings. Well fear not readers, I can now give you a nice, long, typo-filled, somewhat incoherent and mistake-bound update. I can practically hear your collective sighs of relief all the way from blighty.
4) A weekend camping on
5) An agonising stay at
preluded by 7 hour wait on Accident and Emergency. Robina General Hospital
I’ll try to make these tails brief.
Big Day Out
So, number one on the agenda: BDO was fantastic. I knew it was going to be amazing for three reasons; chiefly, I was going with Marge and Nicola, two of my favorite people on the planet, furthermore, some of my all time favorite bands were playing (mainly Tool, and of course, Elliots band Oceanics), and finally, someone had the very bright idea of strapping 2 liter foil bags of vodka to our persons using gaffa tape in order to avoid the extortionate festival levy on booze.
Nicola’s lovely friend Katlyn came over early to help us with this task. Mine was strapped to my lower back, and I was convinced as I walked through the main entrance (having just witnessed the chap ahead of me being frisked by security and asked to lift his top and reveal his back!), that I was going to get caught. But being the fairer of the sex (it has its advantages), we all waltzed in un-checked. The rest of the day was simply fantastic. Weather beautiful. Bands amazing. Nuff said.
|In Nicola and AJ's pool|
Trip to Ailrie
Our flight to Prosperpine on the Friday was all well and good. Wendy and Phil collected us from the airport and it was amazing to see them again. Before I left for Australia, I imagined what it would be like, after my trip, flying back to London Heathrow, into the arms of my family after being away so long – well I doubt it was a direct comparison, but it wasn’t far off – just a different family, having not been away for quite so long!
|Si, Wendy, Me, Helen and Phil at Pinnacles|
|Brady, Dean, Me, Helen, Wendy, Emma, Phil, Jason, Alysha|
Sunday we nearly died of hangovers so went to good ol’ Banjo’s for pitchers of ice cold beer and steak. This was the day of Cyclone Anthony, the first one to hit. Simon and
I decided to go for a swim in the lagoon, which was all but deserted except for us, and a few other hardy/mad pommes playing water rugby.
I decided to go for a swim in the lagoon, which was all but deserted except for us, and a few other hardy/mad pommes playing water rugby.
We were forced to retreat to a bar when things got really rough, and decided to get a room in the same hostel we’d stayed in Friday, Magnums. Unfortunately the power went out and the bar closed so there wasn’t much to do bar the obvious…. And by that I of course mean, sit on the porch of our hostel room with a few bottles of wine and watch the storm thrash by.
We arrived in
after a 12 hour bus (made slightly more pleasant by a camelback full of cold sauvignon which we drank discretely like naughty giggling children), at 7.30am Wednesday morning. James, hero that he is, collected us and dropped us home before he shot off to work. Leaving us to catch up on sleep, walk to the bottle shop, and plan our trip to Hervey Bay . Fraser Island
We decided to go with a one-man-band outfit, who also happened to be the cheapest, and arranged a time to meet him the next day for a run down on the 4x4 we’d be hiring and to watch a safety video *yaaaawn*.
I introduced Simon to the cows i'd met on my last visit, which was splendid as always! We had a very boozy night with James, his housemate and work colleague Josh, and two others, Paul and Kate, after tequila and beer at James', we met the others at Coast restaurant where Sally’s friends are the chefs. Krita was still in Verbs, but we caught up with Nick, who was in the kitchen making us amazing food. It was fab.
We rocked up at the guys house the next day and were greeted by a lovely little dog and a hard-to-place-an-age hippy, Ashley. He was awesome, made us soya tea and got through all the paperwork and liability wavering videos. He showed us Dinky, our 4x4 vehicle and home for the weekend, complete with queensize mattress in the back and all the camping gear you’d need. Even pillows. We were set.
After an early night, we got up early to get the 8.30am ferry over to Fraser. Right from the off it was clear we were gunna have an awesome weekend. From central station we waled to Basin lake, via a dead Cockatoo which we poked with sticks. We avoided the tourists (which if course, we are not!), and walked round the side of the like devoid of any humans for a quick skinny dip in the crystal clear water! On the walk back to Dinky I got bitten by an ant on my neck. Now I know that doesn’t sound that bad, but I’m telling you now, the pain was akin to being punched hard in the face. You know how when you break your nose you can’t tell which hurts more, the stinging or the throbbing? Well it was like that, but on my neck. Luckily it lasted about ten minutes and once I realised I wasn’t going to drop down dead, I was fine. (sounding like a hypochondriac is doing me no favours for the eventual tale of my hospital stay, I know!).
We continued down to the south of the island to do the
drive along the bumpy sandy roads. We stopped at the desrted South Lakes for pâté sandwiches on the white sand beach. Then headed to 45 mile beach, the long stretch of sandy nothingness on the east coast of the island, to drive up to the north of the island. On the way we passed the Maheno Ship Wreck and took a look. Very eerie and beautiful and rusty. We passed dingo’s and were attacked by March Flies so decided camping actually on the beach might be an error, so drove in land a little to Dundubra camp site. We parked up and made a little den by dragging a picnic bench over and setting out our chairs – parking dinky side on, so we were tucked away. Birabeen Lake
We ate our burgers by candlelight and drank VB and wine, still cold from the awesome eski James leant us. The bed was surprisingly comfortable and we both slept well. Woke early and had a good camping breakie, bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and mushroom, all swigged down with tea. Why does food cooked on a camping stove and tea made in a tin kettle and drank from camping mugs always taste so darn good?
It was high tide till 11am so we couldn’t drive back down the beach til 12 at the earliest, so we decided instead to go for a walk along what was signposted as The Sandblow Circuit. Neither of us had anticipated quite was this would involve…. Mainly a very long hike over miles and miles of the most stunning, arid sandscapes you can imagine. Nothing for miles around except sea, shrubs, and this weird formation of mineral soft rock that looked like the ancient ruins of a crashed spaceship, but on contact it melted away to a soft rusty talc.
The only problem with this 3 hour walk, was that we had, like many a tourist before us, failed to take enough water to sustain two humans, in 30°C plus heat, hiking for hours. The result of this was sever dehydration, which manifests itself, as always in me, in a Urinary Tract Infection. Or put more bluntly, when I had to stop for a wee in the bushes on Indian Head, it felt akin to passing firey-hot spikey rusted iron rods.
I managed to suppress the UTI with 5 litres of water and painkillers and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the trip. We camped that night at Central Station in an awesome rainforest spot. I went to bed early to fend of infection. We were joined in the night, by some kind of animal. Sleeping with the back doors of the jeep wide open, I was woken by some funny noises and then the sound of little scampering footsteps. I said to Simon ‘Is that just the rain?’ (it had started raining), he replied ‘yeah I think so, but were you just making funny noises?’ I was fairly sure I hadn’t been making funny noises, and when Simon described feeling something/someone sniffling his hair and face, we decided to get up and investigate. No sign of the offender. The only mammal we’d seen or heard of on Fraser was Dingo’s. So we couldn’t imagine what it could have been. I had a vague, half-asleep vision of a smallish, cuddle fluffy think that I described to Simon as a Chinchilla, standing on the shelf-like door of the hatch back next to our heads. But I couldn’t promise this was an accurate sighting as I was asleep, and it could well have been a dream after hearing the funny mammalian noises. A total mystery.
In the morning, we cooked brekkie and packed up the car for our final day on the
Island. A lovely aussie couple were camped in the spot opposite and we got chatting. He apologized if his shouting had disturbed our sleep – ‘we didn’t hear any shouting – no worries’ we said, or words to that effect, ‘oh that’s good’, he said, ‘I was screaming at the fuckin’ possum that was raiding our eski!’.
|Raining like cats & dogs!|
We spent our last day, in the crazy rod-like rain, reading in bed, and then setting up a tarp-shelter on
. Very relaxing, and no sign of my UTI. Was fairly convinced I’d nipped it in the bud. Oh how wrong I was. Lake Birabeen
We returned to the mainland at 6pm, cleaned Ashleys car and returned it to him, walked to a nearby pub for a few pints, and took some Chinese back to James’s house. We allm played a bit of Mariokart, then wiped out, fell asleep.
James very kindly drove us to out bus in the morning, which left at 9am and arrived in
at 2pm. With about an hour left of the journey, I felt a sudden but definite shooting pain up my urethra and into my lower back. Fuck fuckity fuck fuck. I was pretty sure there and then that I had developed a kidney infection. An affliction that I had battled with a lot in my youth, but had been at bay for about 6 years. Once in Brisbane I tried to abate the symptoms with over-the-counter medications and litres and litres of cranberry juice and water. But to no avail. On an hour long, toilet-less train from Brisbane to the Gold Coast my symptoms worsened. I honestly honestly got to the point where I was clenching my fists so hard it was cutting my palms, in concentration. I told Simon I had to get off the train early and we calculated that the train would be stopping at a station in 9 minutes. Those 9 minutes were agony. The thought of wetting myself in front of a rush-hour trainload of people was making me cry, but I was genuinely weighing up in my head weather it would be better to jump up and pull the emergency stop handle and open the doors to wee outside the train, ot just quietly piss myself in my seat like a mad old drunk. Luckily I didn’t have to make that choice as we pulled into a station in the middle of nowhere and I relieved myself in the platform toilets, with audiable wincing, watering eyes, and quite an alarming amount of blood in my urine. It was time to go to hospital. Brisbane
We jumped in a taxi where the adorable driver told us all about his wife’s recent kidney stones (not knowing of my ailment), and how great
had been for her, as he sped us there. The wait in A&E was treacherous. They were kind enough o give me morphine and codeine, and apologised profusely for the wait, explaining that it was one of those freak nights where ambulences wrre coming in thick and fast with fatasl and life-threatening injuries all over the shop. I waited in a drugged stae with many other very poorly people, for 7 hours. We people watched away the minutes, guessing others ailments – some very obvious such as the child with the bleeding headwound soaking a bath towel his father had pressed into his face, and some less so, like the homeless man who offered me his sandwich when I asked Simon to get me something to eat from the vending machine. Robina Hospital
One duo really touched me. A lady in perhaps her late 60’s or early 70’s was behind me in the queue for the triage nurse, and I heard her describing in a panicked but restrained voice about her mothers deteriorating health. I don’t know why this touched me so much, perhaps because I’m missing my own mum a lot, or maybe because of all that has happened with her and her own mother. I told Simon about the sadness and terror with which she told the nurse why they were here, and we watched them as the hours ticked by, laughing together, cuddling, sharing a blanket, laughing some more. At one point I looked over and they had such a fit of the giggles together, there foreheads touching, trying to be quite, that it made me chuckle.
X-rays, ultra sounds, more antibiotics, drips of saline, blood tests, terrible food etc etc etc. the usual hospital stuff. I was kind of comforted to see that the elderly mother was in the bed to my left, and her daughter had gone home too. Our respective A&E companions had done their jobs well, keeping us company in the waiting room, and now we were on our own. It had been a very long night for all of us.
The morning went in a morphiney haze, waking at one point to over hear the doctor in with the old lady with the curtains to the left of me, separating mine and her space, pulled around them. He was pleading with her with a conversation that went something like this.
Edith, we really want you to go into theater this afternoon.
I’m not having an operation.
Edith, please, it really is necessary. It is vital surgery.
I’m too tired.
You are tired because of the ænemia, but we’re fixing that now, so you wont feel like that anymore. But if we don’t sew up your internal injuries, you will die.
I just want to go home
We can’t let you go home Edith. No doctor in the land would send you home. You are critically ill. This will be fatal. Tomorrow you won’t be able to make this decision. All we have to do is sew up the hole in your gut to stop the leaking and you will be fine. After that we can investigate whether it’s cancer that is causing the ruptures. You may be 92, but it says here you still do your own shopping, you still drive, see your grandchildren.
I don’t want the operation.
It’s your decision Edith, I can’t make you. But is it OK if I phone your daughter and get her to come in and talk it over with you? In the meantime let me get you some more pain relief….
That was pretty heart wrenching. I fell asleep again after that, and when I woke up, I’d been moved to a ward. So we will never know if her lovely daughter managed to talk her into having the op.
After pleading with a doctor (and I mean, actual pleading – Please doc, look, I’m fine now, see? I’m in no pain (lie), my blood pressure is practically back to normal (stretching truth) My boyfriend over from England, he is at home with my aunt and uncle, he is only here for 3 weeks, they will all look after me, please please please – they let me home! On the proviso that I had one bag more of intravenous AB’s and that they could get in touch with me the next day regarding my ultrasound results. It was magnificent to be back, even though I felt crook. We got Indian take-out and I slept in a comfy bed for the first time in weeks. I slept for 12 hours. Lovely, healing sleep in the arms of my lovely sleeping Simon.
The ultrasound came back fine – no serious underlying pathology. And I’m into my course of iral antibiotics so am well on the mend and will be back in action in a few days I’m sure!
Until then readers.