Well, one return home to Australia was a really harrowing one…but also weirdly enjoyable 🙂 I nearly died out there! But it was also one that I have very fond memories of.
It was in 2002. I had a severe chest infection (well, what had been diagnosed to me at the time by my local GP!) when we set off. I did NOT want to cancel the trip! Yes, we were insured, but trips back home are so precious (even then when I had only just been back to Oz 2 years previous, and had only left the country 3 years ago!), I really didn’t want to not go. So, despite how ill I felt, we went.
The plane journey wasn’t a comfortable one. I had to be VERY careful about what I ate during this illness. I couldn’t keep much down. I was having to sleep sitting up at this point, because laying down induced a coughing attack, so that aspect of being on the plane was OK. I’m not sure what the other passangers thought of me coughing all over the place. Probably that I was a right contagious git (which, as it turns out, I was!). Anyway, the plane journey was as comfortably uncomfortable as a plane journey could get!
When we arrived in Oz, it soon became obvious (if we didn’t realise it before) that something far worse than just a chest infection was going on with me. I was having severe coughing attacks (constantly coughing, with absolutely no respite – sometimes ending in breathlessness). A few days after arrival, I had a coughing attack so severe, I lost consciousness! There was nothing left to be done. Off to my mum’s GP I went! He ordered a blood test (the first blood test I’d had in my entire life! (I was 31 at the time) I was too ill to care – I am ssooo needle phobic, but I wanted to know what the hell was wrong with me! Before we got the blood result, the doctor suspected whooping cough! The bloods confirmed it. Yes! I indeed HAD whooping cough!
The rest of the vacation, I was still pretty damn ill. I could only drink water. I couldn’t drink anything else. All other liquids induced a coughing attack. The only thing I could eat was one bowl of cereal a day. Anything else I tried to eat also induced a coughing attack.
Towards the end of the vacation, I was beginning to feel a TINY bit better. We (Em and I) and my mum went down to Canberra for a few days. It was lovely to go away with my mum. She hadn’t been away anywhere for many years. And even though she was already quite disabled by this time, we managed to go places and have a lovely time away.
So, yeah. This vacation was hellish but also very happy. The very apitome of my own personal schadenfreude (even though that’s meant to be pleasure dirived from someone elses pain). The direct translation of the word is said to mean “harm-joy”. That’s exactly how this holiday felt!