What it’s like to be sick when you’re abroad

I’m sick. I’m not dying but if you know me then you know how dramatic I can be so I might as well be dying.

Because there is literally nothing more exciting than documenting my week of ills, here is a recap. (To my sister–I told you more exciting posts were coming!)

It started last Thursday. I woke up with glands the size of apples (peanuts) and aches so bad I thought I had been hit by a bus. Not exactly the way I anticipated my third decade starting. (See what I did there? Happy freaking birthday to me!) I had lost my appetite a few days before but by Thursday I couldn’t even eat the beautiful lemon-filled birthday cake set before me. I WAS SO SICK I COULDN’T EVEN EAT MY BIRTHDAY CAKE. Do you know how painful that is for me to even type? You know I’m sick if I’m refusing birthday cake. Or bread. Or basically any food group. I tried to suck it up and have fun because after all, it was my birthday.

Then, Friday came. Now, I want you to think about the worst day you’ve ever had. That’s pretty much what I endured on Friday. I wanted to lay in the fetal position and cry the entire day but couldn’t (actually, that’s a lie–I cried like 5 times…IN PUBLIC. I was on the struggle bus of pain and having a hard time doing life at that point). By the time I got home at 1:30AM (Don’t even get me started on that sob story!) I was pretty convinced that I was in fact dying and needed my mom to fly back and take care of me. I started on various medications and when I woke up on Saturday morning–convinced that I had slept until 2pm, I went to breakfast. Because it was not 2pm, but rather 8am. After breakfast, I retreated to my room where I crawled back into bed engulfed by the worst body pains a human could endure. No, I haven’t been in labor but I know that laying in bed hurt, so it’s probably the same feeling. I proceeded to watch a million TV shows and eat an entire bag of Starburst jellybeans (THANK YOU GOD FOR STARBURST JELLYBEANS!). Saturday night was a bit rough as I didn’t actually sleep. I mean, I slept for two hours between 5am and 7am on Sunday morning but otherwise I was awake the entire time. I’d like to take this moment and apologize to every human I texted or snapchatted or emailed to complain about my lack of sleep on Saturday. I’m a pretty miserable human when I’m sick…or without sleep…or without food…or without my cat.

This story doesn’t get better. At least for awhile.

On Sunday, like a sleep-deprived zombie, I made it to breakfast and then basically did the exact same thing I did on Saturday. Only instead of Starburst jellybeans, I only ate Starbursts (Thanks Marky!) By Sunday night, my glands were even more swollen (probably like grapefruit…or you know, cherries.) I still had the aches but now, everything started to switch to my sinuses! Awesome! Hurray! Just what I needed.

Because of the holiday, most people had Monday off which meant I again laid in bed all day. I’d like to now take the time to thank Netflix and my secret go-to-weapon-of-choice, watchfree.to for hooking up my entertainment all week. Without you guys, I don’t think I would have survived.  Beyond my physical pain, I started to worry about my week. This was supposed to be my big week of organizing my workshop and writing for my project! I could barely stand to go to the bathroom let alone use my brain to think about serious things.

Nonetheless, Tuesday came. I went into the office for a bit to check in with everyone and then came home, put some coffee on and DID WORK. And by work, I mean four hours and then I had to take another nap. Because my brain was fried. I was literally on a rotation of taking pills, sleeping, eating (candy), drinking tea and more sleeping. I obviously tried a little too hard on Tuesday because I didn’t fall asleep until 4am on Wednesday. No sleep, again. When I texted Adam about this dilemma, his only response was, “What’s new?”

Wednesday was going to be my attempt at getting back to a more normal schedule but the sinus pressure and headaches dictated otherwise. Darn those guys. I did manage to shower and pull myself together a bit. I even managed to do some more work. When Lovemore, my driver and Batswana bestie, came to pick up my laundry to bring to Marie’s (long story), all he could say was, “You look horrrrrible.” WHAT??????! I showered. I pulled myself together. I thought it was the best I had looked all week. He told me to go back to bed and not come out until tomorrow. I know how to listen and did just that. Which brings us to Thursday. OHHHHHHHHH THURSDAY.

After getting adequate amounts of sleep (I mean I only woke up three times to blow a ton of blood and mucous from my nose or have a coughing fit–I know, I’m sorry. TMI, right?) I woke up to the worst sinus pressure and headaches I think I’ve ever had. My face hurt. Like, my cheeks were screaming to help save them from the pressure. My watermelon-sized glands however had shrunk. (Yeah! Happy moments do exist in this story!) But, Thursday doesn’t end with sinus pressure and headaches (I mean, it does but) I had to go into the office and basically plead for help. My tourist visa was set to expire TODAY (Friday). Now, I know what you’re thinking—snooze you lose, sister. But, it wasn’t my fault! I’ve been trying for the last month to get people to help me sort this out. Finally, after a full-day ordeal (including an hour and a half wait at immigration) I have it sorted out. And by sorted out, I’m basically hoping they let me back into Botswana in June. Otherwise, I’m in some serious trouble. After sweating (literally) my way through immigration, I went home and immediately went to bed. My sinus headache was too much to deal with. It took me one entire day to accomplish one thing and it had been too much for my body.

Which brings us to today. It’s Friday! Yeah! My brain is finally starting to thaw, I’m laying off the meds a bit, I don’t need to blow my nose every five seconds and I haven’t had a headache or (major) sinus pressure so far today. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. If this week has taught me anything, it’s that I need people. I need people whether I’m sick or not, but especially when I’m sick. Shoutout to all of my friends in Gaborone (Marie and Riaan) who made sure I was alive! I’m going to celebrate being alive (and 30) by throwing myself a pool party tomorrow. (Insert dancing lady emoji).

HAPPY WEEKEND!!!

 

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