There have been many times in the past twenty years that I have appreciated my husband’s quick wit. Most recently, I made people spit out their morning coffee with this visual. But at the end of this post, I want to share with you possibly the best comedy relief he has offered me in… well, ever.
You may recall, in my last post, I was at the ENT in Japan. Let me just say, right at the top (in case I forget to repeat it 20 times throughout this post) you should really think twice and then think again before flying with a bad ear infection. Just… yeah.
Here’s what happened next:
The masked doctor and his assistant nurse spoke no English. While he would explain something for what felt like five minutes, my good sister inlaw played interpreter and paraphrased what he was saying in a sentence or two. But he said more than that! I heard him say lots more than that! I tried to get more information from her, but the doctor was coming at me with god-knows-what implement. I called over to Lolly to look at the pretty wall poster. She turned away and covered her ears to my pained cries. I couldn’t help them. He was inflicting pain that I didn’t know how to stop. The only English he seemed to know was “Don’t. Move-u. Preese.” And that’s what he repeated as he made a second attempt to suction out my ear canal to look at the eardrum. The infection was bad, he said. Middle and outer ear. He came at me with a long instrument that was shoved up each nostril in turn, a spray to attempt to clear my sinuses. And he did all this before my sister inlaw could explain fast enough. The poor girl, I think she may have actually been more traumatised than me and she kept apologising to me as if it was her beloved country that had done this to me. I don’t think I convinced her before I left that I didn’t hold my ear infection and burst drum against Japan. I still love it. And her.
All the doctor could do was – well, apart from make it feel like he was trying to suck my brains out and stab my eardrum with a needle repeatedly while he was at it – prescribe pain killers (“three for you because you’re larger than Japanese people”…. thanks, doc) and start me on a two-day course of antibiotics.
To cut what is becoming a long whiney story shorter, we did fly that night. We made it as far as Coolangatta Airport, in fact. But I had dehydrated badly over the 9-hour flight. Heaving repeatedly into sick bags will do that to you. I’ve always wondered if they actually hold liquid and if so, just how much are they good for. I can report now: (a) yes they can and… (b) quite a lot. The LGBB, having been whisked away by kind-hearted stewardesses while I was in the process of throwing out any fluids my body could muster, was practically comatose by the time the wheels hit the tarmac. I pulled her upright and tightened her seatbelt single-handedly, my other hand holding the sick bag permanently in place beneath my quivering lip ready for the next moment to overtake me. With the help of a kindly woman across the aisle, Lolly was upright for the landing, if not fully awake. She had managed barely three hours’ sleep in the past 24 hours and I had clocked up zero.
Making it through immigration, collecting 40kg worth of bags off the carousel by myself then wending our way through customs (we had lots of lollies and biscuits and Hello Kitty pasta packets to declare) was no easy feat. But we did it. I rechecked our bags onto the domestic flight to Melbourne, cleared the security screening to the gate area and the last coherent thought I can remember is looking down at our tickets and thinking, “Oh bugger. We’re in row 13, that doesn’t bode well if I feel so shit right now.”
We never made the flight. I missed it by, oh, about eight hours.
So I’m just wondering, dear reader, what would you do if you saw someone in obvious need of some medical attention? I hope you would at least think about helping. It’d be ace if you actually did try to help. At this point I’d just like to (sarcastically) thank the three families sitting around the LGBB and me that ignored me and any attempts to wave them down and get their attention, even when I made clear and obvious eye contact and asked them to help me. Sucks to be you, you miserable bastards.
Thankfully for my daughter, who had started to ask me if she’d like me to go and find “a lady or a man to help”, a woman came up and asked if I was okay. I swiftly said no and advised her I needed medical help.
And that is what I got. No less than three pairs of medical aides. I felt a right ninny, but I was also very grateful that help had come. Although I had phoned Steve from my slumped position at the table and told him I didn’t think I could actually make it to the gate, let alone board the plane, he had reassured me that “once you get some food into you and something to drink, you’ll be right.” Ahhh… No. Apparently not.
The stretcher was brought out and, somewhat embarrassed by the commotion but unable to even coherently take in the scene, I was taken to an ambulance waiting outside on the tarmac. The LGBB had the time of her life, riding up front in an ambulance while I lay in the back praying for them to find a vein soon to get that merciful drip and its rehydrating fluids into me. It is so amazing how fuzzy-brained you can get (and how fast) when you don’t have enough fluids in your body.
The doctor at the hospital was my very own English-accented House M.D. lookalike, with a much better bedside manner. He explained the ear situation succinctly and gave a clear picture, reassuring me of my safety to fly home (with anti-nausea medication). His was also the most painless drip insertion I’ve ever experienced (and I’ve had a number of them in my time) and I’ve already written to The Tweed Hospital ED to thank them profusely for taking such good care of me and being so great with Lolly. They gave us a bed each side by side and let us sleep, which I did for about four hours straight.
By the time I woke up, much had been done behind the scenes by the staff at Jetstar and Steve to ensure our luggage (including my gorgeous Japanese teapot…. did you see it?? It’s the best!) remained safely stored and we were put on standby for one of the remaining flights of the day to Melbourne. With the stars aligning – thanks a LOT, Universe, you owed me one anyway – we actually made it onto the mid-afternoon flight, pipping two other standby parties to the post. Got to thank a bloke named Lindsay from Jetstar, who I’ll never meet, for that one I think.
I was never more relieved or moved to tears to see my husband, who was equally glad we had finally touched down safely, albeit after our unscheduled 9-hour stop-over on the Gold Coast. Ah, Steve. Ever my quick-witted quipper, who had earlier sent me this text to buoy my spirits while I sat waiting at the hospital and collecting my senses for the journey home: