Monthly Archives: January 2012

It makes you sick

It’s no fun at all falling sick when you’re on holidays. But it can by funny. Especially when you’re home again, recovered. I’ve so far avoided hospitals and anything really scary like surgery in a third world country. I’ve only been sick enough to be thoroughly annoyed. The sort of sickness that would definitely warrant a day off from work whilst at home, but on holidays only merits an early night, i.e. going to bed at 2am instead of 4am.

This vague dismissal of sickness whilst holidaying is an interesting phenomenon, possibly known also as denial. I have a morose tendency to get laryngitis but steadfastly refuse to acknowledge it. First comes the fever and lethargy (continue dancing and drinking but with caution), then comes the loss of voice, occasionally accompanied by a bone racking cough (discontinue talking but mime raucous laughter). At home, recovering would involve long hours in bed, plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and perhaps, in the latter stages, a good book. In Montreal I decided instead, despite a temperature and slight delirium, I really needed to visit the art gallery. I’m fond of European Art and they had a lovely little collection.

Surprisingly, I also decided that the best way to get to the Gallery was to walk. Ten minutes after setting out from my hotel, I had to stop in a cafe because I was afraid I might faint in the street. I wondered vaguely whether I had any ID on me, and who they might call to claim me. When I eventually reached the gallery, muttering under my breath in a hallucinatory kind of way, I staggered through each exhibit raising my eyes with effort, pathetically. I smiled wanly at beautiful paintings and oohed and aahhed appropriately, albeit croakily. But I’ll be damned if I can remember a darn thing. No idea. I don’t even remember how I got back to the hotel.

Unfortunately, denial left unchecked can lead to further sickness. I was all set to take a day tour out of Brisbane which included a 4km walk through Springbrook National Park. The night before I had felt slightly feverish and restless. I woke up with a suspiciously sore throat and a raspy voice. Nothing wrong here! No hint of laryngitis here! Travelling up through the lush forest I was smiling and breathing in those lovely healthy smells that remind you that you’re alive and well. But while having lunch at small cafe, just before our hike, it started to rain. Rain is an understatement. There were sheets of water pelting down and obliterating all clear vision. Birds stopped flying.

I turned to the guide sitting beside me and said, ‘It’s raining, so….?’.

 ‘…. we put on a raincoat’, he replied, smiling. Our guide used to be in the military.  

I muttered something about pneumonia but he pointed out it was a rain forest – we were probably going to get a bit damp anyway, but the canopy was pretty thick.  I trudged that 4km with fluctuating elation and foreboding. The pitter patter of rain on my raincoat hood was merciless but the lush brooks, the trilling bird call and the idyllic waterfall lulled me into thinking no harm could come of this.  


As soon as I got back to the hotel I noticed that my fever had skyrocketed and all my bones ached. It hurt to swallow and my head was pounding. The serious onset of laryngitis was surely only hours away. What was required was a soak in a hot bath, some tea and a nice long sleep. As opposed to dinner out, a movie and then drinks in the casino bar.

Guess which option I chose.


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