Living in the tropics is like… well, I don’t want to bore you with the clichés, but it’s wonderful. It’s charming, it’s relaxing (even though the traffic might not give you that sensation), it’s HOT, and you’ll always hear that the people are nice and the FOOD is great.
There are only a few things with life in the tropics that you have absolutely no control about.
For example, when it rains, it will rain. The flood gates from hell open up and it rains like it has never rained before. Your rain forest shower head in your bath room is like a Disney animation to my kind of torrential rain in Phnom Penh. Which will only last for perhaps some 30 minutes and can fully disrupt city life (and have me mopping floors for the coming 4 hours).
With the mercury jumping up high for the hot season of April and May, I am of course looking forward to these showers. Only at night it will cool things down a bit. If it rains during the day, the temperature will feel even higher and life just became a sauna too.
Another thing I have no control about here, is getting sick.
Of course, over the last 5 years of living in Cambodia I have learned to stay away from certain foods and be really picky when it comes to someone preparing food on a street side stall.
I have also learned how to improve my health in general, by exercising daily and eating healthier foods and eating some five meals a day on good days.
And then suddenly, just after a lunch with friends, I felt light-headed. The sort of light headedness you get when you use drugs, but I don’t use drugs at all. I laid myself down on a bed to give me a break. It must have been the sun, right? It’s hot outside.
Then I wanted to get some work done and positioned myself behind my computer. One of the cats jumped on my lap. And there the letters disappeared from my screen. WTF? Huh?! I look at my cat and he has ONE EYE. This ain’t good, I though. I am seeing weird stuff.
And that was the sign to head out and get myself checked out at the SOS Clinic in Phnom Penh. I couldn’t even write my name down well at the reception. And the blood examination showed the proof: Dengue Positive!
Thoughts went through my head about my latest episode of illness, when I got typhoid after a visit to Indonesia and was flat out for over five weeks! I wasn’t very keen on that game!
According to the doctor there was nothing else I could do then to drink a lot of fluids, get your sugar levels up high and sleep. Sleep a lot. Because basically you sleep and flush out dengue fever.
Only that morning I head a headache, a giant pressure was forming behind my eyes. I got a bag of Tylenol pain killers, but in the following days I did what the doctor told me. The headache was gone. I did not touch any pain killer. And I slept. Did something, read a book or so, and slept for another 3 hours, had a friend visiting, slept for another 3 hours.
Six days later a third blood test at the clinic pointed out that I was virus free again, but I would need another two weeks to fully recover and to get my platelets back to its regular level.
Dengue fever is the perfect diet to lose weight too, by the way: I lost 6 kg in 6 days! So my visits to the gym are limited for the coming weeks and I’ll slowly have to build myself up again.