We were all smiles as our ferry docked at the makeshift pier in Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, last weekend.
“Look at the water!” we excitedly twittered to each other. It was the clearest we’ve seen since Fiji. We couldn’t wait to get settled and jump in with the snorkels and masks we’ve carried in our heavy packs since Sydney.
“How good is this food!” we exclaimed that evening, eating Pad Thai and more green curry at a ‘rustic’ roadside restaurant near the small villa in the woods that we’d rented for the final two weeks of our adventure.
But that night Will woke me up at 2am to get him some Tylenol – he had a fever of 102. Three more days/nights of hot and cold sweats, horrendous headaches, back, neck, and body aches, followed for him.
On the fourth day, we decided that enough was enough – this was obviously not just the flu – and we made our way to the nearest clinic.
The results of the blood test came that evening and all I could understand from the Doctor on the phone was: “Dengue Fever. Blood very bad. All levels low, abnormal. Come to the clinic tonight. We will stay open for you. Your husband must go on the IV.”
We ended up spending the night in the clinic, with Will hooked up to the IV drip, me trying to sleep at the foot of his wooden plank bed, and the Doctor, Wan, sleeping on the couch in the waiting room. She got up every four hours to take his blood pressure and temperature. I was very happy to have her there.
The next day brought more bad news: another blood test (taken in the morning, sent by ferry to the hospital on Koh Samui, processed in the lab, and results emailed back) showed worsening conditions for Will. The Doctors at the small clinic quickly arranged for us to be taxied to the ferry pier, put on the afternoon ferry to Samui, and picked up and taken to the hospital at the other end.
Another ferry ride – no big deal, right? Hello – we’ve just sailed across the Pacific!
But it was getting rough out – 30 knots and a building sea. The catamaran ferry was beam to the waves and the crew quickly began handing out sick bags to all the passengers around us. Will was in no shape to enjoy the comedy of such a wild boat ride, as he would’ve in normal circumstance. And I was already in such an anxious state that I have to admit the waves crashing over the bow, the sounds of seasickness all around us, and the steep side-to-side rolls of the boat all got to me. I was gripping the edge of my seat with such white knuckles that one of the crew came over to comfort me: “Don’t be scared”, he soothed me, assuming I was afraid of the ocean, “It will be okay. Big ballast.”
The ferry did a crash landing into the dock at Koh Phangan. The captain brought the boat in at quite a clip, considering, and slammed it up again the dock so hard that we thought the glass windows were going to break. No fenders, of course. Every swell that came through smashed the hull again and it’s a wonder they were able to unload/load more passengers.
By the time we arrived in Koh Samui, I was beside myself. And Will – poor Will – he was in pretty bad shape too.
We spent 3 nights in Samui, near the hospital. Will started feeling better, and his blood counts started coming back as well. Thank goodness!!!!
We can joke now, but it truly has been an awful week.
What’s so ironic is that we’ve spent time this past year being almost as far as anyone can ever be away from doctors/hospitals. Having another health scare has put that in real perspective.
One big plus the middle of the ocean has going for it – no mosquitoes!