Meet me at the hospital cause I don’t want to be alone

by Melissa on May 5, 2011 · 1 comment

To say that my six days in Melbourne were spent in a way I’d rather not relive is to really state the obvious.  Didn’t think I’d be telling any of my friends to meet me at the hospital, but turns out, 3 days into my time in Australia’s culture capital – Melbourne – I was doing JUST that.

yarra river
After a few days roadtripping along the Great Ocean Road, and spending over a month out in sparsely populated areas Western Australia and South Australia, Melbourne was a nice dose of urbanity.  Upon my arrival to the big cosmopolitan city, Lionel and I dropped off Tom at the Nomad’s hostel in the city center, and then made our way out of the city to the quaint seaside suburb of St. Kilda.  Now I don’t mean quaint in the same way I’d call my hometown, Unionville, quaint… I mean it in a more ‘it’s got fabulous restaurants, an amusement park, a huge beach, a giant pier and it’s right on the water’ kind of way.  While it isn’t completely “suburban” it doesn’t give off the often intimidating “city” feel either.  It’s more of an urban getaway, just minutes from the Melbourne CBD.  Think of Toronto’s The Beaches – that’s kind of the same feel St. Kilda’s got.

st. kilda sunset

Since Lionel had already been to Melbourne a few months prior, he acted as my own personal tour guide.  We strolled along the beach and watched a beautiful Australian sunset, we walked along the pier and got to see the little blue penguins that are known to reside in St. Kilda.  It was a nice evening and a good introduction to the surrounding Melbourne area.

The next morning, we were up early and into the city in time to get the early parking deal.  We grabbed some breakfast and then it was off to explore the city on foot.  We walked through the heart of the CBD, along the river and to the botanical gardens.  We spent hours and hours in the gardens and even spent a good amount of time in the ANZAC War Memorial building.  I knew that my German friend Vanessa  — whom I had met on one of my first days in Australia and whom I ran into numerous times (by fluke) in New Zealand – had moved back to Melbourne after losing her stuff in the Christchurch earthquake, so I had sent her a text and we planned on meeting up that afternoon.  Lionel and I had made our way down to the outlet mall and had spent a great deal of time “shopping with our eyes” before meeting up with Vanessa and her friend from work.  Her friend had wanted to go to the beach, so we all made our way to the train station and took the train out to one of the nearby beaches.

That particular day was a very hot and very sunny day, and I know that I hadn’t been hydrating as much as I should have, nor was I wearing sunscreen or a hat.  We had been out in the sun literally all day – save for the hour or two we spent in the outlet mall – and by the time we had settled into the beach, I was starting to not feel so well.  After sitting out in the sun for a bit I made my way over to a shady bench and shortly thereafter, we all decided to hop back on the train and head back into the city.  While waiting for the train I started to not feel so hot – I felt like my blood sugar was really low and was starting to feel really faint; the whole seeing stars and general dizziness.  I bought an iced tea from the vending machine and sat down while we waited for the train and the crappy feeling subsided for the most part.  After we arrived back in the city we grabbed some McD’s for dinner and hung out in the main shopping district before heading back to Vanessa’s hostel.  Once back at the hostel, I started to really not feel well again – all day I had a terrible backache that I had attributed to sleeping in cars and camping for the last 5 days or so, as well as lugging around my overstuffed satchel that was very heavy all day.   I started feeling very lethargic and by 8pm I was ready for bed.  Vanessa kindly offered for me to stay with her that evening, which gave Lionel the car to himself.  It was very nice to sleep in a proper bed.

melbourne library
In the morning I woke up and just was not feeling right.  We ate breakfast, showered and decided to go to the library to get some free internet.  Lionel had been out shopping and said he was going to meet up with us in a bit.  Now that day was not as hot as the previous day, but it was still about 18-20 degrees and overcast.  I had been wearing my zip up and long shorts, and thought that I was more than appropriately dressed for the day.  As we settled into the library, I got the chills really badly.  I had goosebumps everywhere and my stomach was very unsettled.  I tried going outside, thinking that maybe it was the fact that inside it was over airconditioned, but I still wasn’t warming up.  After a while of not knowing what I should do, and really wanting to accompany Lionel and Vanessa to the Movie Museum, I decided to head back to Vanessa’s hostel and try to sleep it off – I assumed that I had probably gotten some sort of sun stroke and dehydration the day before, and was now just feeling the consequences of that.  I slept all afternoon, going through bouts of chills and then really bad hot flashes.  My stomach was still very unsettled and I just was NOT feeling right.  Vanessa had sent me a text saying that the two of them were going to grab dinner and asked if I wanted anything.  Not feeling well, I told them I didn’t want anything to eat and would really appreciate it if they could take me to the hospital once they got back.

They both hurried back to the hostel to find me looking like a hot mess, and they quickly accompanied me to the emergency room.  Upon my arrival, I discovered that I had a fever of 39.8 or nearly 104 degrees—that fever would prove to be one of my nemeses for the next few days! After waiting around for nearly an hour, I told them I’d be fine and that they didn’t have to wait around with me – I’d take a cab back to the hostel when they let me out.  Well, once I was admitted, it was made very clear to me that they had no clue what was going on and I would likely be in the hospital for a few days.  I then had to send Lionel a message letting him know that I would not be able to continue the roadtrip to Sydney, as planned.  He was very kind and dropped off all my stuff that was in the car with Vanessa, at her hostel.  And I spent that first night up until 3pm the next afternoon in the emergency department.

It was an interesting night, to say the least – there was a belligerent drunkard who was giving the poor nurse (bless her, she was so lovely) such a hard time, he even peed on the floor.  Animal.  After being hooked up to an IV for rehydration and to get antibiotics and of course doing countless tests – blood tests, blood cultures, urine tests, stool samples, xrays, etc., they still didn’t have any proper answers, and decided to put me into a more long-term bed.  So I was moved up to the eighth floor and my first room was a shared room – with four beds.  At first it was only an older Italian woman, who was so sweet – but had the thickest Italian accent and it was very difficult to understand, then after dinner an elderly man was brought into the room.  Shortly after he arrived, I was moved to a private room – an isolation room to be exact – because I was (sorry for being graphic) needing the bathroom A LOT.  It wasn’t pretty.

I met the doctor who took care of me that afternoon, prior to being moved up from emergency, and as luck would have it – he was delightfully gorgeous.  And here I was feeling really shitty – pun intended.  It was just my luck.  Totally mortifying having this Adonis taking care of me – especially in the state I was in.

So long story short, once I was put in isolation, I spent 3 more nights and 4 days in the hospital.   It was awful and terribly lonely – I got one visitor on my third afternoon – she took pity on me and decided to meet me at the hospital.  Vanessa was kind enough to bring me a bag of stuff, shampoo, deodorant, clean clothes, etc.!  As crappy as it was being in the hospital, I must say, the nurses and doctors at St. Vincent Hospital took the utmost care of me and it was really comforting to know I was in good hands.  The one thing that I didn’t like one bit, was the fact that from my hospital bed I had a perfect view of one of the museums in Melbourne – which had a giant billboard that was pointed in my window’s direction, advertising the King Tut exhibit.  Those King Tut eyes taunted me for the entire 4 nights/5 days that I spent in the hospital.  I now have an irrational hatred for the Egyptian boy-pharaoh, Tutankhamen.

my view

On day 3, in the afternoon, Dr. Hottie walked in with my test results and told me that I had contracted Campylobacter Enteritis – really bad food poisoning, caused by contaminated meat (basically think salmonella poisoning – like that).  Normally they would have sent the person home on antibiotics and that would be that, but since I was traveling and living in hostels, they didn’t want to discharge me till everything was cleared up.  I was told that if my fever didn’t come back, I may be discharged the following day.  I had gotten my hopes up and was super excited about probably getting to leave, and sure enough the next day, day 4, my fever completely spiked and I felt like a bag of garbage.  I didn’t even push the issue that I desperately wanted to get out of the hospital.  Thankfully, the following day I was fever-free, my stomach seemed to be more settled – not 100% better, but a good 80% or so better than before, and I seemed to have more energy as well as that lingering desire to get the heck out of the hospital.  Later that fifth afternoon, the doctor in charge for the day (not doctor hottie), signed my papers and let me go.  Since they were discharging me on a Sunday, I was told that I was going to have to return the next day to pay my hospital bill.

I called a cab and before I knew it, I was back at Vanessa’s hostel, I managed to check into an empty bed in her room (which is where all my stuff was) and after having discussed it with my parents, I was booking myself a sleeper cabin on the overnight train for the following night (courtesy of them) from Melbourne to Sydney.  The next day was Monday, so I made my way back to the hospital, paid my bills and went back to the hostel to check out.  Vanessa and I had a nice lunch at an Italian restaurant in the heart of the city– I figured I’d thank her for looking after my stuff by taking her out to lunch.  We then went shopping (with our eyes!) and returned back to her hostel where I collected my stuff and eventually left for the train station.

Once on the train, I made a very sad realization that I didn’t get to enjoy the cosmopolitan cultural capital of Australia the way I wanted to.  I didn’t get to go out to the wonderful bars or cafes or museums – I spent my entire time holed up in isolation – where the nurses had to put on their sterilized robe over their clothes before they entered my room!  How sad.  I made a vow, as we pulled out of the station that I will one day return to Melbourne and experience the city as it deserves to be experienced, and truly live it up in a city that I’m told is unique and wonderful and a great place to have a great cultural experience.  So Melbourne, here’s to the time when we finally get to meet again.

Now Playing: Hospital Quiet by Late July (check out her blog http://miss.latejuly.ca)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

strawberry Princess May 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

awwww bad!

I have the same experience when I traveled to a local spot here in the Philippines and really hate it. I feel so alone, the next time i did just after I am well I went diving there again and really did experience the diving life in there.

ps :nice blog hehe. I'm a new follower please do follow me back.

thanks 🙂

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