Bali, Hi - Eight months in Bali

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Part XIII
Oops!....I did it again
by Mad Dog

 

It hit me the first afternoon I was there. I spent the next two days in bed in a tiny hotel room. Luckily I was too sick to care. Or notice how small it was.

    Iím in Singapore General Hospital, laying on a gurney in the observation area of the Emergency Room with an I.V. in my arm, when La Vie En Rose comes over the PA system. Whatís wrong with this picture?

A. In Singapore itís illegal to play any song with an ĎRí in the title because itís too difficult for the DJs to pronounce.

B. Iím supposed to be in a hawkerís centre eating some yummy food while preparing to go to Malacca, Malaysia with friends.

C. Singapore General Hospital is the name of a soap opera on Channel 5, not a real place.

D. I.V. shouldnít have periods while PA should.

E. Everything.

    That was too easy. Easy enough to be a $100 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, a show which is such a hit in Singapore that theyíre starting their own version, and trust me, the hostís name wonít be Regis. The $200 question will be equally as easy: ďIs it a requirement to get food poisoning on every extended trip?Ē The answerís obvious. At least if youíre me.

Temple in Singapore    I have to say though, that Iíve done well this time. In France I came down with intoxication alimentaire after six weeks. Here it took six months. Obviously the feeling that time passes more slowly in the topics isnít just an illusion, itís a physical reality, something Einstein may have predicted in his General Theory of Relativity but I canít be sure of since I lost my Cliffís Notes edition and Classics Illustrated never put one out.

 

As youíd expect in Singapore, the hospital was clean, neat, efficient, and no one jaywalked. I saw a doctor within five minutes and he had them pouring fluid into my arm 20 minutes later. 

    Another difference is that in France I apparently gave it to myself, while here someone else gave it to me. Thereís no way of knowing if that someone was Balinese or Singaporean, which makes it hard to know where to send the thank-you note. And the hospital bill. Just like who built the monoliths at Easter Island, and why it is someone thought blue M&Ms were a good idea, this too shall remain one of lifeís little mysteries.

    It hit me the first afternoon I was there. I spent the next two days in bed in a tiny hotel room. Luckily I was too sick to care. Or notice how small it was. I was so sick that I spent a half hour watching a third-rate American syndicated TV show called Savoir Faire wondering the entire time how it is a host that incredibly lame can get a TV show, not for a second realizing that a glance at the clock would have answered the question. He was on a show that airs in Singapore at 4:30 AM on a weekday. Duh!

    The third morning I was feeling betteróeither the fever had broken or the air conditioner in the room had finally stopped fluctuating so muchóbut I figured Iíd better go see a doctor anyway. Iíd already looked through the medical section of the Lonely Planet Guide to Idiots Sick in Hotel Rooms in Singapore and ruled out at least three tropical diseases, but that didnít mean I couldnít still have leprosy, Ebola, smallpox, or the one thatís all the rage in Europe right now, foot-and-mouth disease.

Where am I again?       As youíd expect in Singapore, the hospital was clean, neat, efficient, and no one jaywalked. I saw a doctor within five minutes and he had them pouring fluid into my arm 20 minutes later. It had something to do with dehydration and me being dangerously close to being medically classified as a raisin. It was somewhere during the next seven hours and three pints of fluid that I heard La Vie En Rose. The only reason I noticed was that there was no TV, nothing to read, and they wouldnít put my I.V. on a rolling stand so I could go to the movies.

 

 

Unfortunately this meant I didnít get to eat any good food while I was in Singapore, like laksa, fried Hokkien mee, or Burger Kingís Double Beef Rendang Burger. The closest I got was chicken noodle soup and cream crackers. 

    After eight hours they decided they wanted to keep me for another day or two. Apparently they donít get many ang mo (white folks) in there and they find us highly entertaining. Just kidding. Actually they donít think weíre that entertaining at all. The real reason they wanted me to stay was that they were concerned about a tender area of my stomach and didnít think that when they asked ďDoes it hurt when I do this?Ē it was appropriate for me to reply, ďYeah, so quit doing that.Ē Maybe theyíve heard that joke a few too many times. Or perhaps they just didnít understand my accent. I know it wasnít my delivery.

    But as nice as the hospital was, I declined. Iíd already called that morning and moved my flight up by three daysóI figured if Iím going to feel bad Iíd rather not pay a hotel for the privilege of doing it in their room.

    In true Singaporean tradition, I was fined before I left the hospital. Not for spitting, urinating in the elevator, smuggling a durian in my pocket, or littering. No, I was fined for using their facilities. But I canít complain. After all, a visit to the emergency room costs S$80 (about $60 U.S.) and that includes everything. Itís the same whether youíre there for five minutes to get a splinter out, or really get your moneyís worth like I didótaking up space for eight hours, watching three pints of fluid drip into my arm at a rate so slow the Chinese Water Torture would have felt like the Indy 500, and walking out with four prescriptions. I may not be able to bargain in the market, but when it comes to hospitals you canít say Iím not a smart shopper.

    Unfortunately this meant I didnít get to eat any good food while I was in Singapore, like laksa, fried Hokkien mee, or Burger Kingís Double Beef Rendang Burger. The closest I got was chicken noodle soup and cream crackers. I also didnít get to Malacca, though my friends did. Iím hoping they got me a T-shirt that says, ďMy friends went to Malaysia without me and all I got was this lousy T-shirt and food poisoningĒ but it hasnít shown up in the mail yet.

    But at least I didnít miss the Hamster Championship and Enclosure Competition at Tanglin Hall. Thatís not until early April. Of course, first I have to think about whether Iím ready to venture back to Singapore so soon.

Previous ] Part XIV - Strangeness in a Strange Land ]     [Bali, Hi! INDEX]

 

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