I had a full day planned, up at six and then on the road to Kalmunai to shoot some more housing and to Akkaraipattu to look at a vocational training centre and bridge by USAid in Potturvil. The plan was to end up in Arugam Bay for the night and then head west for the hospital in Elpitiya.

So on the road and I start to think ‘I’m aching a bit’ I couldn’t work it out and I thought it might be from the swimming yesterday and I was really unfit.

I managed to shoot one project on route.

The day dragged on and I’d just made it to my first port of call Kalmunai. As I got out of the car I noticed that Toney’s car had very ‘slick’ tyres! I took it to a tyre shop and they said I couldn’t go any further on them. There was literally no tread on them. I had about another 4 hours driving so I needed it sorted. Credits to Tony, when I phoned up and told him he said just replace them and he’d pat me back.

 

At this point, physically I was feeling quite darned. Little parts of my brain were saying ‘your really ill’ and the other Logan parts were saying ‘you need a coffee and to get going’.

 

Once back in the car I realised that I need to sleep or find some kind of refuse somewhere. So riddled with guilt I ditched the day’s photography and headed to my final destination Arugam bay.

As suspected there was not much surf and the car was really struggling too. It had started to shudder and stall in 1st gear and going round corners had just been cutting out.

In some fever ridden decision making I decided to try and drive from Arugam bay to Ahamgama to the Solar Garden about a about 6 hour drive.

 

With a full tank of petrol, it was about 4 o’clock and just me and the open road. The first 20k were just dirt road and then it merged on to some smooth A4 tarmac winding though the hills and paddy fields.

Once I topped up the oil and water the car seemed to fare a bit better. Apart form the wheel balancing. I couldn’t go over 70kph because the back on the car would start bouncing and wobbling all over the road. Driving under these restrictions with the windows up and the heaters blowing like it was a winter’s day I realised that I must be really ill. I had a chill in 40c heat.

 

I was committed to the trip now and there were no guesthouses on the rout. I just had to get there. The driver’s seat was a pool of water as I sweated though my shirt and shorts shivering withed deluded panic and focus. The headlamps and the occasional bus bearing in on me like some kind of fever tunnel with the road tethering off in to the distance. I made it to the Solar garden by about 10ish and collapsed.

 

I spent two days in bed still thinking I might have some bad case of sun stroke, but after explaining the symptoms to my dad over the phone he said ‘get a blood test looks like malaria’

 

I got a tuk tuk to Matara the nearest private hospital. I arrived after the 35 min drive dripping from head to toe with dank hair and what must have been a crazed look in my eyes shouting ‘Malaria, I have malaria, I need help’.

 

They took me in quickly and I saw a Doctor strait away.  I was still cracking up and feeling quite mad and lost and generally getting very mad with people then passing out and giving up for a rest, then re-lunching in to my mad tirades to try and get a blood test and a bed.

 

They had me almost restrained to a bed and a nurse came at me with one of the biggest needles I’ve ever seen. My mind was swirling with panic that the needle wasn’t clean, she had no gloves on, was I going to die ( And in my head thought it might be the best option to escape the pain, I’ve never felt like that would be a viable answer before, defiantly feeling under the weather!)? Then as the nurse looms towards me she says ‘Just a little prick!’

 

Well I completely lost it, I was in stitches, possibly the funniest thing that had ever been said to me, and one of the only English sentences that day too! The fever was stong. They must of thought that I’d finally flipped but if that hadn’t made me crack up so much I think I would have been in a pool of tears

 

The blood tests came back and I had dengue fever.

 

I’ve spent the last 6 days in Siri Hospital in Matara on as drip feeling like a 10th of he man I did.  The problem with dengue fever is it gets in to your muscles and leves you very week for months after, some times years!

 

The fever took a few days to leave my body. In these days I can’t really remember what happened. I was coming back and forth from conciseness. I knew I had tubes in my arm and there were people taking my blood every now and then. I was still dressed in my grey shorts and flannel shirt that o drove down in form the east coast when I finally found my head again. They hadn’t thought to make me comfortable or give me some pyjamas.

 

Once this section of the fever passed then my body turned a very strange red colour all over. It was like I’d been on a really strong sun bed. My skin was almost to the point of blistering. This seemed to last another few days. Then my feet and hands started to itch. This truly drove me mad with the splitting headache and my body and my fingerers tingling and trying to scratch at something that wasn’t there.

 

This was also when the new friends that I’d made in Sri Lanka really shone. I’d only met Tony and Pauline a few times, I phoned him up to say I had the fever and if he had any advise. I’d remembered he’d had it a few times. The next day Tony was down in Matara and had clean shorts for me. It was also nice to have a friendly person to chat to. Something I’d really missed since no one spoke English in the hospital.

 

Then later that day there had been a knock at the door. It was Tony Rent A Car’s cousin! Tony was in Colombo and couldn’t come but he sent his brother who bought me some fruit, and phone charger. I mentioned that I desperately missed some European food and retuned in about 30 minutes with a pizza! This was incredibly genres and thoughtful.

 

Later that night Upal’s from Solar gardens relative turned up and insisted on buying me a shirt to were in bed. He also gave me a toothbrush and toothpaste. Something I really needed after days of fever. Later on that week Upal come down and told me how everyone at the Solar Garden had been so worried. I also needed my laptop and some books. As I got a bit better boredom and frustration started setting in. He sent down two of his reliable chaps. The ones I’d help wash their dogs. They came down with all me stuff I needed for the next few days.

 

I was really touched that some people that I’d come across in my short stay in Sri Lanka took me into there hearts and went out of there way to not only look after me but also give me support. I’m not sure if you’d find a hotel owner or a car rental man in England would take such care of there customers. I think you can count these people as friends. They are certainly very prod of there country and care how people experience their time here and take responsibility on a larger scale rather then just them self.

 

I am no at an amazing retreat up the coast with my mum taking it easy for a while waiting to feel energised to carry on project Lanka

 

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