Thursday, 14 June 2007

Does this make me Singaporean?

When I managed to wrangle my way onto not one but two Brisbane trips this month, I was super excited for a few reasons: 1. the prospect of multiple stays in Singapore meant I could get the fried rice fix I'd been after for months, 2. I was getting OUT of Dubai - two weeks on ground was excessive and 3. The first trip was stealth - my Mum and Dad honestly thought they were meeting my bestie Jena for lunch and I showed up!

I can honestly say that after calling sick and spending five days there, I'm so over Singapore now.

My first Brissie trip was going so well - I was home, seeing my cousins, and catching up with my nearest and dearest. Mum and Dad were both stunned when I walked out of the hotel and my brother was equally as excited when I picked him up after school. We had morning tea with Gran and Pop, and Stella and Sienna were there - looking gorgeous in the dresses I'd given them last year. I had presents to unload, cake to eat and news to catch up on.

Gorgeous Jon is heading to the States for a Camp America experience next week and we took that chance to catch up over a few dinners. We had dinner in the valley at a great Vietnamese restaurant with friends and towards the end of the meal a girl who looked very familiar walked in the door - it was Freya!

Due to conflicting schedules, I hadn't seen Freya in ages - she was on a Brisbane trip 5 days behind me and it was lovely to talk for 10 minutes.

It's finally been raining in Brissie - a solid day and a half while I was there had me so excited I could have jumped in the puddles. When I left the grass was greener and I'm sure the birds were chirpier! My cat and I had some good cuddle time, but I had to call it quits when she decided to camp out on my pillow while I was asleep. Talk about a pillow hog! I was worried she'd either smother me or give me fleas.

It wasn't until the last day that I started to feel fluey. A quick stop to the chemist to grab some cold & flu meds and then back to the hotel to get ready for the flight to Singapore. I felt a little sniffley and had a scratchy throat and the beginnings of a phone-sex voice, but other than that I was ok. By the time we were preparing to land in Singers, my head was so congested, my nose rubbed raw and the pain in my sinuses increasing. I took a seat in the cockpit for landing, knowing it wasn't going to be pretty. I sat, head in hands, from about 26000 feet to the ground with tears pouring down my cheeks. The perplexed pilots could only rub my head and murmur condolences occasionally, as they had more pressing work to do. My exit from the cockpit might have been subtle, but my eyes gave me away as either a crier or a druggo! They were red and bloodshot, but my mascara stayed in place - good old clinique!

I'd been rabbiting on about raisin toast on the bus out of Brisbane and David our pilot was telling me about the best fruit & nut loaf that he's found in Singers. I passed out as soon as I got into bed, but evidently David did not. I woke many hours later to find a little care package of that bread and some milk hanging on my door, with a 'hang in there' note attached. It was so touching - there are still some nice, polite, genuine pilots out there.

I got in touch with a doctor through Emirates and he tapped on my face, poked my sinuses and then said 'no flying for three days'. This was starting to sound like my last sinus issue. Little did I know it was much, much worse. He started pulling all sorts of drugs out of his little briefcase and before I knew it, I was dosed to the eyeballs and pretty much slept through the next three days. In my lucid moments, I wandered down the road for more rice and a subway sandwich. By the end of my stay, the boys knew what I wanted before I'd even asked for it!

The good doc returned in three days and peered in my ears and asked how I felt. I told him that I didn't feel much better and that my left ear had blocked up the day I first saw him and I still couldn't equalise it. His response? 'You coming to the hospital with me for an ENT review - get changed'. I followed him downstairs like the off-balance little lamb I felt like and was amused to find an ambulance waiting for me. Yes, an AMBULANCE. We travelled all of 5 blocks and I swear when we arrived the lights were flashing! How ridiculous. Typical of Asia's obsession with cute and small things - the ambulance was pint-sized. I sat squished up in the back with the stretcher, feeling like something was slightly amiss.

Next stop - the ENT department where the doctor who saw me had a mole on the side of his face with more hair extruding than my armpit could probably produce in a month! He also poked and prodded and then announced 'I'm going to spray anesthetic up your nose and then look up there with a scope'. Great - invasion of my nostrils. In the meantime, they hooked me up in a booth and I sat for a hearing test. I must say that the scope up the nose was far more uncomfortable than everyone made out. As a child it used to take 3 adults to restrain me for a simple blood test. Yeah, drama queen.

I'd say I made a few sputtering sounds as the scope was threaded up towards my brain - I must say that the pictures of the inside of my sinuses aren't pretty. The results? Great news - some possible treatment options - steroids, a sinus flush OR (my favourite) sinus surgery.

After getting the all-clear two days later, and having Freya's flight catch up and then beat me back to Dubai, I was finally allowed to leave! I was dead-headed home (flew as a passenger) and almost squealed in delight when I was handed a business class boarding pass. I promptly fell asleep and arrived to a 32 degree morning. Returning the duty free float I'd held captive for five days, meeting my manager and then heading to the clinic today have all taken they're toll.

It's time to rest up and in three days I'll be heading back to Singapore, en route to Brissie for the second time!

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