Days off: catching the local illness

Despite all my best efforts to strengthen the old immune system, including frequent hand washing, vitamin C tablets, eating local honey, drinking bottled water…you get the idea, I was struck down by the local bug going round. The day started off brilliantly with my first stab at ‘double boating’, where you set off at 7.30am on the morning boat for two dives, have an hour or so at the dive centre to grab lunch then hop back on around 12.30pm for two more. On my third dive I was starting to feel a bit funny, but went down with the group putting it down to a spot of tiredness. About five minutes into the dive my body started to convulse with shivers, and I totally lost control of motor function in every which way. After half an hour of stupidly suffering in silence, my amazing buddy Gill noticed that I was in a bad way and made the sign for an emergency ascent to our divemaster, Doug. We came up and I couldn’t even catch my breath, I had become that cold (it was in fact quite warm that day, the water was about 28 degrees.) Doug was brilliant and so supportive, telling me off for not mentioning the problem sooner – never again, I promise. They plonked me up on the boat to warm up and wait out the last dive, where I was wrapped in everyone’s towels and waited for the shivers to subside. What followed was a solid nap back at the room, fan and air con switched off, then a roast chicken dinner and warming caramel latte from our new favourite coffee shop, complete with comfy sofas and a wide array of lost and left behind books from all over the world.

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Then disaster struck from about midnight onwards. Needless to say I won’t be facing a roast chicken dinner anytime soon, and I was so lucky to have such brilliant, caring and medically qualified friends surrounding me during this time of need. While Abi went to smash her final rescue course exam the following morning, I caught up on some reading and drifted in and out of consciousness (it had been a rough night).

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My lovely roomie then came back, having cancelled her afternoon dive to look after the sick patient. Having advised me to follow the BRAT diet (banana, rice, apple and toast) we ordered a margarita pizza for her, toast with no butter but two jams for me, and rented a cracking film on iTunes called Before I Go To Sleep.

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It was the best recovery plan a girl could wish for, and I had my amazing mum giving me all the love in the world, complete with the most incredible advice from my brilliant aunt who is a nurse (and knows everything about everything – it’s truly unbelievable. Thank you Joan!)

Once I was on the mend, stuffed full of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Buscopan and rehydration tablets, I ventured out for a detoxifying juice of pineapple, ginger, lemon and apple from Cafe del Sol around the corner. Finally, we have found a place where the drinks aren’t crammed full of either sugar or sugar syrup, sometimes even both.

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Nobody was feeling particularly up to par due to a night of beer pong at Simple Life followed by dancing at Sunset until closing. A little birdie even told me they saw Gill diving off the top board into the pool in her undies! I, for one, am so gutted to have missed this. But next time I’ll be sure to be jumping in with her. We all decided to toddle along to the idyllic Shark Bay, where there is a stunning resort called Haad Tien that you can quite easily sneak into to enjoy the facilities.

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Tess cleverly brought her Bose speakers, complete with an epic Summer playlist, and we lounged on the oversized sunbeds all day, soaking up the bits of sun (it was quite cloudy) and enjoying some of the cocktails they had to offer. Piña coladas, mojitos and a banana and strawberry shake for me – as you can imagine, alcohol is firmly off the cards for a few more days.

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From left to right we have Tess (here doing her DMT with her boyfriend Ryan), me, Abi and Gill.

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My first proper meal in days was a gloriously cheesy pizza – since eyeing up Abi’s during our filmathon I had some serious pizza on the brain.

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The boys tried to spot some sharks in the bay but sadly the visibility was so poor they could hardly see a hand in front of their face. Instead they messed around with a ball, frolicked in the surf and lounged around generally feeling a bit hungover. We call this piece ‘Ross on the Rock’.

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It was a fantastically chilled day (precisely what the doctor ordered), made all the better by the top notch service we received at the resort. Tess gallantly polished off two hefty bottles of Prosecco, so we ended up being treated like members of royalty. They led us to the free salad bar where we excitedly ate our first non-fried vegetables of the trip. Even when the rain started they ushered us inside and plied us with free coffees, after we’d settled the bill. Still feeling a bit fragile, the group dropped me off at Blue Wave with a packet of Oreos and the wish for an early night, hoping tomorrow will bring a slightly more stronger and back to normal me.

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