Second Opinion

The next day went mostly well. I was very drained, but enthusiastic to be better. We decided to check into a nicer hotel on the coast with air conditioning. I had sweated enough in the past few days and wanted a rest from it before the bus journey. We bought the bus tickets for the next day, and headed up to the Msasani Peninsula where we found a much more comfortable hotel and negotiated a reasonable price. There was a bookshop down the road, and a shopping mall, so we headed down to see what we could see. Lunch in a pub, accompanied by a CNN presenter drawing lines on the sand like sports commentary. The book shop was icy, and the sudden change in temperature eventually sent me running for the nearest public convenience, which had been heated up in the sun all day. We bought some books, and headed back to the hotel to rest in the temperature we wanted.

The hotel had a very nice roof terrace where they served a buffet. I quaffed several bowls of carrot soup, and Yuki tucked into some very nice looking crab. Too rich for my condition. Then we turned in, feeling rested and ready for the coming nine hour bus trip north.

And then the stomach pains started again, and wouldn’t go away no matter what I did.

We had arranged for a cab to take us to the bus station at 7, but the driver was a little surprised to see we had no baggage when we jumped in. “Take us to the ISC Medical Centre” Yuki blurted, as I doubled over on the seat.

The ISC Medical Centre was a little more like a British Health Clinic than the Kokni Muslim. Air conditioned, and the staff walked with urgency and purpose. Of course, it cost ten times as much. I was not presented with any match sticks this time. A doctor who looked and sounded like Condaleeza Rice explained that the Cipro I had been given the previous night had not been a long enough course, and the shigella was back. I would have to take a five day course of Cipro, and I must be sure to eat something before taking each twice daily pill.

Back at the hotel I tried to wolf down a dry cracker, and plugged the Cipro into my throat and waited. By lunchtime the pain had become a little more manageable, and Yuki brought me a bowl of soup. The cipro was playing with my taste buds and the soup tasted foul, but I supped it down nonetheless.

In the evening, just before I was due to take the next tablet, I suddenly felt cold and started to shiver. The shiver turned into an uncontrolable shaking, my legs bouncing off the mattress, my arms clutched around me. I was terrified. I was dying! Here far from home, for no reason, from some bacteria in the stomach. The fear fed the shivering fed the fear, dancing around furiously, and Yuki had to talk me down by telling me about her book on the first British man to experience Japan. Eventually I managed to slurp down half a soft banana, and neck the next Cipro in the pack, and lay on my back. When the shivering subsided completely I noticed that the pain in my stomach had gone.


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