Misery, thy name is the two-headed serpent of cystitis and thrush. Ill in a foreign country — curses! I'd been awake for hours, drinking water and moaning softly in the loo as lava wee escaped me in barely measurable amounts. I'd thrust my fingers inside in a vain attempt to scratch the itch that mocked me from within. I'd looked longingly at the hairbrush, wondering just how much damage it would actually cause, and whether it would be worth it.
It's a common enough holiday situation for me. A combination of consistently damp nethers, in which sweat mingles unwholesomely with pool water and stray sunscreen, together with a predilection for the obscenely large measures of rum in the rum and coke over the sensible option of gallons of water. Add to it the change of diet and routine, and we are almost there. The only final indignity would be raging constipation, and, oh! I had that too. In spite of shovelling the equivalent of a truckload of all-inclusive we'll-cook-and-you-don't-even-have-to-wash-up food into my mouth, I was as bunged as a noisy wasp in a bottle. My puckered eye knows when it is faced with an unfamiliar loo and refuses, on principle, to discharge its contents until optimum discomfort has been attained.
In all this undercarriage misery, you may be forgiven for thinking that I had sidelined my sunburn and bite unhappiness, but it was still there. Tuesday was spent reading a good book, and as a result my sunburn was book-shaped. Add to that the general droopiness of my tits, a situation inclined to hamper consistent sun access to the dark side of the boobs, and you witness a perplexing dado rail of red and white across my rib cage. And although mosquitoes were mercifully absent, there was a biting something . I don't know what they looked like, but they left massive welts in their wake. One bit me on my forehead. I looked like the bastard half-bred imp of Satan.
And on that bright morning, with sunburn hurting, bites itching, and nether region hell unabated, I felt like the bastard half-bred imp of Satan's grumpier mother-in-law.
But, no, it got worse.
Twelve short hours later found me in the hotel clinic. Even though I was curled like a fetus, hands clamped to my groin, and moaning none too quietly, I was most concerned of all that the tall, handsome doctor did not wish to perform an internal examination. I knew I was faced with a vaginal exam in a Muslim country. I knew I was sporting a totally bald snatch and three sizeable piercings. I experienced a rare coyness. But without so much as a nod in the direction of my aching undercarriage, he surveyed my misery, employed the age-old fever detection method of hand on the forehead, and declared, "intravenous antibiotic."
"Whatever," I moaned, prepared to give him anything he wanted if he would just stop it from hurting. "I have sneaky veins," I announced, and started to laugh. I laugh when I'm scared, and I've had some horrendous experiences of inept vampires hunting for my blood. It nonplussed the doctor a little.
My veins heard him rustle the needles from their sterile packets and burrowed deeper within my fat layer. As he traveled the thwarted needle like a hovercraft over veinless flesh, he saw the scars of my failed suicides and my self-harm, angry with sunburn, and tutted in a way that transcends language barriers. In the end, Andrew was my tourniquet, gripping my hand until the veins had nowhere left to run. The doctor got the drip in first time, and I was too ill to congratulate him.
I began to feel better, but by no means back to strength. My bladder was tender, my kidneys ached, and the soft squishy bits round my happiness zone were rubbed into raw meat by my desperate fingers.
So another day was ruined, and I was forced to consider that a day out for mental pain, a day out for physical, is not fair on the family during a short seven-day holiday.
Bodies -- altogether too high maintenance for my liking.