The travelling pharmacy: A holiday story

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Part one: Doomed from the beginning

Ok, this is the aftermath of my holiday. There’s a lot to say and before I recite the story multiple times, including or omitting certain details as I see fit, it’s probably best that I utilise my skills as a storyteller (and a multimedia storyteller at that) and compile all the details right here.

The itinerary went like this:

Wednesday morning – depart from Perth, stop over in Adelaide, arrive in Melbourne.

Saturday evening – watch the football: St Kilda vs West Coast Eagles.

Sunday morning – fly to Sydney.

Sunday afternoon – watch the football: Sydney Swans vs Fremantle Dockers.

Wednesday morning – fly back to Perth.

One week. The primary motivation was football, but the rest of the time could be filled with shopping, touristing, aimless wandering, those sorts of things. I’ve been to Melbourne three times before (all within the last couple of years) but it was my first trip to Sydney.

And the holiday was doomed from the beginning.

Well, the story starts precisely three nights before departure. Sunday night, I get a cold. I break out in a cold sweat. My nose and throat is clogged and mucus-ey, I’ve got a splitting headache and my stomach is doing a trapeze act while the audience watches in anticipation for the fall. And they’re chanting “barf, barf, barf, barf…” but my stomach just doesn’t want to. I can’t sleep no matter how much I want to. Every time I move I feel like I’m gonna be sick, and it’s a matter of holding out until I convince myself that’s what’s going to happen and I get up and hug the toilet bowl. Nothing. And I’ve got no meds in the cupboard. All I can do is lay down in bed and make pretend I’m sleeping.

The next day I go out and stock up on cold lollies and panadol. It helps. I get a bundle of winter clothes to keep my asthma from rearing its ugly head out on the cold Melbourne streets. I even get a shirt with a bunch of monkeys dressed as people. That’s sure to lift my spirits.

The Monday night I’m feeling a bit better. Certainly I’m keeping the cold at bay and I can actually sleep. The next day I go out and do some more last-minute holiday shopping with my mother. Oh, by the way, it’s a family holiday. My mother, father, brother and me. Going to the east coast and watching some footy. And with my meds, I feel like it should be ok.

Tuesday night I was never going to get much sleep. Early flight. I brought a few books to read but I don’t read a lot. I just read a bit of ‘Kraken’ by China Mieville and listen to a piano album I bought the night before that was a bunch of Studio Ghibli soundtracks adapted for piano. Kind of made me wish I had a proper piano (as opposed to my 5 octave keyboard) to get into playing piano music again. I can’t find the piano covers I’ve been listening to, but this melody’s been stuck in my head a lot lately:

So I was reading Kraken and listening to my piano music on the flight to Adelaide. Then came the flight’s landing, which was one of the most painful feelings I’ve had shooting through my head. I was half-deaf by the time I got off the plane and I had a splitting headache like back when I used to get frequent migranes. Strong shit that makes me want to destroy things for the pain to go away. Coming down on that flight, all I could do was take my meds and focus on my music and hope that was enough.

The problem with that was that I had another flight to go. Barely an hour and then I was on the flight to Melbourne, which – fortunately – was a shorter flight, but – unfortunately – gave me less time to recover. And the landing into Melbourne was the same thing all over again. Clutching my head and wondering when the fuck the landing procedure was going to end and when the pain was going to go away. All the while replaying that fifty minutes of piano covers of songs from those cute Japanese cartoon films.

Yeah, the holiday was doomed from the beginning…

Disclaimer: It’s not all bad news. Later on in the story I’ll include some reviews of books, movies, shops, restaurants, hotels and stuff that made the trip less miserable than I’m making it out to be here.

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