July 24 Dream changes a bit
Early morning I notice that the wound in my face is not getting smaller but is growing instead. There is a swelling around the eye and I don’t trust what I see. I asked the campsite owner and she told me that there is a hospital in town. That is much better than I expected because Google did not show any hospital in a wide region. She borrowed me a bicycle and I found the hospital pretty easily. It was a smaller communal hospital and after ringing an emergency number on the door - it is Sunday - a nurse came to open the door. I told her the story of something in my eye, being able to rinse it out and the spot above my eye and the potential relationship. She took pictures of my eye and forwarded it to the doctor in Storuman. Storuman is the next bigger city about 70 km away. She also tried to examine my eye for potential remaining small particles. Due to the swelling in my eye that was difficult. Ultimately the conclusion was that the doctor would like to examine my eye as well. In addition she prescribed my some pills for my head. Because it was Sunday I would need to wait for the doctor to be in Sorsele on Monday. Another option was to drive to Storuman. That is what I did. I went back to the campsite, had a fast breakfast, and packed my stuff.
To get to Storuman took me around an hour. Somehow I didn’t feel like taking backroads or gravel roads.In the hospital they knew I was coming so the communication worked really well. I had to wait for a few hours but ultimately I met the doctor. She repeated her conclusion for my eye - but I did not capture it. She also inspected my eye and confirmed there was no debris or something left in my eye. She gave me some creme and pills and I was a happy camper. I would soon be recovered was my expectation.
I spent the night on a campsite in Storuman. Beautiful campsite where I met Jon - a fellow rider from Amsterdam. We hiked together to a museum/ coffee on an peninsula. The sun was shining and we had a good time. Toward the evening I cooked my dinner not knowing that would be the last dinner for a couple of days. Despite the rain during the night, I slept ok. More annoying was a guy that was doing donuts with his car all night and close to the campsite. What an a..hole.
July 25 Drastic decision
I woke up after a shitty night and decided to change course and head for my friend Ronny. Instead of going north I will be going south. My head was not getting better and somehow I didn’t trust the pills. I would need to ride 350 kilometres. Normally the would already be a stretch, but in this case it was hard. My head was swollen and I noticed pressure points on the right side of the head. Also underneath met hair. Not sure what it was, but wearing my helmet was no fun. I stopped often the take my helmet off and to sleep for 30 minutes to an hour. I was also wearing my rain suit again because I was cold. Probably the fever but at that moment I didn’t consider that option. With one eye open and lifting my helmet while riding to relive pressure, I made it to Ronny. He was out but they left a door open. I unpacked some stuff and went to bed. I woke up when he and Josephien came back. I was not the best company that afternoon and early evening. After dinner - 2 potato parts and a Swedish ball - I went to bed very early.
July 26 Hospital 3 and 4
Fortunately Ronny and Josephien noticed that I didn’t look like I should. To say the least. Ronny called the emergency hotline and organised an appointment at a nearby hospital. Upon arrival I did my best performance and threw up in the drive way. Together with my appealing looks, they forwarded me to a fourth hospital about an hour away. Ronny drove me there. I don’t know what I should’ve done if he wasn’t there. I would by far not have been able to wear a helmet, let alone riding. So luck was on my side again and in the next hospital the investigations really started. Ronny and I understood I would get some antibiotics and go home again. We were both wrong. They took blood samples, inspected my eyes again, too a puncture in my spine to get to the central nerve system. Poor Ronny had to wait until 10PM or so before they told him I needed to stay. Not eleven allowed to say goodbye because of COVID. I learned from Ingrid through Ronny that I needed to stay. I camped in a single room which was great in a way. My own bathroom, my own bed and no cars driving around a campsite to keep me awake.
July 27 - 29 In hospital
All in all I stayed inside the hospital for 4 nights. I stayed at the department for infectious diseases. That means I was not allowed to go to the hallway and the poor nurses had to change every time to went from one room to the other. I was Abe to walk outside because every room had an exit to the hospital property. After 2 days I did take a walk for a few minutes. Lying in bed all day is not great. Especially not if you have blisters on the whole right side of your head. I was - and still am - only able to sleep with my head resting on the left side. I shared my room with a guy who had his mechanical heart valve explanted due to an infection, He now has a biological heart valve but is still fighting the infection. Not sure if he has an Edwards valve.
In hospital I received anti-viral treatment. An infuse 3 to 4 time a day and luckily the treatment worked. I felt much better every day. The doctors, nurses, staff were very kind and caring. The doctors came by every day. The second day in hospital I received an MRI to check if my brain got infected but luckily it was 'only' my head and central nerve system.
July 30 - August 2 Friends are like stars
After these wonderful days in hospital I was released. Ronny and Josephien picked me up to bring me ‘home’. We stopped to buy an ice cream and although it was enormous I finished it and didn’t feel nauseous afterwards. The rest of the days I ate, drank tea, slept, ate some more and enjoyed the warmth and love from Ronny and Josephien. They let me use their ‘holiday’ cottage. I call it the villa because it is beautiful, spacious with my own bed and bathroom, kitchen and living room.
“Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them but you know they are there”. If there is one lesson I learned that is the one. I like to thank all you you that have texted me, have contacted Ingrid or have thought about me or prayed for me. It is more than appreciated and obviously it helped. If I was in hospital later, if I didn’t ride to Ronny, if… etc. I guess it all happened for a reason and what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. With all your help, it would have been much more difficult!