Published: August 13th 2008August 13th 2008
We left off in Da Lat...
The plan was to go to Hoi An on the coast. We took a four hour bus ride down out of the hills to Nha Trang, a big resort town on the coast of Vietnam where the Miss Universe competition was recently held. We got in around 12 and checked in for an overnight sleeper bus ride to Hoi An. We had about 7 hours till departure, so we opted to take a dip in the ocean and relax on the beach.
During lunch, Mike's eye starting itching. He took out his contacts and switched to glasses. Swimming was really nice and relaxing--a great break in the middle of a long haul from Da Lat to Hoi An. We got on the bus that night--our first sleeper in Vietnam. Imagine the front seat of a car, reclined back and mounted low to the ground, with area from toes to knees covered, like a cubby for the legs. Now line many of these seats up, head to toe, and put another layer on top, bunk bed style. I tried not to be clausterphobic as we rode through the night, for 12 hours. Mike didn't
get much sleep--his eye was really red, and he felt like something was stuck in it.
When we got to Hoi An at 7 in the morning, Mike was so uncomfortable that we headed straight to the local hospital. The doctor there looked at Mike's eye and told us that he had conjunctivitus. I deposited Mike at a cafe with our bags and set out to find a hotel, which was not as easy as I thought. I was tired and hungry, and the hotels were fairly spread out through town. There seemed to be either pricey rooms or really crappy ones, but not much in between. We settled for an ok room and hunkered down, waiting for Mike to feel better.
Two days later, he didn't feel better, and when he woke up, he had a big white spot on his eye. We headed to a better doctor in Danang, and one day and two flights later, here we are in Bangkok and Bumrungrad hospital--a very interesting place. It's fancy, highly air conditioned, and has a lot of good food. There are people here from all over the world. Its a popular place for wealthy people to come for plastic surgery, healthcare procedures, etc. They even have a desk at the airport that gets you transport to your hotel, and tons of customer service agents who hand out free coffee cards if you wait more than five minutes.
A message from Mike:
Just wanted to let you folks know about my eye...some of you might have heard through the grapevine that i've lost my eye already so to clear up any confusion and second-hand gossip...here's the deal.
About 10 days ago brooke and i were in vietman and i awoke one morning with my right eye bothering me. i thought it was the usual contact lens bothering me or an eyelash stuck somewhere so i didn't pay too much attention to it as the itch will go away. that night it got worse, lots of redness and much pain. went to the local hospital the next morning and was diagnosed as having conjunctivitus - "pink eye."
the next two days i used the eye drop medication but my eye did not seem at all to get better, and at this point, my pupil was scary white, red everywhere else, and swollen shut; i couldn't see a thing.
we went to a more distinguished hospital in the next closest city and there, i was diagnosed with having not pink eye, but a serious eye infection, of which, i need to get to either the international hospital in bangkok or singapore to get the best treatment. so passage to bangkok we went immediately via plane and now here we be.
After several appts with two eye specialists, a cornea scraping (which was Gnarly), and a week of treatment...i have been diagnosed with having this bad bacteria/infection that is caused from leaving my contacts in too
long. the eye drop treatment i'm using now is working, but very slowly. my eye feels better, but still swollen and painful, but it is getting better which i'm thankful for. i have another appt thursday.
the doctor says it will probably take 1 to 2 more weeks before the infection is fully gone, so i'll be here till then. once the infection is "quiet," i may or may not need cornea transplant surgery...it
depends on how bad my eye has been damaged and how well my eye heals. the doctor says in some cases my eye may heal on its own and not require any surgery, but in all likelyhood, the bacteria has damaged enough layers of the cornea that i'll require a "minor" cornea transplant. Overall, the prognosis sounded good...i'm happy that, at the moment, i'm not going to have a glass eye...of which, i've already
decided that i'd rather have the raider eye patch instead of a fake eyeball if worse comes to worse. brooke has been great helping me through this, and i'm so glad she's been by my side. we'll probably be
coming home soon so we'll be in touch when we get back. i hope all of you are staying healthy and in good shape....and for those that wear contacts overnight - be advised it's not good to do so.
And a big message from both of us:
This is NOT the result of traveling to some far away place and getting sick. It could have happened at home, too. We would be very sad if anyone added this to their list of reasons why they won't travel to a lesser developed part of the world. Overall, we have a had a wonderful, safe trip and met many interesting and friendly people.