Mr. Ben in hospital (Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia)


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Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Kota Kinabalu
July 28th 2009
Published: July 27th 2009
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(Day 480 on the road)This trip of mine is all about new experiences. And spending nine days in a hospital in Borneo was certainly a new experience.

The doctors are not quite what happened to me, but I somehow sustained an injury to my inner ear, causing me to loose my balance (temporary hopefully) and 30%!o(MISSING)f hearing on my right ear (permanent unfortunately). It could have been due to the pressure changes during diving or a viral infection in the ear.

In any case, from one moment to the next I felt dizzy and sick, just before boarding a flight from Sipadan back to Kota Kinabalu. During the short flight my condition deteriorated fast, and I threw up an uncountable number of times. By the end of the flight, I could not walk anymore on own and had to be taken into the terminal building in a wheelchair (that was definitely a first for me in my life). In the airport, I was soon surrounded by three scared-looking and completely masked and gloved health officials, who tested me for symptoms of swine flu (negative, at least). It was all a terribly scary experience. I soon found out that especially any movement of my head made me sick - later I would literally get out of bed to walk to the toilet, and by the time I reached there I was so sick I had to throw up. Not a very nice experience at all!

After an initial examination by a general practitioner (GP) I was admitted into the Sabah Medical Centre in Kota Kinabalu, a private, modern hospital. I was tremendously lucky to have Karen travelling with me, who took care of - well - pretty much everything - hospital admission, paperwork, insurance, cancelling our next flights etc. I am not sure what I would have done without her, as I was pretty much unable to do anything myself. Karen stayed for another few days, but there wasn't anything she could do to speed up my recovery, and after it was clear that I would not be able to continue my travels anytime soon she left for the Philippines and later Taiwan. How I wish I could have gone with her, the trip we had planned together months in advance...but it was not to be.

In the hospital, I was universally known as "Mr. Ben", to nurses, caretakers and doctors alike. I am sure they all knew that Ben was my first name, but that didn't stop them from calling me Mr. Ben. I tried to correct them at first (to no avail), and after a while I could not be bothered anymore.

The days in the hospital were insanely boring. Apart from two daily sessions of physiotherapy to teach my body how to function without my right ear balancing organ working, I was laying in bed all day, watching Malaysian TV or reading my book. For nine days in a row.

When I was finally discharged from the hospital, the doctor presented me with a three week no-flying limit to ensure a full recovery of the small hole in my ear, essentially preventing me from leaving Borneo. It turned out however that I could not have gone anywhere anyway, as I was so shaky on my feet. Even as I write these lines, four weeks after the incident, my balance is far from back to normal. Especially in low light I am (still) very unstable, as my body is relying heavily on sight for my balance until my ear-balancing is working again. This might take up to three months, great. Oh, and if you are really interested in my illness, it is called Perilymph Fistula.

So the next three weeks I stayed in Kota Kinabalu. The first two weeks I spent mostly in my hostel (with my little laptop and free Internet, my saviours), as I was unable to walk much. Later I took a three-day trip to Kinabalu Park as a first test of travelling again. It didn't go too well, with me falling down on the public bus, much to the amusement of the whole bus, but not so funny for me or the poor woman onto whose lap I fell. But it wasn't too bad either and all in all better than expected, and being out and about felt great after the involuntary rest of the last three weeks.

After that short excursion I was pondering long and hard what to do - slowly continuing my trip or going home to Germany until complete recovery. In the end, after weighing all the options, I decided to slowly keep going to see how I get on. If it turns out that I am not fit to keep on travelling, I will go home. But for now I have decided to hit the road again (after a mere four-week delay) and will head to Jakarta to meet back up with my friend Endah there. After that I am planning to meet up with my mum in Taiwan, who is joining me on my travels for a couple of weeks. That should be interesting, my dear mother!

Next stop: Jakarta (Java, Indonesia).



To view my photos, have a look at pictures.beiske.com. And to read the full account of my journey, have a look at the complete book about my trip at Amazon (and most other online book shops).




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27th July 2009

Hey Ben, are you sure u r ok to continue, doesnt sound very good to me. It could potentially be dangerous as you might fall or injure yourself more. But be careful its your health dont end up having any long term effects from the injury. Take care Sadia
27th July 2009

Gute Besserung
Hey my friend, hope you will turn back well pretty soon. Strange thing what happened to you! In my mind I am with you all time, your friend, Svente
27th July 2009

Ups...
Pass auf Dich auf - ich drücke Dir die Daumen, dass Du weiter reisen kannst
27th July 2009

take care!
Hi ben, Sad to hear about it..but I guess health is the most important, maybe you will regret later if anything serious happened...but for travel, you can start again later ever though you are working, you can travel short trips every time.. I am really worrying about you, do keep us post on your situation..
27th July 2009

Gute Besserung
Hi Ben, Anja ist grad hier und wir haben Deinen Blogeintrag gelesen. Wir wünschen Dir gute Besserung , dass Du noch viel erleben kannst und Deine Reise fortsetzen kannst. Viele Grüße aus Berlin Anja und Oli
28th July 2009

Skifahren noch möglich?
Hey Ben, auch von mir gute Besserung - ich hoffe, dass sich Deine Perilymphfistel nicht dauerhaft auf Deine Skikünste auswirkt? ;-) Viele Grüße aus Münster, Dennis
29th July 2009

It's quite coincidence that I watched House (the TV series) where a patient fell sick on the plane during a flight from Malaysia. And the reason for such occurrence is that the traveler went for diving before taking the flight which cause sudden change of air pressure environment. Maybe the same case of your (and in the same country as well...heheh)
30th July 2009

Hi!
Hi Mr. Ben!!! ;-) I read you last notice in your dairy - it's very unpleasant assist in the hospital :-( I Hope that everything is Okay and you fully recover your health :-) and soon you'll be delight us new pictures and stories :-) You are a GREAT TRAVELER!!! with best wishes, Natalie
30th July 2009

You are welcome in Singapore
Hi Ben, If you need some time to recover, please do not hesitate to come on up to Singapore. I am around for the next three weeks (away for some of September) and then i am also in Singapore for much of October. Let me know if you need anything! K
30th July 2009

Best wishes to you
Hi Ben, Are you getting better now after leaving the hospital ? very sorry to know that you were very sick. Hope you having a speedy recovery. Will pray for you! Denise
3rd August 2009

Drs crudentials
I'm surprised that you didn't mention that your consultant used to be the doctor for the Sultan of Brunei. Its not like you to miss a name dropping opportunity.... I'm just about to have my last Horlick Ping and Roti Cannai. Missing them already.
9th August 2009

I hope you are now recovering well. Take care in Jakarta! let me know if/when you are coming to Melbourne!Maybe dose of cold weather will do you good! :)
9th August 2009

I hope you are now recovering well. Take care in Jakarta! let me know if/when you are coming to Melbourne!Maybe dose of cold weather will do you good! :)
9th August 2009

Mr. Ben, alles Jute für die weitere Reise!! Lass dich nicht unterkriegen.
9th August 2009

Ben I hope you will be completely fine soon
9th August 2009

Do take care of yourself ... thinking of you
9th August 2009

Sorry to hear that, hope you feel better soon.
9th August 2009

Oh... Borneo's hospitals love us ! Take care. It's good if your mother comes. (For me, it was not dengue but pyelonephritis - an ascending urinary tract infection)
9th August 2009

Wow, Ben... the scans are extremly impressive, the story is... well, scary indeed. Hope you'll fully recover soon and wish you all the best for your travels! Keep going!
9th August 2009

Hi Ben, Anja war grad hier und wir haben Dir nen Kommentar in den Blog geschrieben. Hoffen, dass alles gut wird und Du Deinen Trip fortsetzen kannst. Viele Grüße aus Berlin
9th August 2009

Read your blog... youve really had an adventure if you can call it that! Just glad you recovering. Hope u have a fab time with your mom.
9th August 2009

Scary experience. Hope you are feeling much better now. Get well soon!
19th August 2009

Gute Besserung
Hallo Ben, wuensche Dir Gute Besserung. Pass auf Dich auf und uebertreibe es nicht. Bleib bzw. werde gesund. Alles Gute aus Thailand, wo ich unterwegs bin. Katrin
21st May 2010

job in sabah
I want to work in sabah kinabalu area, do you know the e mail of the Hospital HR please. Many thanks steve Alberta- Canada
16th October 2010
MRI scan of my brain - looks pretty big, um?

good-looking brain
May I have permission to use your MRI as an avatar? There will be no money involved. Non-commercial use as an icon or avatar. Thank you.
15th February 2011
MRI scan of my brain - looks pretty big, um?

cancer
Its very useful for me

Tot: 3.239s; Tpl: 0.064s; cc: 46; qc: 172; dbt: 0.1254s; 3; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.9mb