A scorpion sting makes Bali bor-ing!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Sunday, May 18, 2008

WARNING: The following blog is medical and, in some parts, pretty disgusting and/or factual (i.e. boring!). Please do not read if you are sitting down for your morning cornflakes - kill a few minutes on Facebook and come back later. Believe me, when you see the pictures you'll thank me!

After our jungle adventures with the orang utans and a spot of relaxing on Lake Toba, we left Sumatra for Bali in search of a generous helping of good beaches, sprinkled with a shaking of culture flakes and topped off with a nice nightlife wafer. Unfortunately our 'ice cream sundae' dreams were left out in the sun to melt, licked by a rabid dog and trampled on by a big-footed drunken oaf!

I'd picked up a sting during the first day of our Jungle trek (see the part about 'burning balls' in Charlie's blog!) which at first looked a little nasty but nothing to worry about. Over the next few days it got steadily worse and by the time we came to leave Lake Toba the sting itself had grown bigger and the area around it had become puffy and sore. The morning we left Medan for Bali, my entire foot was red and very puffy and the sting was now a protruding purple bullet! We attempted to reduce the pain in the waiting area at Medan airport by holding a state-of-the-art, Harley Street-approved 'KFC ice pack' - a few ice cubes and a dribble of Coke left over from Darren's Zinger meal in a plastic bag - on the ankle, which lead to a few girly yelps from me, much to the amusement of the locals. It was nice to see them react to something at last - the fire alarm which had been ringing for the past five minutes had gotten no more than a few sighs and caused one guy to move seats away from the noise!

After arriving at stupid o'clock in the morning in Bali we got straight to bed, but the next morning it was obvious that not even Charlie's tried and tested 'antiseptic cream: the answer to everything!' could sort this - my foot was so swollen I could barely move my toes. The guy from our guest house called for a doctor and soon enough the very swish all-singing, all-dancing 'mobile clinic/Batmobile' turned up. The lovely young doctor took a look and diagnosed a scorpion sting! Now THAT'S a tropical travelling injury - all them crappy worms/parasites in my back... ha, you can get them anywhere! She then told us that we didn't need to go to her surgery - she would be removing the sting there and then on the porch, the crazy cow! After digging out the sting and filling quite a few gauzes in blood and stinky discharge, she cleaned up and flew away in Thunderbird 1 (OK, so it wasn't that swish but it did have a fluorescent green stripe down the side!), leaving me with a course of antibiotics, some fancy looking anti-inflammatory cream and an obscene medical bill (about time we used that insurance!).

The next morning I awoke at 6am to a sneezing fit, with my hands all puffy and a 'parasite ghost town' on my back, where all of the wounds left by the little buggers from a month or so ago were inflamed and brought back to life like a mini version of Pompeii. We both assumed it was due to my body's wimpy dislike of dust and dirt and was caused by the uncovered mattress. Nevertheless it was still a nasty allergic reaction and we were out of anti-histamines so Charlie the super-trooper set off out in the pouring rain to get me some.

She returned an hour or so later, soaking wet, missing a flip-flop and looking thoroughly cheesed off - as it turned out, all of the '24-hour' pharmacists and doctor's surgeries were closed and the nearest place open was a long walk away. Unfortunately in Bali the backstreets around Legian are very narrow and aren't great at the best of times, all uneven and lined with potholes. It was as Charlie trudged down one of these that she happened to step in a large puddle, which turned out to be a open drain. She fell down it, losing her flip-flop and chucking away her umbrella in anger... and all for the love of a good man!

The tablets seemed to do the trick for the rest of the day, but the next morning was one of our scariest moments: I woke up barely able to open my eyes as the swelling was so bad; my hands were puffy and sore to the point where I couldn't make a fist; my body was covered head to toe in blotches and swelling; and I was literally sweating buckets. We headed straight for an Aussie-run private hospital (the 'insurance pillow' again proving to be very comfy!) where I was given a injection so strong it left me floaty and somewhere far, far away!

We returned to the guest house (once I'd returned to Earth) and faced up to a few days of absolutely nothing! My foot was so sore and swollen I couldn't manage more than a quick hop to nearby cafes and restaurants, which took even longer as I stopped to answer everybody's questions on what happened. In the end I gave up and Charlie became my very own 'takeaway delivery girl'. She refused to wear the uniform though, spoilsport!

Luckily through all this there was an older Australian guy called Bruce staying opposite us who became our kindly saviour, lending us his DVD player to kill time and even bringing us food. When Bruce checked out to move to a quieter guest house up the coast (away from the noise of traffic and incessant Offspring music coming from the bar on the corner) he asked us if we'd like to move with him, so we tucked ourselves even further under his wing and duly followed!

After 5/6 days of boredom, frustration, cabin fever and fighting the urge to eat my own hands, the foot seemed to be on the mend (I'll save you the details of all the 'side effects' of my recovery, although strangely a LOT of toilet roll was used despite the fact I had an appetite smaller than a supermodel with a belly ache) so we headed back to the hospital. The doctor said he was pleased with the way the swelling had come down and so he removed the dead skin and ulcer on my ankle, leaving a huge crater which looked like a jelly mould for Ayer's Rock!

He told us I was now able to begin walking again and no longer required the grubby, worn-out bandage which was a shame - we'd grown quite attached. Once out of the hospital Charlie and I decided to take a slow hobble down to the supermarket and celebrate with a whole roast chicken and a French stick... we're such Bali party animals!
Our final few days were spent getting more rest for the foot and rediscovering my appetite. We did have one day out when Bruce took us for a trip around Bali to show us a few highlights which was really nice, although to be honest if he'd taken me to the public toilets I'd have been pleased - anything to get out of that bloody room!

So, there we have it - 2 weeks in Bali and only a bandage and a few medical tales to show for it. Still, I'm probably not the first person to spend their whole time in Bali taking a cocktail of drugs and spending hour after hour lying in bed sweating...

We're off back to Borneo next as we loved it so much last time round. Charlie will tell you we're going back for the beautiful scenery, the huge diversity of wildlife and the chance to climb the highest mountain in SE Asia... me, I'm just looking forward to seeing more Malaysian women, currently number 1 in the 'National Hotties' listings - for the record, there have been disappointing showings for the pre-tournament favourites Australia (stunners on the beaches and jogging counteracted with butch, shouty he-she's in bars) and Thailand (very pretty girls let down by their whiney accents and ten-year-old-boy figures), whilst languishing way down in last with less points than the UK in the Eurovision is Fiji: the 'natural steroid' plants of the South Pacific leaves their women looking like Lionel Ritchie with Elephantitis!

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annie1000 on

missed you both
Yes ,thanks for the warning ,when you said 'Please do not read if you are sitting down for your morning cornflakes' That is exactly what I was doing .--
Oh Tom ,what a traumatic experience for both you and Charlie .So very pleased all is well now with no ill effects and you are fit enough now to go back and enjoy more of Borneo.
You asked in the past to tell you anything that you might be missing here in town .
Well, I missed you and Charlie at the Victoria day Parade in Aldershot yesterday ,I thought of you both and I shouted to Queen Victoria that Tom and Charlie will be back next year .
You also missed some Morris dancers at a local school fete ,hee hee.
Really really enjoying your travel diaries .
Freddie says hello to Percy ,
lots of love and best wishes are sent to you both,
take care ,love ann xxx

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