The prospect of a scary change in plans?...Five days and counting...Photos at a premium...


Chalong Bay in Phuket.
While living in most locations when we get low on photos its not a problem.  We jump in the rental car for a drive searching for interesting scenes to capture.  If we don't have a rental car and are using a driver, we get out often enough each week to get all the photos we need for the posts.

Now, down to five days until departure, with my ongoing recovery process and the less-than-stellar rental car, I've had little desire to get out to take photos.  With the blurry film on the windows it requires I get out of the low seat in the car to avoid taking photos through the glass which in itself in my current condition feels like an athletic event.

If you've ever owned or gone for a ride in a Corvette, it kind of feels like the same thing...not necessary the right vehicle for getting it and out of when suffering from a spinal condition.  Under normal circumstances, this would be less of a challenge.

Its not as if I can't get in and out of the less-than-stellar rental car.  Its that I don't want to re-injure myself subsequently staring the healing process all over again.

Boats stored at the shore as opposed to a marina.
Only days away from a full three months of recovering, I've only spent half of this period over these past almost six weeks in Phuket actually "working on" getting better, I've finally begun to turn the corner.  

On many occasions over these past weeks, I'd mentioned improvement in our posts although it was in such small increments it was barely noticeable.  Frustration easily set in when I'd awaken each day only to find the pain was basically still the same.

A few times, as recently as in the past two weeks, we considered a visit to a hospital. After reading many negative online reviews about local medical care, we decided against it.  Instead, we made a plan that if I didn't improve close to our scheduled time to leave Phuket, we might head directly to Sydney and drop out of our airfare and booking for Bali. 

As we seriously considered such a plan we had to accept the reality that we'd lose rent for the two month booking in Bali (on such short notice) and also the non-refundable airfare.  This change would ultimately cost us thousands of dollars.  Tom, as worried as he's been about me, never flinched over this prospect while I cringed over the prospect.

Yard of a house in the neighborhood with motorbikes and clothes drying on a line.
As soon as this possibility came to light, I decided I had to do something different to escalate the healing process to ensure we could continue with our future plans. 

I began reading volumes of books on the topic of healing compression fractures, speeding recovery for back, neck and spinal injuries and came to a few new conclusions:

1.  Started a light exercise program...very light and gentle following recommendations in a great book I read.
2.  Changed the pillow I was sleeping on from flat to slightly fuller, creating an indentation for my head.
3.  Changed from using mostly ice to using mostly heat on and off throughout the day and evening. (Using a microwaveable gel pack).  At bedtime I positioned an ice pack close to my spine using a rolled towel to hold it in place while lying on my side.
4.  Have Tom massage pressure points on my back twice a day.
5.  Only lie down for 10 minutes at a time instead of longer periods during the day.  Spend more time standing and walking around the house.
6.  No bending at all, which seems to be the most harmful at this point.
7.  Sleep with a medium sized pillow between evenly placed bent legs, again lying on my side.
8.  Focus on having perfect posture when walking and sitting.
9.  Using the speech recognition software for better ergonomics when typing.

With only five days until departure I can definitely say I've improved by no less than 75% in these past weeks, no longer feeling as if we must change our plans to get me to a major accredited hospital.

Oh, maybe it was "safari luck" and the implementation of the above changes or a combination of both.  That's the thing about medical care, when one begins implementing multiple modalities, its difficult to determine which measures most contributed to the improvement.

The mix of the old and the new is commonly found in Phuket.
I'll continue with all of the above even after we arrive in Bali.  With no required cooking, cleaning , laundry or tidying necessary with the daily household staff, I'll spend more time focusing on continuing to improve on this remaining 25%.

By far, these past three months have been the most challenging since we began our travels on October 31, 2012.  Surely many of our readers can look back over the past four years to recall periods of time when life wasn't exactly as you might have liked it to be.

Tom comments about how I overall maintained a good attitude through this. Each day I've struggled to stay optimistic. I was scared to death, to be honest, scared our travels were over, scared our lives would have to change to accommodate my limited range of motion, my ability to walk long distances and my overall interest in getting out.

Yesterday, I packed my single clothing suitcase which in doing so gave me hope, leaving out clothing for the next few days.  I sat on the bed folding everything and then standing straight I placed them into my open bag which is situated on a tall luggage rack.  The rest will be easy. 

This simple act added to my optimism removing a sense of dread I had about packing.  Tom would happily have packed for me but I needed to know I could do it.

Many homes are raised above ground in the event of flooding.
As we continue over these next few days, we apologize for the lack of interesting photos.  Its the way it is for now.  And, once we arrive in Bali, we may be posting similar photos to those we'd taken during our last stay, although all photos we'll share in future posts will be new. 

Halfway through our second round in Bali we plan to stay in a hotel in Lovina for five days to complete the every-other-day-three-step required visa extension process.  During that mini vacation/holiday, we'll explore taking many photos we'll excitedly share in posts to come. 

Once we leave Bali at the end of October for the 33 night cruise to circumvent Australia, we'll have many months of exciting cruises and tours, along with the stay in Tasmania at two separate locations for six weeks each and a 40 night stay in the exquisite city of Sydney.

So, loyal readers...on we go to continue in our world travels with a renewed hope for the future, as always striving for good health as we share all of our steps along the way.

Have a healthful, productive day!
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Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2015:
The colorful views around us was only a small section of the Great Barrier Reef which we visited by boat one year ago today.  For more photos, please click here.


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