Part 1...Time to come clean...A medical issue over the past almost three months...

There are patches of green grass in the Huon Valley which aren't quite as green as they were in Penguin which may be due to weather and soil conditions.
Its not always easy living one's life on display for literally the world to see.  Our mistakes, our foibles and our vulnerabilities come into play on a daily basis. At times, to avoid appearing redundant or as a complainer/whinger we may not mention every single ailment that filters our way. 

After all, this is a "travel blog" isn't it?  Or, as we often say, "Its a real life story of two senior citizens traveling the world with the nuances of living a life on the move, without a home, without storage or stuff to call their own other than that which is contained in three suitcases and a few carry on bags.

At times, we struggle with the definition.  However, based on the fact we've had so many worldwide readers, perhaps the definition has been irrelevant to our readers who've followed along with us all this time, now fast approaching 52 months since we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012.

Pool and river view from our veranda on the second level.
Based on our intent to tell it like it is, today, I'm sharing something I've contemplated sharing over these past months shortly after we arrived in Tasmania on December 3rd after a 33 night cruise.

Several things transpired to result in this illness, most of which was entirely my own fault.  In part I became ill as a result of a lack of caution when I knew caution should have been forefront in my mind and also, a series of events that transpired contributing to this condition.

I supposed when we think about it many of our ailments can be prevented with knowledge and self care.  But, I like so many of us, throw caution to the wind when somehow we think "that won't happen to me" or in many cases we aren't even aware of the potential risks.

Pretty farm in the country.
I have to go back a way to fill in some of the blanks here.  Please bear with me.  Its not a pretty story.  Somewhere around June 1, 2016 while living at the fabulous villa in Sumbersari, Bali, I injured my back while in the pool. 

I'd backed up with walking and exercising and hit my spine, from neck to tailbone of a sharp stone corner at the bottom of the steps.  At first it felt like the same pain one would experience banging one's elbow.  Ouch, ouch, ouch. 

Thinking the cool water would do good, I languished in the pool for awhile, moving gingerly, when eventually the pain subsided. During the remainder of the day and evening after which I iced it off and on, the pain was somewhat under control.  But, at bedtime, I couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep.

Huge daisies!
Having previously had a diagnosis with a horrible spinal condition due to a heredity condition eventually in 2011 I found tremendous pain relief from change of diet due to a massive reduction in inflammation.  However, no way of eating could reduce the pain of an injury to this degree.

I didn't see any reason to go to a doctor in the remote area of Bali, a four hour harrowing drive to get to a good hospital.  At that point, I couldn't conceive of that drive bumpy long ride.  It was hard enough when we went back and forth from the airport to the villa, a total of four times.

I'd have to treat it myself.  Besides, what would "they" do?  Pain killers?  A back brace?  (Not good to use over the long haul).  Surgery?  Not possible or desired in Indonesia (or any other country for that matter).  I hoped in time it would heal.

Flowers blooming mid summer in Tasmania in Tasmania.
During the following five months, I used ice and heat packs, walked daily to maintain strength, didn't lay in bed during the day, and took over-the-counter NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) such as Aleve with breaks every few weeks.  That was my mistake #1...long term use of NSAIDS.

From there, a few short days later, I asked the two cooks to make us a seafood dish with prawns and for me, added grilled calamari. Let's face it, sometimes favorite foods are comforting.  My back was hurting but not my appetites. 

Twelve hours after eating the calamari, I had the worse case of diarrhea, known as "diare" in Balinese, a common traveler's illness in many parts of the world.  here again, I should have known better than to eat this type of seafood in this part of the world.  That was my mistake #2...consuming a high risk seafood from an unknown source.
We've so enjoyed the fresh picked organic vegetables from Anne and Rob's garden.
After suffering for a few days, Gede, our wonderful houseman took us to the Apotek (pharmacy) where we purchased an over-the-counter drug that got it under control within a few days. 

At that point between the diare and the back pain, I was a mess although, not a complainer, I didn't burden Tom with hearing about it all the time.  He even berated me at times to encourage me to tell him how I was feeling throughout the difficult days and again most recently.

By the time we left Bali on June 27th, my back was so bad, I didn't know how I'd get through the necessary week in Singapore while we applied for necessary visas plus spending several days in Hanoi awaiting the upcoming Viking Mekong River Cruise beginning July 8th. 

Yellow and white orchids.
How in the world was I going to get through the activities and walking on uneven ground on many tours and several flights through Vietnam and Cambodia?  Somehow I managed to participate in many of the tours as shown in our photos beginning here at this link and continuing for many days.

In our posts, I made every effort to avoid complaining which I knew would bore our readers with frequent mention of my painful condition.  We did absolutely everything I could manage to ultimately have an excellent experience albeit the few tours we had to forego.  Our many photos and stories at the following link clearly illustrates how much we were actually able to participate. 

From there, we went to Phuket, Thailand from July 22nd to September 1st.  Looking back, that six week period was a almost a blur.  I was in terrible pain resulting in our doing very little while there.  Other than a little exploring, photo taking, grocery shopping and visit to several beaches we stayed in while I attempted to recuperate.
River view from the yard.
From there, we returned to Bali for two more months to fill a gap in our schedule while awaiting the 33 night cruise circumventing the continent of Australia. Once we boarded the ship the back pain was finally gone after a full five months of pain.

It was during that 33 night cruise I decided to start drinking a few glasses of white wine when our drinks were "free" due to our recent inclusion into Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Diamond Club which provides complementary cocktails from 4:30 to 8 pm each night.  Why not?  I had no specific reason when I could easily enjoy a few glasses of dry white wine and still maintain my diet. However, I'd had no more than a few glasses of wine each year over the past 20 years. That was my mistake #3...

Today's story is simply too long to continue today.  Tomorrow, we'll present the balance of this story including my current medical issue, medical diagnosis and subsequent treatment by a highly competent and recommended local doctor.

Be well!

Photo from one year ago today, February 16, 2016:
The Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, had set up tents for a special event.  Please click here for more photos.


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