If you missed the first half of the story, click here. FearInEnglish will be out of action for the next week because I’ll be on a sailboat in the Caribbean’s San Blas Islands.
THE consultation had begun with a cute Indonesian doctor looking over my leg and confirming what I already knew, that I had an infection of some sort and that it would require some gutsy antibiotics. What perplexed her was that there were no visible cuts or wounds anywhere near my shin, apart from a couple of tiny scrapes on my ankle from my bodyboard fins. I showed her some nice gashes I’d acquired across my back from the reef at Uluwatu about 10 days earlier but she said it was unlikely they had anything to do with the infection. She said she was going to have to stick a needle into the ‘abscess’ (the technical term for my boob shin) to see whether it was filled with blood or pus. Confirming it was the latter, she called on two friends – the first was a male Indo nurse while the second, a more sinister friend, was a shiny new scalpel she removed from its packet. A beam of light from the room’s fluorescent globes reflected off the fresh blade and into my eyes. I was shitting myself (not literally). ‘We’re going to have to drain the abscess,’ she said. ‘This might hurt a little bit.’ And so I found myself lying on the bed, my head facing the ceiling and my hands covering my eyes, with two Indos using their thumbs to push the pus from my shin through a 1cm incision the cute doctor had made seconds earlier. The whole time she kept saying ‘Ooh sorry, lotta pus, lotta pus,’ which would’ve been funny as fuck if I wasn’t in so much pain. They squeezed 20 cubic centimetres of pus out of my shin, just shy of a full standard Australian-sized shot glass.
I forked 200 bucks out to change my flight to an earlier one but my insurance company didn’t cover the fee because I couldn’t prove it was essential for me to leave the country ASAP. They did however cover the cost of my Indo doctor visits and the drugs they prescribed, which combined cost about $300. Arriving back in Adelaide, we stopped by the hospital my mum works at on the way home where they gave me an even stronger course of antibiotic s than the ones I was on, and some bandages to wrap up my leg. I settled in for a week of rest at home, gorging myself on the bootleg DVDs I’d bought in Bali. A few days into my rest however, the pain in my shin had subsided and my left leg was basically the same size as my right one. I headed out to football training on the Tuesday night, taking it fairly easy and when I pulled up fine the next day I decided I’d head out to Thursday night’s training too to prove that I was fit and ready to go on the weekend. Somehow I got through coach’s gruelling fitness test and I got my spot back in the A Grade side for Saturday’s game. It was only when a few hours before first bounce my leg started to get red and itchy and was noticeably bigger than the right one again that I realised I had to pull the pin.
Back at the hospital my mum works at I was told I’d be kept there for five days to halt the infection. It would be a week before I would return home. The BIMC emailed me the results of the tests they did on my shin boob fluid and they showed traces of a strain of staphylococcus bacteria, which apparently didn’t tell the doctors much about my infection because that particular strain of staph resides normally on the skin of humans. So while the quacks at the hospital tried to work out what was wrong with me, nurses would come in a couple times a day to inject some strong antibiotics into my arm. Meanwhile I just chilled in bed and watched midday movies, snuck out for the odd sneaky wank in the bathroom and tried to catch up on uni work, in which I was sorely behind.
The day before they sent me home they set me up with a fun little thing called a PICC Line. A PICC Line is a peripherally inserted central catheter (no, not a wee-wee catheter) and basically it’s this super long and thin flexible tube which they inserted into a big vein in my bicep. While I was awake they ran the tube from my arm into a large vein in my chest right next to my heart, which allowed intravenous access. So I had this little cap thing hanging out of my bicep and taped into place and when I got home I was to be visited by a home nurse once a day who would attach to the cap to another tube which ran into a thing called a Baxter Pump, which basically looked like a baby’s bottle. The bottle was filled with some heavy-duty antibiotics which, over the course of the day, were pumped into my body near my heart and subsequently through the rest of my body. My leg started feeling better throughout the week and I even got down the footy club and my mate’s 21st birthday party. All the while I was carrying around this little bottle attached to my catheter, and enduring the inevitable ‘you must’ve been rooting some dirty banchong prossies over there, hey mate?’ jokes. Needless to say I didn’t pull any chicks during this period. I also didn’t get to play in my team’s footy Grand Final (we lost); missed The Shins play when they came to town (of all the bands), and had to drop two subjects at uni (which I had to make up while working full-time the following year). But at least my leg was spared from the mystery boob/kneecap shin infection.