Komodo to Quasimodo

Well, we had a great trip to Komodo but it’s been a bit of a downward spiral health-wise since we returned! Three weeks ago Gav started complaining that it felt like he had a bit of something stuck in his eye. I told him he was fine and also that THIS time I was not taking him to a hospital to have it taken care of. A few summers ago while we were visiting London Gav decided to clean out our gutters or something and blew some leaf detritus into his eyeball in the process. I ended up having to take him to the London Eye Hospital and wait ages in the urgent care area until someone could q-tip the stuff out. When he was still complaining the next day I figured he had pink eye so I gave him some drops for that.

When he STILL wasn’t improved the next day he got lots of advice from people at school about what to do. The most amusing was someone who told him “well, when my dad worked for Saddam Hussein (!!!!) he was told that the sure-fire way to get rid of pink eye was to tie a black thread around each of your big toes. It always works.” Gav made me break out the sewing kit and give that cure a whirl.

As it turns out, Saddam is not to be trusted and that also did no good. I finally did cave and bring Gav to an urgent care clinic where they told him to try some different drops, but if he was not improved in 24 hours he needed to go to an eye specialist. It was not better in 24 hours so we went to the eye specialist who gave us different meds. Please note that Gav is unable/unwilling to give himself eye drops so I am having to administer these carefully times drops constantly throughout the day. At this point the infection has progressed to the point where he can no longer really open his eye, it is weeping constantly and it is very sensitive to light. The poor man spent his days sitting in a room with the shades drawn and computer screen on the dimmest setting as his eyes were very sensitive to light. Anytime he stepped outside he needed to have sunglasses on, except he lost his sunglasses so he had to use a pair of mine (see above). It was a good thing that all this was happening around Halloween so his gross eyeball kind of fit in with the theme. He actually tried to find a kid dressed as a pirate to ask if he could borrow their eye patch.

While all this was going on I developed a nasty head cold. So Gav spent his nights flopping around in bed complaining about his eye while I blew my nose 6578935 times. No one got any good sleep. Also I tested for covid just about every other day but it turns out that being around mask-less kids means that you just catch their run-of-the-mill germs. We actually eventually had to see yet another eye doctor who gave us some still different meds and finally after 2 weeks of misery Gav slowly started to turn the corner. It didn’t happen in time for his birthday though, poor guy. On the evening instead of going out for a nice dinner and enjoying the night we sat in the dark surrounded by boxes of tissues. He is finally back to normal now, but not before somehow passing a milder version on to the person who suggested the thread trick. I gave him the number of the good eye doctor and this advice:

By last weekend we were both feeling a bit better, so we decided to pay a visit to the Yangon Zoo. We had not been since we went on a birthday outing organized by our friend Liz 3 years ago. At that time we were on a kind of scavenger hunt, so we just ran in and fed the elephants and ran out. This time we used a different entrance and right away we stumbled on the hippo exhibit. And next to the hippo exhibit was a food stand! Turns out that for 2,000 MMK (about 60 cents) you can buy a giant basket of spinach and feed the hippos! This was quite amazing because as soon as they see you have the good they come over the just pop their giant mouths open and shove them at you and wait for you to drop in the greens.

In between stuffing their mouths, they liked to be stroked on the nose. We got some real quality time with these guys.

Yangon Zoo is not the best zoo out there in terms of quality of enclosures (they have some big cats and bears that are in depressing cement cages) but you do get some up close encounters with stuff. You can feed the hippos, the elephants and the otters and we also got to pet a porcupine although that was strictly not sanctioned, it’s just that the cage is totally accessible to stick your hand into. We are definitely throwing around the concept of having Hippo Happy Hour once a month just to go back and visit our friends. It is worth mentioning that we went on a Myanmar holiday and the zoo was rammed. It did seem like the most exciting exhibit for some families was actually Gav and I. We were definitely the only foreigners there and attracting a but of curiosity.

We woke up one morning a few weeks ago to find that one of the power lines in front of our house had fallen down. Gav actually thinks he saw what happened-a tall truck drove by and kind of ripped it from its moorings. The problem was that it was drooping across our gate and while we could walk over it, we couldn’t get the car out without causing more damage. Who knows what that cable does? Could be the whole street’s power, wifi, TV, or nothing at all. No one was going to be sending any repair people around to fix it, so Gav just dealt with it himself-twist tying it to the other cables running along the street with a bit of old wire. Safety first!

As I type we are both well on the road to recovery. On Friday at our normal after work beer spot, our friend produced a cake for Gav and another friend who had a birthday this past week. So poor Gav did finally get to celebrate after all.

The weather is actually cooling off a bit and everyone is happy about that-we can finally have coffee on our balcony in the morning without melting! Everyone enjoys that.

3 thoughts on “Komodo to Quasimodo

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  1. Well, I’m glad everyone is feeling better. The “Saddam cure” made me laugh! I think Gav is quite stylin’ in your sunglasses.

    When I was traveling in Africa I caught some hellish eye infection and one of my traveling companions got it too. We always theorized we caught it from the local kids. Funny thing is, there was a Spanish guy simultaneously traveling in the area and our paths crossed once or twice — and HE came down with the infection too! We called it “Mali Eye.”


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