• Tara B. Vasi

Day 11, 12, 13 Sri Lanka: Surgery, Bed Rest

My belly throbs. I try to carry on life as normal (whatever that means when you live in a Villa in Sri Lanka?) because that is just the kind of person I am. #stubbornAF Grin and bear it!

I soon learn that is impossible. The antibiotics make me sleepy and the pain is just too much to bear.

I sleep. I wake up. I eat. I sleep again.

In my brain I am “waiting for the antibiotics to kick in,” but when evening rolls around and it seems like the swelling is increasing, I ask Chamara to take me back to the hospital. Something is just not right.

We go to a different doctor, his family doctor.

I find out the doctor we saw the day before was a student or recently out of Sri Lankan medical school (whatever that means). That would explain why he has so nice. #notjadedyet

We walk in to a waiting room full of people. Every seat is taken with sick women and children. No one is screaming of bleeding, luckily. We skip the line. Chamara is VIP in Balapitiya. I feel bad for cutting people, but I am dragged in and there is nothing I can do. Plus, I could have spiders exploding out of my stomach at any moment. (Movie, Arachnophobia)

The doctor is an older dude. He examines my infected bite. He tells me we have to take out the infection by cutting a small hole and digging it out. They will give me local anethetic for the pain. He says he has done this many times before. He tells me my infection is pretty bad and the abscess is 1 1/2 centimeters deep (which doesn’t sound like a lot to me). 🤷🏻‍♀️

I brace myself for the local anesthetic. Why does the needle have to be so big? It is the most physical pain I have felt in a really long time. Much more painful then local anesthetic for a root canal.

He waits just a minute or so and then dives right in. He makes an incision and using a clamp with gauze, really gets in there and swirls around. I do my best not to watch, but a few times I sneak a peak and I can see almost black colored blood oozing from the wound and a pile a bloody bandages to the side of the bed. I have my hands up and covering my eyes, like a kid during a scary movie, and Chamara has his hand on my head and I find it oddly comforting. I breath in through my nose and out through my mouth like I am having contractions.

The anesthetic numbs the pain but I can still feel him tugging around under the skin of my stomach and its the most bazaar feeling I have ever felt. He thanks me for being strong. He says most people wiggle and squirm. I appreciate that. #iamstrong

When he is done cleaning out the infection, he stuffs gauze inside my hollowed out wound. My friend Katie tells me this is called a wick. I make the mistake of watching him stuff me like a Thanksgiving bird and can’t get the image out of my head for hours. The idea of having gauze inside my body is disgusting.

He bandages me up. He tells me to keep it on for 2 days and then come back. No yoga. No Bathing. No walking about. Strict bed rest. And EAT. He prescribes me seven different medications some of which are antibiotics, one of which is a painkiller. Some I take every 6 hours, some in the morning and night, blah blah blah, I can barely read the directions. Chamara helps.

Chamara gives me a strawberry milk box before I sit up and its delicious. We get the presciptions filled at the same place we had the visit.

I’m not hungry in the slightest, but Chamara makes me eat food before administering my medication. He gets me some rehydration salts to mix with water and makes sure I am comfortable in my bed.

He sets an alarm to wake up at 4am to give me a pill. I am so grateful for this dude helping me heal. What the hell is going on with my health? First, food poisoning and now this crazy spider bite? Can’t make this shit up, folks. Luckily, there are no volunteers and I am not really missing any work or anything…. I can heal before the season starts and everything will be fiiiiinnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeee……..

I sleep on and off for the next 2 days. I watch reruns of Friends, Brooklyn 99 and Big Bang theory, even though Big Bang Theory is awful. I get lucky one day and watch Shrek and cry at the end, like the big sap that I am. He thinks she’s beautiful!!!! Wahhhhhhh!!

Chamara forces me to eat food to hold down my medication, even though I have no appetite. He gets me BBQ chicken, egg crepes, and delicious lentils.

He takes care of Peanut and gets the villa ready for the season. I tell him I feel so bad that I cannot help him, and he basically tells me to shut up and get back in bed.

My belly still throbs 24/7 even with a pain killer every 6 hours.

I start to feel more energetic by Friday.

Chamara needs to go with the healer to the temple to complete his bad luck healing ceremony, so I tag along with them and Ama, Chamara’s mother. Ama is mother is Sinhala. I have also learned that Istuti means “Thank You”.

We drive to Galle but get to the temple way before it opens. They wait in the van and I opt to take a walk around the town and by the ocean, seeing the last time I went to Galle, I had no time to explore.

I walk down the street a ways and many men ask me “Where are you going?” And “where are you from?” Which I have learned is quite standard. They are very friendly people. Almost too friendly. They walked up beside me and asked me if I was married and if I wanted to build a hotel with them. Hahaha Sweet, but Im good.

I go to the grocery store and buy peanut butter and a few random things to keep in my room.

We meet back at the temple and they bring in a platter of offerings. This time, much more elaborate, including fresh fruits, candies, etc. They perform a ceremony that includes sitting a coconut on fire and walking around the temple three times. Then Chamara takes the coconut outside and smashes it on a rock and that symbolized his bad luck being destroyed.

We head back to Balabitiya. I have to shower, remove my bandage, rebandage and then head back to the doctors. I pull the wick out myself and it is the most painfully odd feeling I have ever experienced. We go back to the doctor and he cleans and rebandages my wound. He cannot stitch me up until the infection is completely gone, and it is not.

I have to go back to see him in two days. The worst part of all of this is that I cannot do yoga. Or really much of anything.


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