I walked out of my room and was about to walk downstairs for breakfast when I was stopped by Ms. Docherty. “Are you okay?” she asked, pointing at my ear. My ear, part of my face and collarbone were covered in plasters. “I have these weird blister-spot-things on my face..I’m not sure what they are,” I answered.
She took me downstairs to ask Mrs. Dore about it, and it turned out that she already knew because my mum had told her about my ‘rash’ before CEW. After asking me to take off the plasters so she could look at the weird blisters, she called the instructors over to take a look as well. Eventually, Mrs. Dore decided that I should probably go to the doctors’, which was on land a long way away - “We need to know if it needs antibiotics,” she explained.
I didn’t know what to think about this. I didn’t want to go on the extremely long trek that we were scheduled to do in the morning, but going on a long trip to the doctors’? It would take ages - an hour at least. Anyway, she picked up the huge, clunky satellite phone to call my mum. I stared at it in awe as she talked. The phone was grey, rectangular, had big, square buttons and looked a bit like a walkie-talkie. After a while, it was decided that we would leave right after breakfast.
I had to eat breakfast this time, even though I had no appetite - I knew I would be hungry later, and anyway, one of the instructors was watching me. I picked up a sandwich and sat down with my friends. It had ketchup and mayo in it, which I thought was a weird combination. But since I’d never had a burger or anything before (I’m a vegetarian and I hate McDonald’s with a vengeance), I wouldn’t know anyway.
After a while, we set off. Everyone crowded around, asking where we were going. I cringed, hating it, and tried to explain, but since I didn’t know what the blisters were, it was hard.
The boat ride was amazing. The morning sun was warm on my skin, the air was cool and the water glittered and shone, but in a different way than the day before. It wasn’t so bright, but it felt as if the lake was a mirror and we were looking in. I had planned to read, but in the end, I just looked all around me at the wonderful view.
When we reached dry land, we got in a car and set off to the government hospital. This time, we had reception, so we could call my mum on Mrs Dore’s phone.
The car pulled up at the hospital, and we got out. After talking to a receptionist, showing her my ear and passport, we got kicked out. “At least we know it isn’t an emergency.” Mrs. Dore said, half-jokingly.
We had to drive again, this time to a private doctors’. There were posters on the wall, all in Bahasa Melayu, about giving massages and storing food so that you didn’t get food poisoning. They seemed pretty random; surely there would be posters about washing your hands and detecting fevers? Maybe Malaysia had more of a food poisoning problem than Singapore.
When I was called in at long last, the doctor there looked at my blisters for a while, checked my pulse - which was weird, because the infection was around my face - before diagnosing me with an allergic reaction. This was extremely odd; I have no allergies apart from possibly one to tartrazine, a chemical in some foods. Anyway, I thought that allergic reactions probably didn’t spread all over my face. After looking on the Internet, we realised it looked more like Impetigo, a bacterial infection. Mrs. Dore seemed confused by the doctor’s diagnosis, especially since I had no history of allergies. She texted my mum, who was just as sceptical.
We needed to call a Singaporean doctor for a second opinion, and he agreed and said it was Impetigo. When we collected my medicine, Mrs. Dore asked the receptionist for special cream that the Singaporean doctor recommended, and she instantly gave it to us without asking why. For some reason, she had also added in this weird medicine that would make me sleepy, which the Singaporean doctor said I shouldn’t take.
The way back was just as long, and the boat ride even hotter, because it was midday by now. I ate crackers that I’d bought in a supermarket near the doctors’ - we thought we wouldn’t get back in time for lunch.
When the houseboat came into view, I saw that everyone had finished eating lunch, like we thought. The chefs gave me a weird rice porridge thing, which tasted okay. I felt a bit strange, though, because everyone else was basically sitting around playing cards and talking while I was eating lunch. They seemed to think that I had a food allergy, and I wanted to speak out - but I also didn’t want to seem like I thought I knew better than the doctor. After I ate I had to take my new tablets, and I had to try at least three times before I could swallow the pill.