Day 46: Ulaanbaatar , Bottoming out

A tightly wound roll of tough brown toilet paper.
The unforgiving toilet paper.

Urgh, what time is it? 6am?

This is the third time I’ve had to get up. So much for sleeping!!

The queasy exhaustion from yesterday is back. But wait, there’s more.

My stomach is making really bubbly sounds.

And my output is really watery. Cringe. When I do go, I feel like I haven’t, so I keep getting up to go again. My throat is acidic and my breath smells like pasta sauce. Mm-mmm.

And the bog standard toilet paper at the hostel is so unforgiving. Although in its defence it is no different from its Russian counterpart: rough exterior, unscented and single ply. On the plus side, there’s no cardboard roll involved in its construction, so there’s less chance of being caught short.

The cause of my illness is unclear and I suddenly feel foolish for consuming such a variety of things.

Was it the one-and-a-half cups of coffee I drank yesterday morning? Or my failed attempt on the mountain of beef noodles at dinner? Or the three cups of juice I hastily drank from the sale priced box? Or the Pepsi I had at 10pm? Or perhaps it was the filtered water in the kitchen?

I’m solely to blame for my recklessness.

There’s no option now but to simplify my diet and drink lots of water.

And I’ll stick to bottled water from now on thank you!

Two hours later I’m awake again. Surprise! But this time there’s a rush of hotness. I grab my cooking billy and throw up into it. It’s kind of like reversed cooking. Then it’s back to the loo.

It’s ger-hot in here. I open the window.

Three hours later I’m awake again.

But this time, thankfully, there is no imminent outpouring and I actually feel pretty good. Rested, at least.

When my eggs on toast and Health bread tomato sandwiches stay down, I’m impressed. Perhaps it was the filtered water?

In the late afternoon, I finally feel recovered enough to do a brief few hours of work.

Then I grab some more sleep courtesy of an eye mask and ear plugs, but quickly ditch the latter so I can listen out for my body’s warning sounds.

More trips to the loo, followed by a late dinner of honey and sliced banana on toast. Then back to bed.

Up again just before midnight, to see small signs of solidity.

Yay!!! What a thing to be happy about.

In between sleeping and toileting, I surf a little, googling my symptoms (opens new window). I’m disappointed to learn that I could be suffering like this for 2-4 days!

As if all of this isn’t bad enough, the email thread with my ex has abruptly gone cold.

Our relationship was pretty great, despite (or because of) my imminent departure. I was impressed by that, because my wanderlust really had been the death knell for a whole string of relationships before that.

But wanderlust always comes at a price. Although I’d kept a relationship going, I’d buckled under the stress of radically reframing my life for my tour. And then things weren’t so great.

There’s no easy solution for that, now. But in a small way, it’s comforting to keep in touch with someone you still like and to try and stay involved with each other vicariously, even if it means some pretty tense emails.

But now – no emails, no tension, no nothing. The void is deafening.

I check on Facebook, which is a mistake. She has a new boyfriend.