Dengue Fever, Malaria and Software

I am not a software developer. Never have been and never will be. I’m as computer literate as your average joe, no more no less. However, my job requires me to not only learn some very technical software, but create videos for others to learn how to use it. As you can probably imagine this often puts me in situations where I’m visualizing my computer being punted off the roof of my office in frustration with not understanding an error. Even more to my dismay is that when I ask the various computer science interns in my office what I’ve spent the entire day trying to figure out, they identify and fix my problems within minutes. It often feels as if I ask them “My shoes keeps falling off, what should I do?” and they respond “Maybe you should tie them.” I’ve developed a way off countering my software frustrations by visualizing past experiences in which I was in a much worse situation. Right now I’m picturing a time where I mysteriously encountered a horrible jungle sickness in a small town in the mountains of Thailand. Here’s the tale…

It all started with a weekend trip to a small mountain town in the mountains of Northwest Thailand called Pai. A fellow English teacher and I crammed into a bus and winded up the mountains for the King’s Birthday Holiday. As soon as we arrived we realized we made a huge mistake by not booking a room because it seemed that all of Thailand had also decided to come visit this town for the holiday. Having ventured too far and it being too late to return home we ventured off to every hotel, hostel and guesthouse in the city begging people to let us sleep anywhere. Eventually we realized that everyone telling us “city fully booked” wasn’t a joke. With no tent or sleeping bags we started to become a bit unnerved with what we were supposed to do. This wasn’t the beach, this was the mountains of Thailand we couldn’t just sleep outside on the ground. We decided to just start asking random people if we could sleep with them. Now this may sound a bit crazy, but we were fresh out of options and Thai people are the kindest and most friendly people I’ve ever come across. We started asking restaurant staff if they had any spare place in their home where we could sleep. Funny enough after not too long a Thai lady working in a restaurant felt bad for us and set us up a small kids tent in the garden of the restaurant with a few sleeping bags. (Keep in mind the massive language barrier during this process with sign language as the major form of communication).

The next morning both my friend and I awoke in our tent barely able to move and unable to keep anything in our stomachs. Now picture this, we were not in the woods where we could relieve ourselves in private nor did we have a bathroom. We were right next to the main walking street of the city, so where were we supposed to conceal our stomach ailments that were not limited to throwing up? No more detail is necessary here, but let’s just say it was absolutely horrible. Luckily it was Sunday so hopefully a guesthouse had freed up, the only hard part was that I was literally incapacitated and could barely stand without being sick. Eventually I used all the power in my body to man up and hobble around the town in search for a guesthouse, all the while cursing myself because I forgot my Malaria pills that weekend and there were mosquitoes everywhere. In addition, I had a cousin who was bit by a mosquito in Thailand, developed hemorrhagic dengue fever and had to be emergency evacuated out of the country her condition was so bad. Trying to keep my head straight I eventually found somewhere where we could stay, trekked back to the tent to get my friend who was in the same, possibly worse condition then laid down. I laid cocooned in a blanket for nearly 24 more hours in a cold sweat. As the symptoms began to let up, we saw a spiritual healing place outside our guesthouse. Thinking it worth a shot we drank some of their tea and slowly returned to normal human beings.

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