Sunday 18 February 2018

Hello everyone!

Well, what a week! As you read from my previous email, I started off the week with diarrhoea. I continued with this for nearly 3 days. On Wednesday I received the sample results – the lab had isolated the bacteria Shigella – also known as dysentery. This meant being quarantined in a cabin by myself, which I had to stay in until symptoms subsided. I commenced oral antibiotics straightaway. I have attached a photo of the cabin (very nice if this was my usual place of residence), but when you are forced to stay there for an indefinite period, it was quite unpleasant. Visitors were able to come and see me to chat at the door, but not allowed to come in or have any physical contact. Crew members were organised to bring me food and drinks at the appropriate times, and you will also see from the other attachments that I received notes from colleagues wishing me well. I also had many people coming to my door to express their concern and ask if I needed anything.

I moved out and went back into my usual cabin yesterday morning, after spending 2-3 days in quarantine. Bowels have settled down, I am just now striving to replenish my strength by (trying) to eat properly. It’s difficult, have no appetite.

They say there is always something to be learnt from all experiences, both good and bad. I can fully appreciate how patients (and those in solitary confinement) feel, when access to others is restricted. I really missed the human contact, particularly at times when I wanted a hug and somebody’s shoulder to cry on! I also felt unclean, bit like a modern day leper, really. However, the grace of God was manifest through the concern and compassion of others, as you can see from the cards I received, the many visits to my door (including Chaplaincy who anointed me with ashes on Ash Wednesday) and the prayers that were said.

I do not have any further news from this last week. Personal circumstances took over! Hope the update is more positive next time!

Take care

Melanie x