So this weeks Memoir comes from my honeymoon trip to Daydream Island, romantic paradise for starry eyed lovers. Well, except me of course, instead of ending up in a blissful loved-up state of newly wedded ecstacy, I ended up in hospital. Welcome to my life (and that of my long-suffering husband's!).
The trip started off well, the morning after our awesome wedding, we grabbed our pre-packed bags, left the luxury hotel and jetted off to our island paradise. Champagne on arrival, and minimal bitching to get moved from the room right over the kids pool to the suite overlooking the ocean. Score!
The first two days were spent pretty much as you imagine the first two days of a honeymoon might be. Then came DayThree.
Day three involved a catamaran cruise around the surrounding islands and reefs. Lovely. As we boarded, I was vaguely aware of an officious sounding girl warning us all to remember that sharks are bitey and to re-apply our sunscreen. Pfft! I thought, I'm not going anywhere near a scuba mask, and sure, those pasty Poms over there might need to worry about re-applying sunscreen every 10 minutes, but I'm a Gold Coast girl, I never burn!! I had put some 30+ on that morning, so decided I was covered. Tra la la.... where's my mimosa?
Now, had I stopped for just a second here to contemplate that reasoning, I may have saved myself a boat load of pain and suffering. But nope, I knew better. Sure, when I was 21 and living off the generosity of the Government, partying every night and cruising the beaches of the Gold Coast every day, I did indeed have a righteous tan, and never did burn, a lucky inheritance of my Dad's olive complexion. I had, however forgotten that in the interim, I wised up, got a job and spent the next 7 years inside an office. Problem.
But back to the catamaran. Mimosa in hand, I clambered out onto the big slingy thing made of trampoline material, assumed the "lady of luxury" pose, and began sunning myself. We then set off on the 2 hour trip to Whitehaven Beach, where, being the water-babe I am, I decided not to wait for the little dinghy to shuttle me to the beach, but to follow suit with all the other people who simply dived overboard and swam to shore.
For those who live in less sunny climes, water washes suncreen off. Especially salt water.
Tra la la... we frolicked on the beach for a while, then all swam back to the cat to resume the cruise. The cruise on which I spent the rest of the day with my legs hanging over the side, catching the sun and sights of the Whitsunday Islands.
When we got off the catamaran and headed for our room, I noticed my legs were a bit pink. I said to newly titled hubby, "No worries, I'll just slap some moisturiser on and they'll be lovely and golden by morning... just like the old days, watch and see."
Later that night, I awoke in agony. My legs were throbbing, searing hot and so sensitive that the cotton sheets moving over them felt like razor blades. I inched my way off the bed and sat up, putting my feet on the floor. OOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like my shins were going to split open. I tried to wake hubby, but those Crown Lagers may as well have been morphine, the guy was out to it. I hobbled to the bathroom, ran a lukewarm bath (the best temperature for treating sunburn, I remembered), and sat in it. No relief. Then I ran a cold bath. Nothing. Then, inspiration struck... I wet some towels, and put them in the bar fridge in the room, one even got wedged in the little baby freeezer in it. Then, I got back in the bath and after half an hour, added these towels to my about-to-self-immolate legs. By this stage, the rest of my body was shaking with chills.
So here I spent the night, the top half of me wrapped in towels to keep from shaking like a bloody Chihuahua, and the bottom half feeling like it was aflame. Glamourama, huh?
The next morning, hubby was dispatched to the island pharmacy, with strict instructions to bring back either something that would fix me, or a gun to shoot myself with. After buying nearly every sunburn treatment they offered, and applying them all, still nothing, I was in agony.
Poor hubby spent the remainder of his honeymoon nursing me through that day and the next night, til the ferry came to take us back to the mainland. Well, not so much nursing me as asking me why was I carrying on so much, it was only a bit of sunburn for goodness sake. In his defence, he's from New Zealand, and has very limited knowledge of the sun's effect on human skin. He honestly didn't get how much this hurt.
So we get to the mainland, pick up our rental car and before we set off on our road trip home, I convince him it might be worth popping into the local medical centre to see about my legs, which are still red raw, throbbing and feel like they are about to split open every time I get vertical. The woman at the medical centre takes one look at me and sends us to the nearby regional hospital. With much eye-rolling and comments about hysterical old nannas, hubby takes me.
We arrive at the hospital, and hooray for being out in the sticks, I am the only person in the ER. We get seen straight away. As the Doctor is fussing over my poor, swollen, lobster-red legs, hubby pipes up with a question about surely this can't be all that serious, it's just a sunburn for Heaven's sake.
The Doctor shoots him an incredulous look. "Tell me, would you be at all worried if she had tipped a pot of boiling water on herself?"
Hubby looks horrified, "Of course, that'd be, like, a major injury!"
"Well, this is just about as bad. Imagine the water was just about to boil instead. Your wife has second-degree burns on about 20 percent of her body. She is in extreme pain, has lost the ability to regulate her temperature, and, as the blisters worsen, is vunerable to infection."
"Does this mean I can get some some pain meds now?" This last comment is from me.
A few hours later, after an application of industrial-strength salve, the begged-for pain meds and a list of care instructions, we set off on the 3 day drive home. By this stage, I am laughing like a drain (the meds, remember) at my ability to un-romanticise any given occasion, even my own honeymoon. Hubby is shell-shocked and babbling apologies about not taking my melodrama seriously.
The trip home was actually pretty fun. I had my drugs and salve, and hubby and I have always been good at road trips. My legs healed quickly and I still have fond memories of sitting in a steamy shower in a motel in Bundaberg, peeling long strips of skin off my legs, completely grossing hubby out. Hee hee.