Possibilities of the Mind

Surf culture dominates the atmosphere around the island; Bali epitomizes surf and surfers dream of Bali. After a four-month dry spell, the anticipated aquatic return had to occur. Despite the general discomfort, a surf session in surf paradise seemed an option to cure the body. After over three hours within cool ocean waters, the shivers became too strong to fight off. And so I surfed one final wave onto warmer sheets.

An overwhelming cold sensation brought second thoughts about the earlier choice of enjoyment over aptness. The room temperature was close to 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit); yet, I had myself wrapped in two sweatshirts, pants, double socks and a blanket. The feeling persisted all throughout the night as the pain reached distant body parts; I was torn to pieces. Luckily, I had packed some medication; several pills into the morning, the sensation continued.

Intense coughing and congested nose were some of the accompanying symptoms. Without many options left, I called my medical insurance and after predictable bureaucracy, a free hospital consultation was confirmed in the afternoon. The clinic surpassed all expectations, and the in-house Doctor did not spare any attention. Preliminary tests out, blood exams in, by early afternoon I was back in my hotel room with six different medications. Don’t let the word “hotel” fool you. In a 5-star hotel ranking, it would get one lonely star; not an award one would necessarily want to share.

The Doctor did propose an eventual stay in the clinic; yet, due to bed (un)availability, after exact 12 hours I would have to leave my comfortable room and chase the lonely star. Cold sweats, joint paint, intense coughing; I just wanted to peacefully get my rest in spite of the location. 16 hours of sleep later (under heavy medication), another missed Brazilian football match and the prospect of the coming week was beginning to sink in.

Monday and Tuesday were scheduled for filming; the first day would be used for the remaining office interviews and by the following morning, I would travel to West Bali to visit the organization’s local branch. The original plan was to finish documenting Dinari’s work by Friday, and start another documentary within the weekend. However, sickness pushed the project behind schedule; Monday and Tuesday were rescheduled solely for recovery, further jeopardizing the filming of the second documentary.

Had it been other organizations, I would probably feel uncomfortable about breaking the news; but Dinari’s staff made me feel at ease from the start (some members even paid a visit and brought goodies). From what I gathered through conversations, rescheduling is a rather touchy subject. Once Balinese people give their word, individuals expect the visit on that pre-established date and time; to the extent that Dinari’s staff visited some clients and filmed their work while I was out, as if it belonged to the documentary.

Body needs must be respected, though. I chose to ignore the signs; I could not disregard the consequences. Perhaps, even if the signs were to be taken into consideration, the outcome would still be inevitable. Although the body might be physically weaker, 10 kilos thinner, and thoroughly fatigued, the mind continued to fight. A rather speedy recovery, by Wednesday afternoon, I was already filming in West Bali – one day late, but still in time. Good intentions are never too late.