Imagine this: You’re on a boat with your lover, watching fireflies light up around you like a Christmas tree. It’s the most romantic thing in the world.
Except he’s dying.
At least he looks like he’s dying.
Mesmerized by millions of these winged twinkle stars, it felt as if I was right in the middle of the Milky Way galaxy.
“ Look! I caught one!” I carefully opened my palms to show Johan.
He struggled to lift his head up and mumbled a word of approval before nodding off again. I whispered to him not to fall asleep.
“I really have to pee…” He whispered back weakly, his lips the color of ash.
“I know…just hold on.” I comforted him while attempting to prop his head up so he doesn’t pass out.
We’ve been on this boat for an hour as part of the package tour deal. While he continued to sip the water I brought, his body seemed unable to retain liquids. Which only exacerbated his heat stroke.
By the time we made it to shore, he’s looking worse than I’ve ever seen him.
By the time we made it back to the hotel, he could barely speak.
I laid him down on the bed and watched him shiver under two layers of blanket. Having the least clue of how to deal with this I started to google heatstroke symptoms on WebMD.
“Heat stroke is also sometimes referred to as heatstroke or sun stroke. Severe hyperthermia is defined as a body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher.”
*Feels Johan’s forehead*
“Heat stroke is a true medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated.”
Holy double fuck!
I immediately ran to the bathroom and got him a cool towel like WebMD instructed.
I put it on his forehead and attempted to talk to him. He’s so out of it by this point that he can only whimper back.
I started to pace around the room, firing rapid words of comfort to him, but more so to myself. I rummaged through the mini fridge, using cold beers to cool his burning body down, but his condition continued to decline.
Fuck this! He needs a doctor!
I ran down to the lobby and frantically tried to explain the situation to the concierge.
“Is there a clinic nearby? Hospital??? ER???” I rambled on desperately.
“There is a hospital…but very far.” He look sincere but helpless.
“Oh my God…” I buried my head in my hands. “But my boyfriend…he’s burning up!”
“Ma’am… I’m not sure what I can do. There’s nothing near by…The hospital is quite far, you would have to call a cab…and then it’s maybe 30 minutes from here…”
“Nevermind!” I cut him off, knowing that if the hospitals were anything like China we wouldn’t get service until the morning. What with the paper work, our lack of ability to speak the local language and not to mention lack of travel insurance. The journey would only make Johan worse not better.
“Do you at least have a thermometer???” I asked as a last attempt.
I ran out of the lobby before he could finish.
Back in the room, John looked slightly better with the cold towel on his head. Out of options, I took every towel we had in the room and drenched it in cold water. I put the towels in the mini fridge then placed them all over his body. Hand towels on his neck. Bath towels on his chest. Pillowcases on his stomach.
Not knowing what else to do. I laid down beside him waited…. And waited…
“I love you…” I whispered in his ear.
There was no response except for a whimper.
“Please be ok.” I stroked his cheek and begged. “Please…”
I stayed up the rest of the night to freshen his towels.
Drench in water. Refrigerate. Place on body. Repeat.
When I opened my eyes I was assaulted by a blinding light that poured through the unshaded windows. I didn’t intend to fall asleep, but I must have because the sun was already up and for a moment I forgot where I was.
I look over at Johan’s still figure and suddenly remembered.
Saying a quick prayer, I opened my eyes and tentatively looked over once more. I saw his chest rising up and down, and just to be sure I placed my finger under his nose.
Oh thank God. He was still alive.
An hour or so later he woke up. Still weak but looking much better than before.
“Drink!!!” I thrusted a cup of water in front of his face.
After a few more cups of water, his color started to return and he no longer looked like the crypt keeper.
“What happened?” He asked, appearing more energetic by the second.
“You had a bit of fever last night…” Suddenly feeling silly at how much I freaked out last night.
“Mmmmmm…” Was all he could say as he continued to guzzle water like a camel in the desert.
Feeling calm now the worst was over, I was finally able to think of something else.
“So… what do you wanna do today?” I asked casually, sensing that the storm has passed.
“Hmm…” He said as he leafed through the hotel brochures of Kota Kinabalu. “ Ohhhhh! How about Deep sea diving???”
“Oh Hellllllllllll No!” Was all I could say.