September 6-16. That’s how long I was supposed to be in Hong Kong. It is now September 22 with no clear departure date in sight. I’ve flown so many flights in my life, yet somehow, my Beijing to Hong Kong flight was different. I became sick soon after landing, with my symptoms constantly changing. One day I was flu-ish and ill, the next I had a head cold with swollen neck glands, the next I was hard of hearing. All the while I had a complete loss of appetite. I took some antibiotics from a pharmacist which helped address my symptoms but not what was apparently the underlying issue. On a bus ride in Macau, I suddenly went completely deaf out of my right ear. The moment this happened I knew something was actually wrong that I wasn’t going to be able to fix myself, so I did something I hadn’t done this entire trip. I went to the doctor.

Final diagnosis was barotrauma with conductive hearing loss and ostitis media. Basically, an ear infection that was so bad that I had gone deaf. Hearing really is one of those things you take for granted until it’s gone. Sitting in a busy restaurant, walking through a crowded mall, or anywhere where I could hear all the noise through my left ear but nothing out of my right is one of the most disorienting things I’ve experienced. Seeing mouths moving on my right but hearing no sound coming from them is, quite frankly, scary. Having it happen in a foreign country is even worse.

My stay in Hong Kong has already been extended by s week, with an undetermined amount of time still here until I have completely healed. In one sense I’m thankful it happened here, where there’s proper medical facilities. In another, this is the most damned expensive country I have to on my travels – why here!

Thankfully, I got the appropriate insurance before I left, so that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about for the moment. When I can leave though, that’s another question.

+1 on the every growing list of reasons I’ve been stuck in a foreign country!