It was 3am on Friday 10th July when I woke up with a fast-pacing heart and feeling super alert. The medication I had taken was having a bit of a reaction and I was feeling slightly panicky. I made use of the bad situation when I knew I was beyond relaxing and got on and did several Turkish lessons and lots of blog writing which I was lagging behind on. I had the usual Nam Long Plus hotel breakfast of pho and they also gave me homemade yoghurt and banana this time.
My leg, despite the drugs, was still feeling a bit of pain and so I did a few exercises to try to help – I was definitely getting more flexible but I was worried the tablets were too strong.
For lunch I ordered beef and veg rice plate, fried veggie spring rolls and peach tea from Tree Hugger and I am now a massive fan of iced peach tea. I saved half of my lunch for my dinner. Physio was interesting, the heat treatment had started to feel nice and relaxing for a change and after 15 minutes the therapist had to come and get me as I was almost asleep. Thuy told me I had taken the medicine in the wrong order and that instead of having all 4 things after a meal I should have taken omeparazole on an empty stomach, half an hour before eating. The Gastropulgite I was also meant to have before eating and on an empty stomach, then I should take the methylprednisolone and meloxicam after the food. She told me I had done it wrong and to try again, that it was strong but it would work if I gave it chance. I messaged a couple of trusted people in the medical profession back home who also thought I should persist. I said I would think about it and didn’t take any that night as I still wasn’t falling asleep by 10pm. Captain Caveman had returned from a successful Son Doong trip and would be meeting me in Phong Nha tomorrow for a couple of days break together.

Captain Caveman and I had another treat planned for Saturday 11th July but first I had my early morning physio session. I had Nam again and he is really good with my foot, spending time sorting out my toes which still seem to be suffering from some sort of nerve damage. Thuy escorted me outside after the session and she got involved with some photo taking as well as a quick update to my translator. I had my trusty Phuong, of Phuong’s Transfers, pick me up from the physio just after 10am where Captain Caveman had us go to buy a screwdriver from the hardware store on the corner. The owner was pressure washing the floor outside the shop and so Phuong, armed with a photo of the required screwdriver, went in to get it for us – he even had a go on the pressure washer! Mission accomplished for only 25,000 vnd (85p) and then a phone call to Captain Caveman to double check it was ok before heading back to pick up my bag from the hotel. Phuong went to get my bag from my room because the staff were busy, as well as checking I had everything and carrying my bags.

I’d arranged to meet Captain Caveman and Veronika for lunch at Phong Nha Farmstay and they were already waiting when I arrived. We had booked in for 2 nights in one of the pool villas again and I was excited, this time we were in Gypsy villa. First we had lunch by the main pool, I remembered to take my medication in the right way this time and all seemed ok. I had the chicken with fried rice while Captain Caveman had pizza (his favourite) and Veronika had soup with quesadillas.
At the villas I had a swim and then I managed to get to the sunken seated patio area where we sat and shared a bottle of white wine. After more swimming, walking in the pool for me, I had a lovely bubble bath in the outdoor bathroom and then we sat outside, next to the private pool, for some drinks. A frazzled Veronika joined us after babysitting all day and we shared some wine but she wasn’t able to join us for dinner. Captain Caveman had the burger and I had the duck, with more wine. I was certainly looking forward to sleeping in one of the comfiest beds in Phong Nha again.

Sunday 12th July was amazing; I had a walk down from the pool villa to the main breakfast area of Phong Nha Farmstay and Captain Caveman took a video of me crutching down the ramp – I was getting better at it! I had bacon, mushrooms and beans while he had sausages and scrambled eggs for breakfast. We spent most of the morning either in or around the pool and I tried my best to resist the crisps which had been added to the mini bar! For lunch I had the fresh spring rolls and Captain Caveman had yet another pizza. More pool action was had in the afternoon and then the temptation of the crisps was too much and we had to have them, along with a bottle of wine – that mini bar is just too well-stocked!!!
By late afternoon I’d also had a red berries rekorderlig cider (the first time in well over a year) which was very refreshing. I treated myself to another bubble bath and in the evening Veronika joined us for a drink, this time we shared a bottle of red wine. Captain Caveman had bun cha for dinner and I had the beef in bamboo. It was such a lovely day and I was pretty tired by 10pm when we went to bed. Tomorrow I was about to embark on my 5th week of physio (and possibly my last) starting my 50th hour in the afternoon.

Photo credits; Phuong, Thuy, Thuy, Captain Caveman, Veronika

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