After 3 days off from physio and only 5.5 hours of therapy last week I had managed to get booked in for an 8.30am appointment on Monday 12th October. Phuong picked me up at 7.15am and I shared the car once again with Shannon, Stu and Jack who were off to the airport and flying to Saigon for a few days. The journey took a bit longer due to it being incredibly wet on the roads and when I got to physio it was ankle deep water that I had to walk in. That was the easy part because inside, on the lino floor, it was very slippery in bare feet and I was sliding a bit. Phuong helped me with the doors and told me to keep my shoes on but I managed ok. More flood photos were appearing on Facebook and there was news of hydropower plants facing landslides. Back at home I had a dragon fruit and an orange for lunch and shared a pot of green tea with Veronika. My visa still wasn’t ready but I was assured it would be in time for Captain Caveman to bring back at the end of the week, on his way back from Sapa. My good leg and the eczema was getting worse and I think it was infected so I was putting cream on but now the shower gel seemed to be irritating it and it was definitely infected. I had a zoom call with Ruth, a friend of Captain Caveman’s and a physiotherapist in the UK, she asked me to tell her what happened again and then she asked some questions, it was tricky without being able to fully translate word for word my MRI results in to English but we made do. I was keen to be able to supplement the physical massage therapy with some exercises and so she said she would send me some exercises to do in addition to my sessions in Dong Hoi. I felt a bit more confident having spoke to Ruth that I would be able to make more progress and hoped it would be beneficial to do some exercises which she would recommend.
That evening Veronika asked if I would like to share her wine gift, I agreed and I ate my falafel and veggies for tea. Veronika had soup and offered me some which I enjoyed, it was a veggie one with a good tasty flavour.  Back in the bedroom I put my returned laundry back and got ready for a good night’s sleep – I had planned a lay in!

I woke up so early on Tuesday 13th October and didn’t get to sleep in at all because my good leg was in pain and my eczema looked quite infected. I decided to put apple cider vinegar on it and it did make it less puffy. I did my bad leg exercise plan from Ruth and most of it was very hard to do (She did advise it could be challenging)! For breakfast I had 2 apples and then did a bit of blogging before lunch. I had hummus, red cabbage, red pepper, carrot and olives for lunch. Captain Caveman had 3 lots of bread in the freezer so I took out the smallest box of sourdough and defrosted a couple of slices for me to have with lunch and free up a bit of space as the freezer was crammed full. I found a gluten free Facebook group which was based in Hanoi and sent Captain Caveman some requests for supplies.
For dinner I had a couple of slices of the sourdough and another apple then went to bed really early because I was still feeling rather tired!

It was very blustery on Wednesday 14th October and Veronika, Bich and I were off to Dong Hoi. I’d experienced another small bit of progress and had got my shoes and socks on for the first time this year. I was wearing my black volleys which were a gift from our Aussie friends, Amanda & Greg, we should have all been in Dalyan together right now too!
Our first stop in Dong Hoi was the organic shop where we stocked up on vegetables and fruit, I also bought some cheap peanuts. Our second stop was at Bibi’s clothes shop where Bich was picking up Marmot raincoats which really looked the business, I was tempted to replace my (donated by Josh) Oxalis raincoat which isn’t waterproof. They were great value but cash was tight until payday and so I didn’t think it a good idea to waste money on something I would rarely use on account of me not going far. I saw some amazing dresses which were made from silk and had pockets but was sure they would be too expensive or too small. I tried a couple on and they both fit, actually one was too big, but the one I really liked was nice, slightly baggy and comfortable. I decided to splash out and spend the 500,000 vnd (about £16.50) and buy it, it would look great with black tights or leggings on a wintery night. I was ecstatic to buy a dress off the peg in a Vietnamese dress shop! Our next stop was at a newly opened supermarket called Tuan Viet Gourmet which was fantastic because it sold gluten free stuff as well as British stuff. I bought crisps, gluten and sugar free chocolate cookies, beetroot wafer crackers and baked beans. They sold McVittie’s chocolate digestives which Watto would be shoving in the trolley like a kid in a sweet shop if he was here. Our last stop was for brunch at Tree Hugger where I had herbal tea, a peach tea and veggie spring rolls. The weather was fine, in fact it was warmer than expected and we sat outside. Tree Hugger had been closed for a bit of renovation and it looked even more cosy than before. It was great to see Anna, the owner, who is so lovely and very welcoming. On our way back to Phong Nha we called at the chemist near the hospital and stocked up on a load of stuff, I got amoxicillin for my infected eczema and started taking it straight away. When I got home I did my exercises which were tricky as my good leg was now a bad leg too. I got confirmation my visa extension had been done and that my passport would be getting returned to Captain Caveman – a relief I was now able to remain in Vietnam until the 9th November. That night for dinner I was feeling too lethargic to cook and so I ate the rest of the sourdough with butter and took a cup of jasmine tea to bed.

When I came down in to the kitchen on Thursday 15th October the cleaners were here and so I took my pot of jasmine tea outside and I got talking to Co and Duyet. They introduced me to ‘con cháu chấu’ which means grasshopper – they are pests to the beautiful orchids which are in the garden and Co picked it up and threw it away. Time was cracking on by the time I went back indoors and so I had gluten free cookies for breakfast and then added some grapes for lunch. While the weather wasn’t too bad, where we were, it had continued to be pretty awful in our neighbouring provinces and it looked like we were definitely in for a very wet weekend.
Veronika had made a bowl of tomato salsa which she was having on toast and I had some with rice crackers. I also made myself some veggie rice in the rice cooker and had that and shared Veronika’s left over wine.
Tomorrow Captain Caveman was due back so I had the alarm set for an early get-up.

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