Sunday, 12/26- En Route to Piction, South Island via Bluebridge Ferry (Boxing Day)
(ed. note: This originally started, when I was writing it in my head, with, “Ow. Fuck. Oh god. Fuckfuckfuck. Ow.” I tried to class that up a little.)
Most plays, books, and movies are divided into three or five acts. In either case Act I is used to introduce the characters and set up the story. It ends and Act II begins with the first major conflict. “Getting your characters stuck in a tree,” I tell my students. Act II consists of throwing rocks at the characters, and Act III gets them down. Last night and this morning we ended Act I and I had serious concerns about needing an extended intermission.
I woke up around 11pm last night. We hadn't been asleep long. A pain woke me up. A pain I know all too well and live in constant fear of. A sharp stabbing in my left kidney. Fuck. No. Not here. Not now. I, friends and readers, am about to enter an indeterminate amount of time going between serious agony and mere shooting, throbbing pain. While camping. In another country.
Without going in to too much detail, because who wants that, I just say I spent the night going between the camp bathroom and Captain Slow, never really sleeping, trembling, cursing, and talking to myself (for encouragement) and my body (commanding it to either expel the offender or magically heal). It makes for a long, awful night. We prepared for this, bringing my scrip of Vicoden and Uroxitrol from the last attack, but nothing was staying down long enough to do any good.
I didn't know what to do. For most of the night I was positive I wouldn't be able to travel, let alone drive, today. Too much pain, too unpredictable. But today was one of the days of the trip we had to be somewhere. We needed to get to Wellington, a short 30k jaunt from camp, to catch our ferry to South Island. It's too late to get a refund. Catch it or eat it. Then what to do with the return tickets? Angela offered to drive and would have I'm sure, because she's a major trooper. She stayed up half the night with me, nothing she could do to really help, but offering moral support. But take my early difficulties with Captain Slow and add a basic unfamiliarity with a manual transmission and we have a nervous-making situation.
At around 10am or so I woke up, having managed a little sleep though not much. Angela suggested a warm shower might relax the muscles and aid passage. She was very worried about me but is too strong to show it. I wasn't in quite as bad of pain as earlier so I decided to give a shower a shot.
Post-shower I felt better. As good as one can feel with a small sharp rock cutting its way from kidney to bladder. I could stand up straighter. I was fighting for my inner Jedi and getting through this. On the long motorcycle trip she suffered through days of an undiagnosed asthma attack (another fear on this trip) and Too Good was dead sick for some but got those days done.
I put my foot down, gently, and decided I would be the one to drive to the grocery store, our first stop. While she went in and shopped I found a restroom and continued the fight. To my surprise I felt a sharp stab of pain in a place no man wants but in this case it was almost welcome. I've been here before too. Bladder spasm and pain means the stone has moved and is no longer cutting through the kidney tubes. One more push and *clink* I hear the bastard hit porcelain. Mine. Slowly the aches and pains fade to a dull throb, protesting their mistreatment. I fished my stone out (souvenir!), washed well, and headed back to Captain Slow.
Angela met me there and we both breathed sighs of relief at how quickly the episode passed. Almost 11pm to 11:30am, thats fast for this. I've had them go on for days. Could have been much worse, though it didn't feel like that at the time.
Relieved and in high spirits we went on to the New Zealand capitol city of Wellington. We had a hot tip that the Te Papa museum was both interesting and free, so that's where we went.
Te Papa was both of the above. But neither Angela nor I had gotten much sleep and a museum sleepy, even a really good museum, is a hard thing. We enjoyed what we could and did some cultural learning then went out to walk around Wellington. I gotta say, compared to some of the other places we've been Wellington wasn't great. Ok, not great. I'm sure my night's ordeal and sleep debt contribute to this opinion.
Its Christmas at home today we thought it would be fun to Skype home. McDonalds, we were told, has a free wi-fi network. So, for this first time in years, to McD's! Fail. Network there was, free it was, but for some reason Angela's phone was having none of it. Finding a net cafe is now a high priority. We are not dead!
In Te Papa I made Angela take a bunch of pictures of the exhibits I can share with my kids. They want trip pictures? Whip some education on 'em! That'll teach them to be interested in my life...some of them would have really dug this place.
Also, an Aussie said, “G'day,” to me today. Awesome! There is a friendly (I think) rivalry between the sub-continent and its southern island cousins. To sum it up, a Rugby World Cup shirt I've seen reads, “There's no crying in rugby! (Unless you're Australian!)” We need to get in on this!
The wind in Wellington is severe in the extreme and it made it cold. It also made it hard to open car doors. For her, not me. Grrrr, tough guy.
In my continuing efforts to figure out cricket I forced Angela listen to it on the radio for a while today. This is less helpful because I don't know what any of the terms mean. I don't know why the announcer is so excited. I'm not as sure about importing cricket as I am about rugby. Rugby is like (American) football but without pads. Cricket is kind of baseball but without bases...and in white polo shorts. Meh.
Ok, I survived my stone this am, I will not be fine with the mild rocking of the boat (ship!) as we cross islands through the Sound. Hope we find somewhere to park tonight. We make berth at midnight.