We enjoy brekky and Ms Emma is keen to return to the massage place for some reflexology action. Again, the morning sun and heat has us exhausted not even 5 minutes walk from Ko-Ko-Mo. We get to ‘Exqisit’ and grab the first available booking for 1pm. We decide to avail ourselves upon ‘Scallywags’; a local cafe/bar institution. The island is still in a sleepy state – even at around 11.30am and we snare two comfy cane lounges that seat you like bean bags; big, thick black downy mattresses with cushions galore. Although the height of relaxation, the ramifications of an extended sit in this couch would dominate the early days of our stay on Gili T.
The reflexology massages go down a treat. My masseuse does a sensational job relaxing me; all the more notable for how sweaty and hyper-sensitive I am about it. After the 30 minutes are up, we head back to Scallywags and de-brief about how good our treatments were. The menu here is first class, offering a selection of the light, the sizeable and the gourmet and all at the reasonable price you’d expect from these parts. Such is the heat of the day, that Ms Emma avails herself of a Bintang – a rarity. We choose ‘Grange Chicken’ sandwiches; schnitzel style chicken with a beetroot and aioli paste in a baguette (Big Boss) and a wrap (Ms Emma). The service at Scallywags could be said to be slow and inattentive, although I was of the position that the staff prefer to leave you alone to relax and soak up the atmosphere of the laid-back island style.
We decide to leave Scallywags and as I’m getting up out of my couch, I can feel a ping in the lower right side of my back. I sense the beginning of a holiday nightmare beginning. I have a chronic lower back condition that if left untreated, has seen me in hospital in the most excruciating pain. I’m not sure of the exact medical term – sub-luxated L4 and 5 comes to mind – but basically, the discs in the lower part of my back shift ever so slightly that they pinch the nerves, causing the pain. The only remedy that works is treatment from either of two Osteopath’s in Middle Park and St Kilda respectively. I manage things as best I can: no heavy lifting, no sit-ups at the gym, basically, nothing that loads up the muscles in my lower abdomen and lower back, which works to a degree, but there have been episodes which have been brought on simply by nothing more innocuous than putting jocks on of a morning.
I feel the tell-tale ping as I climb out of the couch and I can feel the anxiety shoot through my body like cold ice. I decide not to mention anything to Ms Emma and push on, hoping that a walk and stretching out my back will settle the pain down. It works to a degree that by the time we arrive back at KKM, I can straighten up and walk normally. I’m also optimistic as I have my prescribed Valium with me and the last batch of prescribed anti-inflammatory meds from my last hospital trip. I down a couple of valium and the anti-inflamms and wait for the magic to kick in (Looking back later in the night, Ms Emma tells me that she could sense something was wrong from the time we returned from Scallywags). Ms Emma goes off for a cooling beach swim as I excuse myself and return to our spa, hoping that taking the weight off my back with some massage and floatation action will ease things up a bit. The waiting game begins.
We decide to venture into ‘town’ for dinner and we happen upon an Italian restaurant; Cucina Trattoria (a carbon copy of the Seminyak restaurant). We choose a beautiful table which is located directly on the beach, with the evening sea breeze from the west a cooling respite from the day. We share a pizza for dinner (so very daring!) and enjoy drinks. As we get up to leave, my chair sinks into the sand, throwing me off balance and causing me to instinctively jolt forward, only to exacerbate the pain in my back.
When arrive back at the villa, I’m clearly in a bit of a panic. I decide to tell Ms Emma about how my back is and that I’m taking another dose of valium and anti-inflamms – I don’t want to tell her, as she’s seen how bad my back can get and I don’t want to spoil our holiday, but at the same time, it’s getting painful enough that I won’t be able to keep it from her much longer. A four hour guided snorkelling tour of the islands in a private boat is scheduled for the Tuesday and while I don’t want to miss it, I’m beginning to get really worried about my back, knowing that I end up in hospital if left untreated. I tell Ms Emma that I’ll take some more drugs and see how things are in the morning.
My sleep that night is restless. I lie awake immersed in thoughts of liaising with travel insurance people as I try to arrange an early flight to Melbourne on medical grounds, of arriving in Melbourne in extreme pain, stumbling from the airport to the osteo for some treatment and battering myself emotionally that I’ve ruined our holiday, all the while that I’m needlessly blowing the situation beyond all reasonable proportions, knowing all the while that the medication takes some time to take effect
It is a long night.