I’ve built a pretty bloody good life for myself here in Tropical North Queensland. Before leaving on our epic trip last year I spent my days off scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, exploring beautiful islands or swimming in the endless waterfalls that are located nearby.
When we returned I had no plans for that to change. I love having adventures, even just ones in my own back yard, and there were still plenty of things I had to tick off my bucket list.
And then my left ear decided to screw me over.
For three months I had endless ear infections. At the time I was working on a reef boat and getting wet was part of the job so I’d take my drops, stay dry for a few days then jump back in and instantly the infection would return. I saw three different doctors until one told me to keep it dry for two weeks, I couldn’t even wash my hair properly. Like a good girl it stayed squeaky clean and all it took was one afternoon of diving and by the time I went to bed the infection was back.
Luckily by this time I was working on land and it seemed like the problem had resolved. I even got passed for my dive medical – hurrah! So when I had a day back on the boat, my last day before I started a new job, I jumped at the chance to dive.
For six dives I struggled through. Trying to ignore the screaming pain in my left ear and smiling through the agony, I took group after group of first time divers on the experience of a lifetime. It wasn’t until dive number seven when I noticed bubbles tickling the left side of my head that I decided I should maybe get out…
Yep, I’d managed to put a hole in my ear drum. Slow clap for me (and the doctors who missed it)! And one more doctor and an ear specialist later, we’re pretty sure that hole has been there for a while – hence why every time I went in the water my infection returned. Awesome, eh?
So now two months later I’m still waiting for it to heal, still waiting to find out if I’ll need an operation or if there’s another underlying cause. And in the meantime I can’t get wet, of course, because lets not do that while there’s essentially a gateway to my middle ear. My balance is bad enough as it is without wreaking havoc on that.
What I’ve learnt from the past few months of not getting wet at all under any circumstances is just how much of my life and activities revolved around water. I haven’t been to the reef because I can’t even snorkel, swimming in waterfalls is out of the question and honestly why would I go to an island if I can’t enjoy the beach?
It’s getting bad guys, on my day off last week I cleared out all of my kitchen cupboards and rearranged the bathroom. A year ago I would have been jumping in lakes or swimming with sharks.
Right now it really doesn’t feel like I’m really living my ‘gap life’ and that’s got to change because otherwise what’s the point of living here? I’ve already started to pull my socks up, going camping last weekend and a solo afternoon of waterfall discoveries planned for tomorrow.
It’s time to get my Gap Life back on track.