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Sleeping with One Eye Open – Mexico pt IV

January 22, 2012

Thursday 19 January – The Waiting Game


Track: Time to Pretend, MGMT


First morning on the new meds. The plan had been to go to San Carlos today, as has been the plan for the last three or four days but things keep happening. Now that I am on meds and we don’t really know how that is going to work out we are giving it a miss today.

Another day pottering around really and dutifully taking some pills as and when.

This is a weird sensation; I have not lost any feeling in the side of my face. It just doesn’t move quite as it should. My right eye does not close, not even to blink at the moment, which feels really odd. Always having one eye open is in an interesting experience. It is amazing how quickly the eye adapts though. I first noticed this as my right eye was streaming fluid before the hospital trip and I kept having to wipe it away as it blurred my vision. Today only a couple of days later there is very little excess fluid and vision is pretty good. I haven’t spent much time outside and that may make things interesting as it is very dusty here. 

At least I can still read. Shame the book I am reading is not really that interesting. I think I am going to give up on Eco after this. Name of the Rose is one of the best books I have read but everything else has just been a bit of a disappointment.

I am spending most of the day on the internet looking at my new diet to deal with the triglycerides. Miros is going out for food supplies so would like to know what I can and can’t eat. Given that I am completely off alcohol with the meds I may as well launch straight into the diet as well. The list of foods I can now eat has shrunk dramatically. Basically no carbohydrate. Any weight that I might loose from basically not eating anything is counteracted by the steroid that I am taking, so not even a silver lining there then.

At the moment my travel insurance company are making all the right noises. So far the cost of medical treatment and drugs is probably about $500-600. Thankfully my father has picked this up, I hope I can pay him back but he is resigned to the fact that the insurers might very well find some reason not to pay out. Whilst the treatment has cost some cash, it has been fantastic and I don’t think I could have done any better. (he wouldn’t even let me pay for lunch after we came out of the hospital)

I am a little weary now the drugs are kicking in. Not sure how much I am going to achieve for the rest of the day.

I have to sleep on my right side. My eye won’t close properly so I am using my right arm to cushion my head and apply the slightest pressure on my forehead which helps to keep it closed.

I don’t find it hard to go to sleep.


Friday 20 January – The Day Trip


I am feeling pretty good today. I have woken with some additional movement in my face, not much but I am taking anything at the moment.

The plan today is to head off to San Carlos, a small town on the coast and where my father used to have a house. They both still have a plot of land there so as well as a nice day trip we can have a look in on that as well. My father definitely thinks there is some improvement in my facial movement, I am not so sure. Much of the improvement I was feeling this morning has all but disappeared. For about an hour there was definitely an improvement but it seems to have disappeared.

I can’t stop making faces in the mirror. It’s ridiculous but I want to constantly check in and see if there is any discernable change – which probably looks absolutely ridiculous to anybody watching.

I don’t feel too tired at the moment; I actually feel quite awake and it is nice to be out of the house and in some sun.

Almost inevitably we have to stop off at a bathroom shop and look at some tiles after we have dropped Derek off at school. I let them potter about and compare shower heads.

“That’s a nice tile” – I can’t believe I just said that out loud. I am blaming the drugs.

Back on the road it is about an hour to San Carlos. We are not in any kind of rush as Derek is being picked up by Miros’ parents and will stay with them tonight. It is great to see some more of the country. If you have ever played Red Dead Redemption you will be well on the way to picturing the scene. It is a desert that has a fair amount of brush, lots of cacti. The dust here isn’t nearly as red as in the south western states of the US (Arizona and New Mexico in particular) but it has a similar feel. I continue to be surprised at just how mountainous the landscape is, it looks almost volcanic. I don’t really know why but I expected it to be much more barren and flat. The mountains and valleys are a dramatic backdrop and contrast against the azure skies.

San Carlos is a lovely town that has some fantastic property, but as is typical in many parts of Mexico has relied on the tourist trade (particularly from the US) and foreigners buying up second homes. The nearby coastal town of Guymas had a huge amount of money invested in the mid-2000s that dramatically improved the harbour and made it the fourth most important port in Mexico. Part of the development was to allow cruise ships to dock and bring in further numbers – last year they had six cruise ships dock all year. A complete disaster and San Carlos is suffering. You can buy a fantastic 3 bedroom 3 bathroom house overlooking the marina for less that £130,000. If you want to buy a plot of land and build your own house you can buy for as little as £20,000. The cost of building here is very cheap.

So we wander around for a bit and visit some old spots that they used to like and then go and have lunch in the marina. It is a beautiful spot. It is a fantastic day with a cool breeze which is taking the edge of the underlying heat. I am right on the new diet so tuck into grilled salmon and salad. And water.

We start to head back at about 4pm – I am starting to feel very tired now.

Home again and whilst I am tired I can’t seem to go to sleep. Actually all I can think about is food. This carbohydrate thing (sugar in particular) is going to be tough.

I have noticed that after about eight hours the drugs are starting to wear off.

I stick a bit of chicken in a pan and make a quick salad. All fine but I am craving something sweet.

CNN debate in South Carolina tonight – looking forward to this. Gingrich is on a bit of a surge and Romney looking vulnerable. John King serves up a bit of a softball and Gingrich comes out swinging in some sort of biblical rage against the media in general. Gingrich gets a standing ovation. Gingrich is very good at doing nasty, Romney isn’t.

First half good for Gingrich, second half good for Santorum.

Gingrich could pull this off – and not by a little bit.

The fan on the ceiling of my room when lit from the spill of light from the corridor looks like something out The Blair Witch Project or The Wicker Man. One of the problems of only having a single eye that is working properly is that I am often waking up with one eye already open. Something wakes me in the middle of the night and the first sight the forms in front of me is a hanging idol from Blair With.

Scares the living crap out of me.


Saturday 21 January – The Shopping Trip


Picture: A small girl observed from the door way of a shop filled with catholic artefacts. She is staring at a carved image of the crucifixion with a mixture of wonder and abject horror.


If in doubt go for a bit of retail therapy. Miros is taking me into central Hermosillo to see a bit of “traditional” Mexican life. I am on the look out for some things to bring home for friends. Some of the more esoteric items being Lucha Libre masks and Day of the Dead artefacts. Downtown Hermosillo is a bustling, heady mix of people, traffic, and lots of music. Of course all I can concentrate on for the first half hour is all the street food and smells coming out of the numerous cantenas that I cant have.

It is great to finally be out and about. It has taken a while but I finally think I have seen, smelt and touched something of the real contemporary Mexico.

The shopping trip was a great success and I have picked up a nice bottle of Mescal – which I hope I will get to taste at some point. (Not that I am counting the days till I can have something other than water to drink)

The architecture is an interesting blend of colonial Spanish with some contemporary interjections but there is also a huge amount that is run down and falling apart. The heat I think has a lot to do with it. When you reach mid 40 degree heat (and higher) in the summer, poor building materials just crumble away.

There is so much to experience and always another shop to duck into, even if it is just to see what it is they actually sell. Which is not always obvious from the outside.

My face is better today. No question. But, it does seem to cycle in its behaviour (I realise this sounds very odd). One moment I am able to wink with my right eye, the next I can barely close it at all. I have given up trying to understand and make judgements as to how this is all going. Dosages increase tomorrow so that should be interesting.

Back home at 2pm. I am starving. And very tired. I keep telling myself that these drugs aren’t making me drowsy but I think I may be deluding myself.

I down a couple of glasses of water (I know how to have a good time).

Miros bought some very thin strips of beef whilst she was out the other day; I have three in the pan and a tomato salad put together for us all in the time it takes most mortals to think about whether to put milk in their tea.

Watching the South Carolina primary results come in.   Exit polls saying Gingrich has won by 9 points.

Gingrich wins by 12 points – not good for Romney. Worse I think for the GOP, Gingrich is totally unelectable in a general election.

Salmon and broccoli for diner. My father has potatoes. I am a little sad about this.

The plan for tomorrow is go to Kino which is a favourite holiday spot for the locals. It is a white sandy beach and apparently very beautiful. I couldn’t really give a stuff about white sand (I don’t really like beaches) but Derek will like it and I think there is a pretty good chance of getting some fresh local seafood. I am in.

I was promised some chilled out effects from these pills but I am really struggling to sleep.


Sunday 22 January – I sleep, I dream


Track: The House of the Rising Sun, The Animals


Sleeping with one eye open really isn’t working for me. I am trying to pull the right arm closing eye trick but it just doesn’t feel right and I can’t get comfortable.

I am awake. I have no idea what time it is. The sun comes up very quickly here so it could be anything from 2am onwards.

I have had the strangest dreams which include a whole section of a former colleague (Andy K) and me devising an interpretive dance sequence around the ramparts of an old fishing village.

Perhaps these drugs do have some interesting qualities after all…..  



From → On Holiday

  1. Ian Frampton permalink

    Hi Chris. I hope you’re on the mend. I suspect that the combined effects of the detox and carbs free diet are offsetting the marginal CBZ dose… Focus (sorry, poor taste pun) on the long term benefits of all that healthy lifestyle… Safe journeys…. Ix

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