I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on March 7th, 2014. Instead of traveling straight there, I broke up the international journey into more “manageable” chunks because sleep deprivation and Adrenal Insufficiency do not play nicely with each other.
I first flew from DFW to PHX. From PHX, I flew into LAX.
From LAX, I had a twelve hour flight to NRT (Tokyo). I rested a day to make sure my Adrenal Insufficiency would behave.
From NRT, I had an eight hour flight into KUL on Malaysian Airlines. I arrived safely and were taken by taxi to my new home.
I spent Saturday unpacking and finding the grocery store. Today, I walked around the city and explored with another coworker on the same international assignment.
New environments and unknown situations can be stressful for me. Although I love experiencing new things, the thought is always in the back of my mind, “Will this make me sick?”
Today we had an option of walking up a hill or waiting for a shuttle. Would the walk up the hill take too many spoons and leave me behind for the rest of the day? Should I risk it? Every thing I do is a calculated decision because I understand all too well how energy is a limited resource. I requested we wait for the shuttle instead of climbing the hill.
At the top of the hill, we ventured to a Malaysian honey store that was highly recommended by a friend. After we purchased wild ginseng honey (a throw back to my study abroad in Korea), we decided to grab lunch at an Indian Restaurant.
From what I’ve noticed, Kuala Lumpur is weird about their water. The restaurant on Friday wanted to give us about 4 oz and call it good. I drink more water than that. Bring more refills. The restaurant today informed us that they only sell “mineral water” in small or large. I purchased a large 1.5L bottle. The waiter tried to tell us that would be enough to split for three people. Again, I drink more water. Bring us two bottles. I am easily dehydrated and with this humid heat I have to be extremely proactive about my water intake. I did finish that 1.5L bottle. In fact, I have had close to 5L of water and a salt tablet after lunch alone.
After lunch, we decided to venture to Central Market. We had a map and a general idea of where we were going. As we continued to walk, we ended up in a very different section of the city. Kuala Lumpur is indeed international and for the most part looks like just another big city. This section was different. It was crowded and overwhelming for me. I could feel my body start to shut down the longer I remained in what I considered a stressful and unsafe environment. I needed to get out fast.
We finally reached our destination after passing through that section of town. I guarantee the next time I visit it, I will be less overwhelmed. It is the initial exposure that taxes me greatly. I was shaky and confused but I had not realized the full extent. Central Market was full of stalls and shops and I decided to wander around. As my back began to ache worse (another low cortisol symptom) and I realized just how unstable my knees had become, I decided to take an additional 5 mg of HC.
In the end, we walked over six miles in 90 degree heat. This is such an amazing accomplishment for me as I think back to the time after my nightmare. In May of 2013, I was blacking out after climbing a single flight of stairs. I could barely walk from my couch to my kitchen. Today, I was exploring the new vibrant city that I now call home.
I look forward to showing the world how I am still Clearly Alive in Malaysia.