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How I got old. And sick. A true story.

- You are old! The words came from the already drunk guy at the bar in Ross Island hotel. I was early to have a 10-dollar dinner before the karaoke started at eight. I did not really know him - only that he used to go fishing with my female karaoke-singing partner. I had not seen her in a while and when I asked him where she was the comment on my age was his only reply. So age had caught up with me? I had always been looking younger than I was, from I was I primary-school boy.

This story might have stared sometime before. One night some months ago when I was watching TV an afternoon back home, what looked like a tiny mosquito bit me on my left leg. I killed it, and wondered why it was so small - and how it had gotten inside the house. We have mosquito-screens and were never bothered by them. Some time later I got a rash on my lower legs, mostly on the left. It was so itchy that I went to the doctor. I was told that it just was a heat rash and got something to put on. I have later figured out that it is a sandfly (midge), obviously of the biting sort.

On Wednesday night on the first of September I went to the karaoke at Flynns bar in the city. To sing karaoke is what I am doing now that I no longer am a table tennis coach. I remember that I was sitting with a group of boys and girls, and that I late in the night went to the toilet to pour out some of my beer. Don't' remember why. The next I remember is that I woke up very late, feeling no good. I usually wake up at 7.00 even when I have been at the karaoke at Flynns until it is closing at 2.30. My bedside table was halfway tipped over and the alarm-clock and light was on the floor. I stayed in bed almost the whole day, feeling sick. I had a kind of injury to my left eye and chin. I wanted to go to the doctor but could not get me to get there. The next night I woke up at about 3.00 - feeling that I was about to faint. So strange that I woke up my son (23 years old), the only one in the house that day/night (my wife was staying with our daughter), and said that I needed to see the doctor. He said that the doctor was closed. I tried to go back to bed but was feeling so strange that I woke him up again and said that I needed to go to the hospital. We did and were that about 4.00 in the early morning. CT-scanning of the head and X-ray of my left hand. No visible sign of concussion to the head and the hand just shoed an old injury to the thumb.

So what had happened that night? On Facebook I asked the friends I remember I had been with but only one boy replied. He said that I should ask the security guard at Flynns. Well, through other people I have been told that I had left Flynns with some people and that I fell down on the road. It was an ambulance close to and they wanted me to go to the hospital but I refused and managed to get a taxi back home - after behaving a bit strange (peeing on the grass and saying odd things to a girl).
I asked my son if he had any idea what had happened. - Somebody might have slipped a roofie in your beer, he said. I had no idea what a roofie was, and looked it up. It was a "date-rape drug", like Rohypnol or Ketamin. - It is very common in Townsville these days, said my son, - it has happened to me as well.
I some time later asked the security guard at Flynns, and he said he had seen me inside the bar - looking ok. So did somebody slip me a roofie or did I have another health-problem?

After that night I have not been feeling 100 percent. When I sit down to write, I am ok, but when I stand up and walk I feel dizzy. I understand that I am getting to become an old man, many of my friends in Norway have already passed away, but it is something else. It is not long ago since I was thinking to myself that I was lucky to be so active. Well, I am walking the dog 45 minutes every day. Taking my blood-pressure tablets and eating vegetables like broccoli. Even if I am retired I am writing articles and researching ancient history every day. I feel that I am more mentally and physically active than most people I know. Do I have a health problem that I do not recognize? That is what I really want to know.

The only other thing I can think about is what happened when I in 2014 travelled to Los Angeles to be part of a TV-program about ancient giants. The same week somebody had dropped a table tennis table on my legs. When I left the plane I fainted at the airport. Luckily I managed to signal to the crew standing outside the plane and they brought oxygen and called the ambulance. The doctors said that the injury to my legs had brought blood-clots to both lungs and that I was lucky to be alive.

Terje Dahl
23. November 2021



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