Take two and call me in the morning, Indian style
Bhubaneswar Travel Blog› entry 11 of 29 › view all entries
I just looked back through my journal, and on February 27th I wrote that I felt nauseous for the second day in a row. I hadn’t realized I’ve been feeling unwell for quite so long. I’m usually a very healthy person; I can’t remember the last time I even had a cold. And because I think of myself as impervious to illness, I ignored what my body was telling me. Well, that and the fact that the symptoms came and went every few days; I’d have a day when I literally couldn’t eat anything and had a fever, and then the next day I was back to my normal, chipper self -- fooled into thinking that I was healthy again.
I felt like a big complainer at work, never sick enough to stay home but nauseous enough to put my head down on my desk a few times. I got all kinds of home remedies from colleagues: from Sabita, coconut juice (in the form of a fresh coconut with the top cut off and a straw in it, presented by the office boy twice a day); from Pushpa, a creamy, milky white pudding of sorts, that tasted a bit like turnips and was I think actually made from root vegetables; from Sir (the guru at the ashram where I do yoga), a disgusting juice made from eucalyptus and other leaves; and from Sabita’s brother -- a homeopathic doctor -- two medicines, which the office boy (he’s busy) went out and got for me, and which I dutifully took without much questioning as to what they were and whether it was really a good idea (see previous blog entry about judgment suspension in India).
A few people told me to go to a doctor, but the stubborn, I can do it myself, I never get sick Debbie wouldn’t do it. Finally my volunteer program officer, Will, gave me a bit of a talking to and insisted that I get myself checked out. (Thanks, Will. You were right.) So I called International SOS, a medical referral service my volunteer program subscribes to. They made an appointment for me with a doctor in
The blood tests results were normal, but I still felt lousy. Then one Friday night my colleague Sabita invited me over to her apartment for dinner and to spend the night -- my first of either type of invitation in
I called International SOS and asked for an appointment that day with a different doctor. Take two, back at
Turns out I have E. coli! Thinking back to that journal entry, I started to feel sick after I ate chicken at an outdoor festival. No more street meat for me! Unfortunately, it’s resistant to oral antibiotics, so I'd have to go the intravenous route. I was already planning a weekend trip to
So now it’s a couple of days post-Delhi trip. I’ve been taking a couple of drugs for what the doctor suspects is giardia, but so far the E. coli hasn’t reared its ugly head. I feel back to my energetic self, and my appetite has returned. The lessons learned: 1) No more street meat!; 2) Though I work at having a good diet and exercising regularly, I've taken my good health for granted for a long time, and have newfound appreciation for it; 3) Listen to people who care about me; and 4) I don't have to go through everything alone, and it's okay to ask for help. I knew all of these things before (though now #1 is real vs. abstract), but the universe sent me a refresher. Guess I needed it. Or something.