24 January 2008
this is how I spent my last day in India (tuesday afternoon), flat on my back from food poisoning. I am still sick and have had "loose motions" and stomach pain since last Friday evening -- a long time. as I said in the previous post, I am sporting the fashionable emaciated heroin chic look right now. I weighed myself this morning and have lost almost 10 pounds. I wanted to lose weight in india, but not this way!
I won't bore you with the gory details but I was stupid and ate a "jam cake" in Fort Cochin, Kerala late at night. I realized at about 3 am early saturday morning when I woke up puking my guts out that the thing had been sitting out all day in the heat. what an asshole I was. I have survived indian street food and drinking chai from street vendors where the chai cups are washed out in who knows what type of germ-infested phlegmy water, and a pastry does me in. am going to rethink drinking street chai for my future trips. chai cups washed in water that sits out all day doesn't appeal to me. and while I'll be contributing to India's worsening garbage problem (like it could get any worse), think I will only drink chai from stalls that use plastic cups from now on.
My friends Nick and Sushi (my thankachi in tamil, i.e., "younger sister") picked me up Tuesday morning from the 5 star hotel I stayed in for my last two nights in india -- where I spent most of my time in bed or on the toilet -- and took me to their house. since I was facing two flights totaling 18 hours, Sushi (Nick's wife) thought it would be a good idea that I go to hospital for an IV. I had thought that on the way home from the airport I was going to tell my husband to stop at an ER for the same thing.
When they took me, I was very sick. I basically had not eaten anything substantial for 5 days and my brain felt like it was in a fog from lack of food. I felt very disoriented.
They took me to the hospital that is admininstered by Sushi's daughter-in-law's father. Sushi made the call and they were waiting for us. I was treated by the head doctor and the head nurse -- for free. The head nurse is in the pink sari and sushi is in the orange sari, but she is hiding on the left side. I saw Nick taking the picture and said "oh no you don't!" and put my arm over my ashen face.
They wanted to give me two bottles of glucose and salt but it was already after 6 pm when we left and I had to repack my bags, we had to get back to the house. The hospital director (sushi's in-law) did not ask for one rupee, but I would not have felt right if I did not give something so before we left I gave him 1000 rupees for my treatment and told him to donate it to a charity if he wants to -- 1000 rupees is about $26. The hospital, by the way, is a hospital for leprosy, TB, and AIDS patients. The room I was in was a private room.
This was my third trip and I never got sick before this. my husband said since I got sick I should never go back to india. I looked at him and said, "you know that's not going to happen..." but he was happy that I told him I decided not to go to sri lanka this year with the buddhist monk whom I sit with because the tamil tiger and sri lankan ceasefire is over, I decided it would not be safe. but I do feel like a big chicken for deciding that.
Thanks to all my Indian friends!