I have been in India for Seven weeks now and have been lucky enough not to get sick other than the expected digestion issues with the change in diet and perhaps different bacteria entering my system. I thought I was the lucky one with an Iron guts and a strong immune system and had spent part of my trip playing nurse, tending to my fallen soldiers as they drop off one by one to various viruses and food poisonings.
After making it to my Yoga school and celebrating my escape from illness I became confident I would be fine from here, I was still following every damn rule in the book but I still fell ill, in fact the most ill I have ever been in my life. the only suspect a can of coconut water that may have had a contaminated seal.
48 hours had passed and I was still experiencing stomach cramps like I have never experienced before and was not able to retain any fluid. I felt like a sponge left on hot concrete to dry as I sweat, spewed and… *insert rhyming word here* all of my fluids from my body.
I went to visit a local doctor in hopes of some sort of relief, I lay on the examination table and the doctor gives me a soothing head massage and I close my eyes as I am transported into heaven completely forgetting that I am sick. The doctor disappears for a while and I choose to lie in my bliss…..then…. I start to feel some creepy crawlies on my skin, when I open my eyes I am covered in ants from the examination table. I look around and notice the practice is filthy, unorganised with medications sprawled over every available surface. I had been too dehydrated, disorientated and desperate when I walked in to even notice the state of the place.
Discomfort sets in as the doctor stands at my bedside with big needle in hand. I instantly sit up and start backing myself up the wall before he reassures me that the needle is for another patient in the next room.. he is treating us both at the same time. Hmmm this seems chaotically and dangerously efficient but then I remember, this is India… He puts an unsanitary thermometer in my mouth and comes back 10 minutes later. My only prescription, electrolytes and a single pill to stop the vomiting.
India is currently going through one of the most severe heat waves in recorded history and the temperature is almost unbearable and the hottest I have ever experienced, this is coming from a girl who lives in a part of the world where we laugh in the face of heat. I endure another night in my boiler of a room and the constant power cuts mean the fan is only intermittent and I am starting to feel delusional.
When I wake I walk to the reception of my Yoga school in a complete daze, completely unaware of the cars and mopeds narrowly missing me as I walk on the side of the road, I have never been so un-alert in India but my body had taken over and my mind no longer had control. I pushed the staff to take me to a hospital, I know my body better than anyone and especially better than a seemingly unqualified doctor I had endured the day before. I understand that people become ill in India all the time and I am a very resilient person (I never visit a doctor unless something similar to a severed limb happens to me, I have a “she’ll be right” attitude. From Australia this translates to, You’ll be okay, suck it up.) but I have come to a point where I know I need some serious medical attention.
The same morning I was admitted to hospital and treated for severe dehydration. I travelled to the hospital on the back of a moped swerving in and out of crowds, traffic and over taking larger vehicles. We slowly come to a halt as we become stuck in a traffic jam. Horns are tooting, people are yelling, my head is thumping. The bumpy ride has unsettled my stomach, the sun is beaming down on us, I am dizzy and I feel as though I am in and out of consciousness every time I open and close my eyes and the air is filled with exhaust fumes; there is nowhere to go. I can pinpoint this moment as the lowest in my life and I try to squeeze out a single salty tear but its just not happening I am far too dehydrated at this stage. This alone adds further insult to my situation, when you feel this horrific there is nothing more satisfying than just letting it all out, I wasn’t even capable of that.
So you get the picture, I was feeling like a bag of Sh*t, for lack of a better word.
Upon arrival to the Hospital the waiting room is filled with people who look terrible. There are people lying on the ground and on top of each other, there were women with crying babies, the sight was so confronting. I thought I would be waiting a very long time to be seen but in a country where money talks I was able to be seen instantly. I am still in two minds about this, these people that need help must now wait longer to be treated but I was able to pay a small fee to skip the queue. On the other hand, I needed medical attention and I would have paid anything to be seen by a doctor at this point.
I am lead into room 21 where there are 6 beds. The bed that I am directed to has a used syringe which I ask to be removed, a man not wearing uniform throws it into a bin next to the bed, not a sharps container as expected. I later discovered this man not wearing a uniform is my nurse…at least I think he is? Im still not sure, sir what are your qualifications? The cotton sheet on the bed is also splattered in someone else’s blood, I ask for this to be changed but the staff become frustrated with me. The room is absolutely frantic, doctors and nurses running from patient to patient, there is simply no time or resources to change this sheet. Its either I sit down and be treated or don’t get treated at all. Hesitantly I lay on the bed and the man not in uniform inserts and IV drip into my arm. It was a very painful insertion and sat in my arm very uncomfortably the entire duration, I am given various anti bionics and two bags of fluid.
Huge shout out to all the nurses in Australia who are so gentle and careful.
I lay on my blood splattered bed, observing my surroundings and spy on the nurses and doctors working around me, I notice there is no care for sanitisation, no gloves, no hand washing (like at all, not even between patients) this is not a sterile place and again I start tearless sobbing from every discomfort from my surroundings, my situation to the painful IV in my arm. I close my eyes and try drift off to a better place and visions of home come to mind. I take myself to my back porch where I watch Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets and Galahs nibble away on the bird feeder as the sun sets and my cats curiously watching below.
My moped driver stayed with me and helped me navigate the hospital which I am extremely grateful for. As I open my eyes and shaken from my beautiful daydream he is frantically trying to get the attention of a nurse as my IV is on its last few drops. I watch as an air bubble inches closer and closer to my vein. Im not sure if this is a bad thing but the fuss gave me the impression that this was definitely wasn’t good. He pulled the tube out with seconds to spare and reset everything for another bag of fluids. The same thing happened again at the end of the second bag. We urgently had to get the attention of anyone who looked like they knew what they were doing as the air bubble made its way towards my vein yet again.
After this experience I couldn’t wait to leave the hospital. I was dizzy and still completely dazed while pushing my way through crowds of sick people to pick up a hefty bag of medication. I am not so sure what any of it is but I cant question anything here. It is how it is and if you don’t like it, tough. They have bigger concerns than a western girl wanting to know what she’s taking.
The moped ride back seemed like a treat as I was finally out of the hospital and I knew a cold shower and my fanless room was waiting for me on the other side. I start to relax a little as the traffic is less intense now and the breeze tickled my cheeks, I feel myself enjoying small pleasures again. Just as I let my awareness down we turn a blind corner and have a head on collision with another moped carrying three men. We are not wearing helmets as they seem to not exist in India. My ankle is crunched between the two mopeds and we all come flying off. My moped driver and I land to the left in some bushes that act as a spikey cushion to soften the landing. We were all lucky as no one was seriously injured. A few scratches, bruises and apologies later the three men helped us to remove our moped from the bushes and we were back on our way. To them, this was no big deal, to me this was a terrifying and shaking experience. This time I manage to crack a tear and recite *theres no place like home… theres no place like home*
What a day I have had. I immediately face time my parents to tell them about the events of the past 24 hours and typically they are amused, not because they think its funny, this is certainly not an amusing situation but their reaction is because I am okay, and if we don’t laugh together we cry together and they instantly lift my spirits. They know me better than anyone, we can either feel bad for ourselves and indulge in the shitty feelings of the day just passed or we can simply add it to our experiences in life and move forward. Even from half way around the globe these guys are still my biggest support. I am just so grateful to be on the mend and the way I felt less than 24 hours ago is so contrasting to my current state, Im even well enough to write this blog post and articulate a few clever words together, this is the best sign that I am on the way back to being my normal self.
Stay safe, wear a helmet, don’t eat bad food and THANK YOU FOR READING!
Have you had any experiences during your travels that made you wish you were at home with your comforts?
500RTY Journal entries are posts about my raw experience of the highs, lows, challenges and lessons during my Yoga Training in India. I have a diverse range of posts here on A Wanderlust Soul. If you’re looking for something a little different I recommend checking out the below posts…
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