Falling Sick, Traveling

I’ve fallen ill. When I said be very careful about what you eat in India, I wasn’t joking. I ate a little too much. I think between the Tandoori Chicken and Tabak Maaz, somewhere along the way, my intestines said, “Screw it, we’re not digesting anything anymore for this girl.”

This is embarrassing to admit but I’ll tell you anyway. I had a terrible and painful day of constipation. My dad gave me a little too many laxatives by accident, which led to me losing food and fluids from every part of my body. I got very dehydrated and had to go to a doctor’s clinic. I’m actually impressed with the accessibility of doctors in Kashmir. They don’t have the best hospitals (which I avoided) but the doctor sent his assistant home with me to place an IV. His clinic was small. It’s like many others in Kashmir. It’s not more than about 100 feet wide. It’s like a box, but medicines line the walls. He treats my dad all the time so he saw me right away. I had an IV drip to keep me hydrated. He also prescribed O2, which is an incredible antibiotic for stomach infections that can be found here. It’s strong, but it does the trick.

The next morning, however, I woke up with a throbbing pain up and down my left arm. It hurt so bad that I was actually crying. I was again rushed to the same doctor, this time to his house. In the US I haven’t heard of many on-call doctors inviting patients to their home to be treated in case of an emergency. This really impressed me. He prescribed a pain medication and said the pain was a side- effect of the medicine. So now I’m feeling better. I’m getting a lot of rest, drinking a lot of fluids, and having very digestible food, hoping I don’t have to rush to the doctor again.

It’s rather scary to get sick when you’re traveling. I have to remind myself though, that I’m lucky. I’m not on some European tour with a group of people I barely know. I’m with my father in a comfortable house. It’s not something I’m used to, it’s my mother indulging me when I’m sick. Here with the caring help of Nura, Aamir, and family, I haven’t felt homesick yet. I haven’t even had any anxiety, luckily. I think I found a cure to that: I just have to remind myself that nothing bad is going to happen and I’ll be fine.

That’s basically what’s been going on for the last three days. Before that I met up with some teenage kids whose father is my dad’s friend. They are my age and study at a university in New Delhi. They took me to a wild life preserve where we went on a hike; saw a waterfall, caged leopards, and bears. We also stopped by the really cool rocky-river in Dachigam. The scenery was surreal.

I attended another lunch party last week, where I met a lot of retired generals and Mrs. Jyoti Karan Singh was there again. It was cool to speak with her some more. I left early, though, because that’s when my stomach pain started. An old family friend is staying at our house for a few days and my dad’s expecting two more guests, which I’m really excited about. One of them is a writer for the Wall Street Journal and she previously worked at Vogue. That’s two of my dreams fulfilled in one person. And her husband is a fashion photographer who works for a lot of designers. What luck! With this… I’m ready for my close up. Well, at least, until after I get well.


Image credit: ShutterShock

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