Thursday, December 10, 2009


I expected to be puking all over the place in my first few weeks in India, but after enjoying three full months of remarkably good health, the inevitable finally happened.

I visited a village this past weekend and had my meals at a local school, which, I later found out, served us table water from a garden hose. Go figure. I've shown absolutely no reservations about eating anything and everything here, from mutton brain to heavily spiced curries to any kind of street food, and its the water that finally takes me down. I can only remember one other time in my life when I've been this sick.

After two days with 103 fever and diarrhea, unable to get out of bed or force myself to eat, my flatmates intervened and escorted my disoriented self to the nearby hospital. The place was refreshingly no frills. I filled out some forms, they strapped an IV to me, fed me a pill or two, took some samples, pumped me with antibiotics, and promptly directed me to bed. Like magic, I was a new person the next day.

I'm usually pretty averse to hospitals -- American ones, at least. I have this impression (correct or incorrect) that, barring serious necessity, they are for the infirm and the helpless, not for people whose bodies are capable of healing themselves. Few things get on my nerves more than seeing people pop pills and call the doc for every small ill. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been admitted to a hospital, and each visit has confirmed my belief that they are a remarkable waste of time and money.

But assuming this hospital visit in India is representative of the system as a whole, I was impressed by its efficiency, especially for a country that can many times be just the opposite. And besides, halfway around the world from home, it was nice to simply be taken care of.


Lexie said...

awww! i am glad you are feeling better!

i am the same way about doctor visits/hospital visits (in fact, i think the last time i went to the hospital as a patient was 1997 for an appendectomy). what is india's health care system like? did you pay out of pocket?

Jon said...

It's always the water that owns you.

One of my friends was in Nepal and he only brushed his teeth with the water there and got really sick.

Now he has some superbug that prevents him from getting sick a lot. :)

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