Friday, 22 July 2011

In the still of the night

Disclaimer: Descriptions of bodily functions below

Around noon yesterday I started to feel significant lassitude and light nausea.  It persisted over dinnertime (all I could choke down was a "Mango Slice" drink) and by the middle of the night I was vomiting...  Sadly I will never be able to drink a Mango Slice ever again...

I woke up to significant diarrhea AND was scheduled to give Grand Rounds at 8am!!!  Somehow I managed to give my presentation without bolting off the stage in disgrace..

In the depths of the night, while barfing into a bucket, I was consumed with dire thoughts... I kept picturing a young girl we saw in the ICU at PAHS who had been admitted to hospital with "belly pain" that progressed to respiratory failure and ended in her death.  Surrounded by darkness, I imagined myself in that bed, intubated and attached to a ventilator looking up at the faces of the concerned but perplexed doctors as they tried to figure out what was wrong with me.

I had this feeling 10 years before in Nepal, high in the mountains, suffering from altitude sickness, knowing that the line between illness and health here is razor thin. This feeling compounded by being kilometers by rough trails away from the nearest road.  Back then, however, it was for me a choice to come to Nepal and explore the mountains.  For the Nepalese people this is their day to day reality.  In the remote parts of the country, you get sick and you suffer.  You get really sick and you may die. 

But after the darkness, comes the more rational light of dawn.  Antibiotics are procured, rehydration salts are consumed and in time the bug I contracted will be beaten into submission.  Not so however for the young girl in the ICU.

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