Friday, February 15, 2008


It's about time someone took that tohm down a peg or two, and they did admirably by exploiting my one weakness - not being able to see microscopic viruses with my naked eye.
If I had to place bets I would put it on the restaurant in Bangkok where I ate green curry fried rice whilst they were renovating. One thing you get used to quickly in Asia is construction work. It is going on everywhere everwhen every waking moment. So I just ignored it although Gordon Ramsey would probably called it one of his 'kitchen nightmares' I was assured that I would get the Shits in Asia. I thought nothing of it. I simply tried adjusting my diet to more arse clogging foods like hamburgers with cheese.
I thought nothing of it also because the food was quite hot as in full of chilli which usually passes through me like a bullet train anyway.
But yesterday morning I woke up, having fasted for a day and feeling much better and thought 'if I don't want to dehydrate I should drink something' one sip of water though and something inside me woke up and stabbed me in the bowells, stomach and quite possibly kidneys.
What was humbling was that I quickly overcame my personal dislike of doctors and managed to call reception with numb fingers and mouth out 'Hello, Doctor, Hello, Doctor. Can you put me onto someone who speaks english? yes, Doctor, very sick, hello. Doctor?'
And hung up. Then within seconds a roomservice guy entered my room (I had managed to unlock my door and pull the bolt to before collapsing on my bed and reaching for the phone) and he stood there and smiled whilst I said 'pain' and pointed to several parts of my body.
Here's where I'm racist - I envisioned picking up the phone and saying doctor, ambulance, hospital and other crap as soliciting roughly the same response anywhere in the world. I have after all been reading how flat the world is, how wonderful it is that a startup game company in bangalore can compete in a global market like never before thanks to wireless broadband and cell phones with cameras and triple convergance and so on.
I was lying on my bed with this smiling person looking at me, thinking now I'm going to see how far the world has come. In a moment two or three indians are going to burst in and transfer me to a stretcher, take me to a modern hospital with a doctor that speaks good english and administers all kinds of drugs while liasing with my insurance company and doctors back home.
My condition wasn't that severe I just knew that all this was theoretically quite possible.
But when the guy walked out I realised that I was going to have to walk myself out.
After ten minutes sitting in the lobby - I realised that nobody had called a doctor. So I asked reception to call a doctor and they did with the head waggle that fucks up all my body language in India.
They said 10 minutes. So I tried to sit it out. Until I started having a math problem tick over my head in regards to the pain I felt:
It hurts to sit down, but it hurts to stand up straight, don't put your dirty shoes on the couch.
This left me with one option, I politely raised my hand like a kid in school to stop an arguement between a businessman and the receptionist and said 'excuse me, could somebody please help me to a hospital, right now?'
And so they helped me into a taxi and drove me to a 'hospital' two blocks away. The doctor diagnosed me quickly where the third most devestating blow came to me - it also hurt to lie down eliminating lieing down, standing up and sitting down/up from my options of comfort.
It was then I started to panic and then I wished it was all being filmed - I started saying 'help' over and over again, surprised that I was alone so quickly after being diagnosed. Eventually the doctor and an old lady reason tells me was a nurse came to administer the saline solution I needed appeared. Unfortunately my body was all a panic and had decided that although it wasn't helpful in anyway whatsoever it might be a good time to throw up.
And so I did, two pitiful mouthfuls of spit. And then finally was I laid down and administered treatment in what I would guess was 2 hours after I first placed that phonecall.
The doctor later came in when I was feeling better (which was when I stopped asking to be killed, or at least knocked out with a hammer or something) and helped himself to my wallet and took 1000 ruppees out after questioning me what the dribs and drabs of foreign currency where worth.
Later I was detached from the drip and on a short break driven to the ATM to withdraw more funds for the doctor, before being driven back and resumed on the drip for two more bottles of saline solution.
I was still short though and had to endure a painfully circular conversation with the doctor about how I was out of cash. Being a foreigner in Asia carries the unfortunate responsibility of having suposedly unlimited reserves of cash on you at all times. When you are in a foreign country where you can feed yourself for $3 a day this becomes not reality.
So now I'm in a internet cafe wondering how I will cough up the balance of payment before monday, and also how to enjoy the time I have left in Mumbai with only 900 rupees left to my name. The hotel will let me settle on Monday but aside from that I have some bastard uppercaste Doctor on my back.

1 comment:

mr_john said...

welcome to the developing world...

Seriously though, get yourself about 30 or so of those packets of rehydration salts from a chemist. They're like gatorade, but taste like crap. Without them, the shits turns into a hospital visit. With them, it's just the shits and the stomach cramps. Still not pleasant, but a damn sight better (and cheaper) than the first option.