Death Masala, or Incontinent on the Subcontinent
Trip Start Jan 27, 2008
30Trip End Apr 06, 2009
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I woke in the morning with a first-class case of the runs, which soon turned into huge gouts of pure liquid pouring out of me. Must have been a couple of liters in the first hour or so. Then it got a little (understatement) worse. It started to come up as well. The only time I've ever experienced retching like that was when I was 14, and dared my friends I could down half a fifth of jack daniels. Of course, I could feel myself becoming dehydrated as fluid poured profusely out of both ends. There's nothing worse than throwing up while sitting on the bowl. I just didn't know that the human body could hold that much liquid. . .
After a time, I tried to sleep under massive piles of covers, but somehow, I just could not get warm at all. Taking my temperature, I got a reading of 96.6, 2 degrees below normal. I'd been crapping and puking out all my heat for a few hours by then, and the cold rainy weather and lack of sun to warm things up didn't help. Also, twitchy muscles and body aches told me that my electrolytic balance was gone. I've had a couple of doozies before and medicated them myself, but one cannot hydrate or take medicine if it's gone in 5 minutes in a convulsive retch!
After a time, I realized I was in trouble--dropping temps, close to hypothermia, serious loss of fluid with no way to replace them, and unable even to carry a fever to try to kill the bug. Dayalu and family were worried, and sent for the rickshaw to take me to the mission hospital.
Once there, the started me on IV ringer's, ciproflaxin, and numerous other drugs. My temp was down to 95, I was turning slightly blue. I opted for the more expensive private room with the heater, as I could not get warm, and needed rest and hydration.
Dayalu stayed the night with me, bringing water, biscuits (cookies) and bananas as soon as I could eat them. One could not ask for a better friend in any country.
The retching part subsided thanks to an anti-nausea injection, the other end gradually calmed down, and the room and my body slowly warmed up. The nurses were in like clockwork, taking temp and blood pressure. Eventually my temp went up to 102.5, a full fever, and an astonishing 7.5 degress above what it was just 4 hours before!!
Got the warmest night's sleep since I've been in India. If I get out of here alive, I'm heading to the desert, beach, jungle, or anywhere warm.
This morning I felt better, and continually got better through the day. The last 5 hours or so were really just waiting for the overworked staff to get my bill and prescriptions together and let me the heck out of that place. Now, I'm 90 percent back to normal, though with some residual runs, but my temp is normal, and I can eat. This was about the most violent bug I've ever had here in India, and damn near became life-threatening. Hypothermia and acute gastroenteritis, with a healthy dose of dehydration is a potent combo.
Moral of the story? Don't eat the "Death Masala!"
I should be better enough in a day or two to hit the road again, I hope. More time, and more money. This is one of those trips, I guess. At least medicine is affordable here, unlike in my home country where it is seen as a profit business. Got out the door for about 2200 rupes, about 50 bucks. Not bad for my life. Try that in America.
I'm going to bed now.