Sleeping it Off in Sao Paulo

Trip Start Mar 19, 2006
Trip End Jul 06, 2006

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Figured I'd share what I wrote on a scrap of paper written in Sao Paulo Hospital, where I took a taxi to get treated for exhaustion and dehydration after my trip to Iguazu (my first days in the tropics):

"Dizzy, the fall-over kind. Couldn't type earlier, can barely write. A sign says "Casos novos de tuberculose". Whisked to front of throngs, strange faces and clothes and sitting like in a bus station, infirmed no doubt, but no blood, no cries, not bent or broken bodies, just sickness. Many people in lines, ID cards. Paul, a friend of a nurse who speaks English, speaks it too. He is an MD, an orthopaedic, but GP also, who knows how this thing works, I don't understand a word anyways. An IV now, so writing one handed. Glucose and some other things. Reaction is not immediate, of course, just drip drp a leaky faucet, I'm leaky, a faucet perhaps, energy that can be turned on and off, but not at whim, apparently, otherwise I leak. Not thru tears, complaints or fears, but in apparitions and blurs and sweat. Drip drip goes my energy, drip goes my concentration, drip go the words, and feelings and forethought. Pooled at the drain are these thoughts, imaginings, the reality, too, that this parallel world is where I want to be, a drunkenness of sorts that allows the world to [form?] in a puddle, incoherent and mixed to others, I imagine, but perfectly clear to me. Drip drip not fast enough, guilt for going ahead of others but thankful again that this white boy somehow comes through, misunderstood, but clear. The fear in his eyes, the lost the longing the need the uneasiness to ask for help, and to follow? Maybe these alone demand attention without demanding it. "Traveler's disease" they've called it, a combination of mixed environments and exhaustion and the body saying where, why, who are you? So many getting treated in the same manner. Blood now, but only backed up in IV tubes of others. Likely in my eyes, too. But can't see them any better than I can the words on walls, the lines in floors, tiles to follow. Stomach groans but only out of: fear? lonliness? hunger? Yes, Hunger, or thirst, as it was fed only a short while before, but not for hunger of noise and attention and words. Drips will take care of it, not alone at all. Just let the drips come, the pool in the body, the arm, and like words, make it all better."

Just in case you were wondering, there were no intoxicants in that IV tube, the body was simply realing from several days of extreme heat and perspiration. I was truly lucky to get the attention I needed; oddly enough, it seemed like everyone else there was getting treated the same way! Got a headache? You need an IV. Stomach pains? IV. It took 3 days, incidentally, for the dizziness to go away, but I'm back to my self now, drinking water and getting rest more diligently than before.
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