I have learned a thing or two about pneumonia – principally, that it’s a bugger. I began to fall sick on December 21 of last year, the day I flew home from India, spent the night at the hospital on December 26, and only in late March felt the signs of health returning. With the exception of a few days after the hospital stay, I have continued to work since falling ill, and have felt rather guilty about not being at full throttle nor in good spirits while recovering. Survival requirements being what they are, and a strong sense of what is probably misguided personal pride preventing me from taking a proper sick leave, I have trudged through these past 3 months and rather in a fog. The mists are burning off; I’m returning to the pink.
So, all the above morose meanderings indulged above aside, the experience of illness was in itself an adventure. First, I had never stayed overnight in a hospital nor had my blood pressure been anything less than dead average (it dropped precipitously when I became sick). I considered myself deathly afraid of needles, and have been a most dedicated smoker for many years – yet, I dutifully remained in the hospital bed, managed through several blood tests without perishing, easily managed 2 IVs, absorbed a whopping 9 bags of saline, ate hospital food, and haven’t smoked since the morning of December 26, 2014. Life experience. Victrix.
Most affecting, though, was lying alone in the night, knowing that armies of attentive nurses and capable doctors would be at my bedside rapidly should I decline, and also knowing that many millions in the country from which I had returned would not be so fortunate should they fall sick. During my sleepless night I shared this observation with a young and rather serious respiratory therapist, whose composure was also affected by this thought. Oh how fortunate to be in a country where I have access to excellence, and where I have the luxury of lying in a warm hospital bed, cared for by compassionate souls, and ponder man’s condition in the universe.
While full health is on the horizon, it remains some weeks off. I have difficulty sleeping, and tire easily. Pneumonia is a bugger indeed, as it sounds so innocuous but packs a nasty punch from which even a normal healthy body such as mine finds difficult to recover. I’ve developed strange rashes on my scalp, my complexion has suffered, the lines on my face deepened, and I have gained quite a lot of fat. As a result, it’s also a rather depressing illness; I remain unaccountably sensitive and am easily saddened and discouraged – however, I know this will pass as I continue to gain strength and the bloom of health returns.
And when it does, I have a strong yearning to return to India.
I dressed conservatively for my trip but made a poor choice today in wearing my skirt with bare legs.
I ought to have done the research ahead of time but since I am middle-aged, the skirt falls below my knee, and I don’t otherwise dress provocatively it didn’t occur to me to check about bare legs.
I became aware of the issue only when noticing that NONE of the other women in the office were bare-legged.
Falls into the category of thoughtless things Anglos do when traveling.
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t heard of lentils until my friend Nina introduced me to them about 17 years ago.
In subsequent years I gave grown quite fond of lentils, and they have been a mainstay of my diet during this visit to India. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, are delicious, and satiate the appetite in a way that puts me in a drowsy, happy glow.
I hadn’t really thought much about this until my current trip. A few years ago I realized that I’m a picky eater so I was a bit concerned I might not find enough to eat during this trip – and then I recalled this friendly, reassuring legume. Come on over, it said to me. And so I went.
The only disadvantage is that they are so filling, I find myself unable to eat dessert.
Up at 3:30 am, I made a classic mistake of not checking whether my flight to Hyderabad was on time. In fact, it was quite delayed and I’ve spent 4 hours at the IGI Airport drinking (very good) coffee and struggling to get a wifi signal (I lost that battle).
Sleep deprivation is a classic torture method, so I have been unkind to myself.
I returned to my hotel early today as I catch an unbearably early-morning flight to Hyderabad tomorrow and decided that burning the proverbial midnight oil the previous two nights meant I ought to get some extra rest today.
I intended to nap then get some dinner, but feeling a bit claustrophobic I opened the curtains and all thought of sleep was banished when I saw the cows across the street.
I have a fear of cows. They are a large and not highly intelligent beast, so I perceive them as dangerous to my rather small self. From a safe distance, however, they amuse.
This led to exploring the other bits of view, such as a pretty-looking house in the near distance, beyond a slight haze of ever-present smoke.
Adjacent to the urban farmland which hosted the above-pictured cows, it is difficult to imagine that at one time these interesting shop fronts were new, bright and cheery.
Tomorrow morning when I take a brief visit to Hyderabad, I expect to discover new fodder for my senses and my imagination.