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.