The scariest moment of my life, Take one: I am sitting in a hospital bed on sheets that haven’t been changed in who knows how long, facing a wall where a cockroach is crawling and the white paint looks grayish-brown under all the dirt. I am screaming and kicking at a nurse who (with ungloved and probably unwashed hands), after dropping the syringe and needle on the disgusting, dirty floor, tries to inject some unidentified antibiotic into my side. All the while, I am burning with 105˚ fever, shaking uncontrollably, and crying from pain and fear. This is when I curse the Indian medical system and probably ended up kicking someone in the face.
The scariest moment of my life, Take two: The moments leading up to the aforementioned fearful point. I sat in my apartment, crying because I can’t control how badly I am shaking from fever. I’m not in a real bed because there are too many people in the house, so I am sleeping in the living room on something that resembles a stretcher. It’s maybe 3 or 4 in the morning, and I can’t breathe. Literally, absolutely unable to breathe. I don’t know what to do, who to call, or if I can even move. Luckily, my roommates were awakened by the sound of my crying and came to my aid. They called my boss, a cab, and took me to the hospital. It turned out I could not stand, walk, or even sit up on my own and was in danger of frying my brain with fever. It was absolutely terrifying.
Luckily, after five hours, I was allowed to leave the sketch hospital and return home. I was admitted later that night to a hospital run by the University of Massachusetts (which happened to be just down the street) for dehydration, but released after several hours. The next day I was readmitted, for good this time, or until I got better anyway. I spent two nights in the hospital, watching the fan spin when the TV didn’t work. I did however catch a Harry Potter marathon on HBO and a special about Pakistan on CNN (the only working English channels they had). I spent a lot of time on the phone with home, at points wishing to go head back to the good ol’ US of A, but thankfully not giving in. If I had gone home, I would have regretted it the rest of my life, not to mention missing out on so much I have left to do here in India.
Finally released and better now – I headed home. Final verdict: a kidney infection and kidney stone. At the same time. My body plots against me again. Now, I’ve been healed, and ready for the next adventure.