After 10+ days, I am resurfacing from the dead. Where have I been? I contracted Dengue Fever in India.
On October 16th I took an overnight bus to Hampi, the UNESCO world heritage site located just about 7 hours outside of Bangalore. As you can imagine I was pretty exhausted when I arrived. I laid down to rest when I got a phone call in a language I didn’t understand. I had spent the week prior in an orphanage and one of the women working there had told her two sisters and cousin that I was coming to Hampi. Unknown to me, the three women had taken the day off to spend with me and were calling to meet up with me. I pulled myself together and met them off of their bus.
We enjoyed a few hours together but I was feeling extremely exhausted. We agreed to spend Diwali together in their home that Thursday and that I would take the next day or so to rest. That night I got an unbearable headache and fever. I didn’t know it yet but Dengue Fever had hit me. I was texting with some of my best friends from home Caleb & Liz telling them how awful I felt. My Indian friend Tony, who I met hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, was constantly checking on me to see if I was feeling any better. Things quickly escalated to the point where I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep. My body and head pain was so acute that I was almost crying and no pain killers were helping. I knew I had to go to the hospital.
That Thursday, I didn’t celebrate Diwali in Asha’s home but instead she came to get me and took me to a hospital. The hospital tried to charge me 3,000 rupees for a 300 rupee service. Asha called her brother in law and we went to another hospital. By having a man around, we were able to get care much more quickly and for a reasonable price. Even though the service was better in the second hospital it was still extremely unsanitary. Before taking my temperature, I watched the woman rinse the thermometer with tap water before sticking it in my mouth. It wasn’t however the time for me to be picky…we got my blood work done which confirmed Dengue Fever. The hospital prescribed some medications which I started taking immediately. I vomited and then we went on our way. I tried booking a hotel in Hospet (the town I was in) but almost everything was booked because of Diwali. I finally found a hotel, not in the best of areas, and booked it for two nights. Asha, clearly one of my guardian angels decided to stay with me in the hotel. I am so glad she did because she was with me during the loud knocking on the hotel door in the middle of the night and when I woke up feeling awful and vomiting. The next day I knew I had to get out of Hospet and go back to Bangalore, a bigger city where I could get quality care.
The only transportation option was an overnight bus which I was not willing to take. Uber & Ola were not available in Hospet and I was not able to find a taxi service that would take me to Bangalore. I started reaching out to people on CouchSurfing for help. I finally found someone who said they could organize a taxi for me. After much back and forth, trying to convince me to first visit their family doctor, the taxi came to the hotel for me. Tony was a rock for me during this entire time, although he was studying for exams in another part of India, he was with me every step of the way calling me multiple times a day to make sure I was okay. He had me send him pictures of the taxi license plate, the drivers name and phone number to ensure I was safe. Asha at the last minute decided to take the 7 hour taxi ride with me and then take it 7 hours back just to make sure I was okay. In a place where I knew nobody, I had strangers looking out for me.
The taxi dropped me at the emergency room of Fortis Hospital in Bangalore. There I was given IV fluids, injections, and medications. They took a look at what the prior hospital has subscribed me and told me to stop those drugs immediately. I was released from the hospital at 1am with no where to go…the nurse was incredibly kind and helped me find a hotel. I spent the next 3 days in bed, resting, and trying to stay hydrated. Unfortunately it was very difficult to eat good meals as there was not much around and I didn’t have the energy to venture out. I ended up becoming very weak and 3 days later I was admitted into hospital where I was given food, hydration, and my platelet count was monitored. I spent two nights in the hospital. When I was released I reached out to a friend of a friend who was living in a hotel in Bangalore and here on business from NYC. Although he had never met me before, he invited me to come stay with him in his hotel for as long as I needed. I have been here 3 nights now and am finally regaining my strength. Its been a long road and I am so grateful for all my friends and family who came through for me. Without my Aunt I would have never had insurance coverage for my stay at the hospital. Caleb, Liz, Sarah and Shannon gave me emotional support that I needed during a really difficult time. Tony made me feel taken care of and looked out for me every step of the way. Asha took care of me when I literally had nobody. Donnie gave me a home to recover in when I had nowhere else to go. I thank all my lucky stars and the universe for looking out for me.
This was certainly not how I wanted to spend 10+ days but now I’m on the other side… The adventure must go on! With a ton of mosquito spray of course 🙂