I swear I’ll spare you all of the grimmer details, but this past Friday, at around 8 pm, after becoming very familiar with various bathrooms in Kathmandu, I was rushed to a clinic to find out that I have dysentery. Some of you might be wondering “isn’t that like, a pioneer disease from Oregon trail times?” or “what the hell is dysentery?”. First answer is yes. Second answer is I was basically sh***ing myself to death. I felt so bloated that I described it to the doctor as feeling “pregnant with death” and in my disgusting, hazy, pallid, essentially confused state said the word “bueno” too many times as nurses explained I was severely dehydrated, drew blood, and attached an IV to my arm.
Despite fluids, medications, and even a shot to my left buttcheek (about as fun as it sounds) the ensuing night was quite harrowing, but I was really lucky and grateful to have my friends here that stayed with me/visited me in my little room. 48 hours in one bed gave me a lot of time to think, even if deliriously, and to memorize the view outside. Which i wanted to join desperately. The prime minister’s guest house was the neighboring building, and a couple times I would forget that an armed solider sat in his tower 7 feet from my window which made for some awkard moments getting fresh air. It was quite a lovely house though: the walls were a bright blue with a red roof and below there was a courtyard of plants and children’s toys. It was maybe the first time I’ve registered Kathmandu as quiet since I arrived nearly two months ago. When I began to feel a little better yesterday I attempted to walk down the hall, curious to know what other wayward foreigners had found themselves in the clinic. All I encountered was a man whose face was half covered in an oxygen mask, and he understandably wanted nothing to do with anyone, especially me.
The hardest part about being sick is that my body is wrecked but my head is incredibly restless. I spent another night (last night) there, with the really nice nurses and doctors and bland food. This morning when I showered I could hear music drifting in from another hospital room; there was a small space around a pipe running along the wall that allowed this transaction to occur. This mystery patient played three of my favorite songs in a row, whistling intermittently. The first song was Beirut’s “no no no” in which one of the lyrics is “don’t know the first thing about who you are, my heart is waiting taken in from the start”. Basically I spent all of the shower convincing myself the love of my life was in that next room and that the universe was giving me the ultimate sign: same city, same clinic, same songs. Duh. Science. I was bored. Zoe did some sleuthing and apparently mystery patient was a dashing young man about (?) our age. Just to let you all down now I’ll admit I didnt have the balls to just introduce myself to someone in my current state, partially because I realize what I creep I sound like and saying “hey hot stuff what’s your name like your music by the way I have dysentery” isn’t exactly enticing. If that line ever has worked for you I’d love to hear the story. Instead, weirdly, awkwardly, maybe even nerdily, I tried to sing very quietly along to the music, hoping it would garner some sort of attention.
My attempts were fruitless.
In the end I was hoping the silver lining to this whole hospital experience would present itself in the form of a new National Geographic photographer boyfriend, or maybe even just friend, with kickass taste in tunes. Furthermore I was and am bummed because today is Holi, the festival of color, and I kid you not I have wanted to participate in holi since I was 12 years old; I wanted to throw colored powder and get doused in dyed water in crowds of happy smiling people.
After checking out of the hospital today zoe helped me get to the hotel Utse, where we stay almost every time we need to be in the city. While zoe showered I took to the hallways, groggy but bored, and walked up to three Americans throwing colored balloons from the second floor; they wore baggy clothes, kinda smelled like weed, and were blasting snoop dog. They were incredibly friendly, gave me some good advice for my Annapurna basecamp trek next weekend, and also watched from that same second floor window as I received smushed red powder to the face and a whole bucket of slimy blue water all over my freshly showered still sick body. Not what i had imagined for the past 6.5 years, but my fault for leaving the safety of the hotel to buy digestives, and even if it was gross it still put a smile on my face.
There really isn’t much of a point to this post. Despite this hiccup I’ve been enjoying teaching at the school, taking a one-on-one “Nepali class” with a teacher at said school (I can translate/read now), and meeting more and more people in my wonderful little village. Apologies for the non-existent editing!