Last week I told the not quite romantic story of my brief journey to a hospital in Bangladesh. Today I move a little westward as my 2004 journey from Dhaka to Europe took me to hospitals in both India and Pakistan.
Delhi belly. If you don’t get in whilst in India you’ve been very lucky, not been there for long or have one of those ‘iron guts’ I get very jealous of when I hear of people having one. Twas Delhi again, my nemesis as it were in India. Never an altogether great experience in Delhi, that’s why it’s right up there on my least favourite cities (oooh idea for post noted!).
I’d been staying in a really good cheap hotel in the Paraganj – the tourist area of Delhi, and felt like an early night and decided I’d take advantage of the room service there and have dinner in my room. Not sure if they brought it in from a nearby restaurant, or made it in the hotel. I ordered a pretty simple meal – Dahl and rice I think it was. The stomach had been a bit ‘dodgy’ for a while at this point, but I felt it was going to be okay.
The meal looked strange… the lentil soup looked very oily, and I was a little worried I was going to regret eating it but I decided it was just paranoia.
It wasn’t. Less than an hour after finishing dinner I was feeling sick as. Another fifteen minutes and I was throwing up everywhere. I was crazy sick and it just wasn’t stopping. I called reception for a doctor, but they suggested hospital. I threw up again and decided they were smack on the money. They sent me to a small private hospital for foreigners and richer Indians.
They drove me in what I imagine was the hotel van. On the way to the hospital they opened the back doors and stopped to allow me another puke.
The hospital was nice enough, I shared a room, it appeared to be a large house. Definitely a private sort of facility. I was there for six whole days, and I have to say, I believe that I was deliberately poisoned by the hotel. I know it sounds a little outrageous, but the meal I had there was definitely the culprit, and they were so quick to suggest and send me to the hospital.
The hospital was quite nice in itself, there were tourists and locals there. I shared my room with a young Indian boy for a couple of nights and the family visited him all through the night and talked loudly the whole time and I barely got a minute’s sleep over one night because of it. I actually ended up staying there for six nights. I met a lady who had been sick and was on her plane home when she started vomiting and had to be taken off the plane.
The hospital had good staff, kind doctors and very very attentive nurses, all strangely from Kerala. So I couldn’t complain about the service. And the meals, when I was good enough to eat again, were nice enough and not spicy. The toilet was good too if you’re wondering!
At the end of the stay I paid my excess on my travel insurance – it was $100 Australian, and left the details with them. I was there a week, I imagined it was a fair bit more, but they never claimed on my insurance! And that’s the only wavering thing that leaves doubt inside me about being deliberately poisoned. I had to pay for the hotel as well, but it was like $15 a night so wasn’t too miffed by that.
All in all it was a very odd experience. I had dropped a lot of weight and was down to less than 65 kilos after the experience (Oh, those were the days!) I often joke that if anyone wants to lose weight, just spend a month in India. As an addendum I was very cautious with all food from then on in, and when I moved on to Pakistan, well, I barely at anything at times.
Then, in Quetta, on the day I was due to take a bus to Iran, I ate a rainbow paddle pop. Seriously, what WAS I thinking? I was soon pretty sick again. It turned out the Children’s Hospital was five minutes up the road from my hotel, and I spent an afternoon there on a drip. It was actually a very quiet, almost deserted place. Sigh. I was in a ward with 12 beds, the only person there.
So you see, hospitals seem to be part of my travel inevitabilities. Maybe I should base my itineraries around the best hospitals? I hope you enjoyed today’s post – May the Journey Never End!