About two weeks ago, Britt came down with what we thought was the flu, or a bad case of Delhi-Belly. She was violently ill (vomiting, diarrhea & fever). It was pretty bad. We decided that we would try and wait the sickness out, but when she couldn’t shake it after 5 days we took her into the local hospital to see a doctor, and got some antibiotics prescribed. There, we thought, in two days time all will be back to normal.
Well, in two days time that’s when things went from bad to worse. In the middle of the night Britt woke up to vomit, but then there came a yell from the bathroom. I rushed in, and it wasn’t until after my stomach did several flips did I realize what was happening. Britt was throwing up blood, and a lot of it. Looking back, it always amazes me how cool and collected both of us are in intense situations. We cleaned up Britt & the bathroom. Packed a bag with several days worth of clothes for the both of us, and called Britt’s boss. We had seen several ambulances on the street, and they were nothing more than a covered pick-up with a green paint job they were absolutely out of the question. Besides, we didn’t even know what number to call to get one. Britt’s boss lives close to us, and was at our apartment within 15 minutes.
Never before had I seen such an empty street since arriving here in India. We were the only people out, granted it was now 1:30 a.m. The emergency room wasn’t too crowded either, so the doctors were able to take Britt right away and start running tests while I messed with the paperwork. Finding high numbers of bacterial growth in Britt’s stomach, they decided to admit her. We were prepared for that, and felt confident that things were going to get better from there on out. Wrong.
If things had already gone from bad to worse, then what happened next was everything going from worse to just plain s*!#. It was now coming on 6 a.m. and we had settled into our hospital room. All of the sudden I felt really cold, and then the fireworks began. All of the vomit, diarrhea and fever that Britt had been experiencing over the past week descended on me like the lord’s wrath and sent me running to the bathroom. I dismissed it as exhaustion, but when I had to rush to the bathroom again 20 minutes later we called in the doctor. He did a few quick tests and then admitted me as well.
It turns out that our water filter at our apartment had stopped working, and we had been drinking contaminated water for god knows how long. We were both medicated and hydrated right away. Finally, I thought, things have to get better from here, because it can’t get much worse than this. Wrong, again.
A friend of Britt’s came to visit us at the hospital, and upon seeing a copy of our bill lying on the table she had a fit. With the two of us being little to no help, she took it upon herself to tackle the financial department of the hospital where we were staying. Thank god she did! We had been charged thousands of Rupees (hundreds of dollars) more than we should have been, simply because we were tourists and didn’t know any better. It’s also thanks to this friend that we were dismissed from the hospital at all.
It was really difficult for us to communicate with the nurses, because most of them spoke little to no English. To make matters worse, we never really saw the same nurse more than a few times. Different people were always coming in and switching our iv drips, and forget about trying to see a doctor. It was like pulling teeth to get these nurses to bring a doctor in, and in the end it was up to our friend who not only got the doctors in to see us, but got them to dismiss us with a prescription for an antibiotic concoction for us to take at home. By the time we left, we had spent two full days admitted in the hospital, but it felt like we were there for weeks!
There are few things that I dread more than getting sick overseas, and this whole ordeal was like a living nightmare for the both of us. Fortunately, we are both on the mend, and just took our last dose of medicine this morning. Bottled water is being delivered to our apartment so we don’t have to worry about the filter system again. Although, every time I thought things were on the mend, they got worse, I am confident that things now really are on the mend. Fingers crossed!