The tales of the illness

I actually cannot believe I lasted this long. Most of the people get really sick in their first month of their stay in Nepal; some even in their first week. For me, it took a year. I was proud of myself for avoiding it for so long, but when it finally happened, it hit hard and dirty. Like, below the waist. And so to the hospital I went. As I was going through the grueling torture of a hospital stay, people were telling me: there’s something you can write about on your blog. I would reply saying I most definitely will not, as this is the experience I do not want to remember. But in retrospective, it was quite comical at times, and so I figured I’d share a laugh with my readers anyways.

I’ll spare you the details of the sickness, but let me talk to you a bit about the hospital. I was staying in a government hospital, which meant no luxury at all. No private room. I was sharing mine with a post-op male patient. No western-style toilet in the bathroom. I am going to go ahead and say that was probably the biggest challenge in this whole sickness thing. Nurses don’t do much for you – they change your IV and measure your blood pressure, but other than that, you need to have a helper with you who will do everything: run and get the medicine (including IV fluids), bring you water and food, take you to the toilet, and whatever else the sick person might need. Luckily, Mr.B was a male nurse of first class, and helped me with everything. Without him, I have no clue how the whole thing would’ve gone down.

One interesting thing about Nepal is the sense of community people have here. Whenever something happens people come together to help each other, offer support and encouragement. It’s not different when someone ends up in the hospital. Apart from my family members who came to see me, I had friends come over too. And neighbors. Neighbors even sent the soup, and I was in the hospital for one day only! Definitely the strangest thing for me was the visit time. People just show up, sit on a chair and look at you lie in the bed. I am sure it’s not that awkward when you speak Nepali, because you can actually make conversation. I couldn’t, so I was just lying there feeling very much on display, fighting the urge to jump out of bed, offer snacks and start entertaining. Speaking of snacks, here’s a tip for you: if you ever end up in a hospital, make sure that you buy some snacks on the way in, as it’s customary to offer them to people who come and visit you. That blew my mind. However, having visitors was really nice – seeing that people care about me and that I have someone to rely on, really made the whole experience easier.

As I was in the government hospital, a  bit far from the touristy/expat areas, I was, most likely, the only white person in the hospital. And I was the main attraction. By now, after a year in Nepal, I learned not to pay attention to people staring at me out in the street. And I continued with that in the hospital. Everyone was looking at me curiously, with some concern, and lots of sympathy. Some even asked what was wrong, whereas others tried to find out out what’s going on without asking. I was lying on the bed and the doctor was talking to me when suddenly a random guy appears next to him, starts peering in the paperwork and listening in on the conversation. I was a bit perplexed, but when the doctor didn’t react, I just assumed he was another doctor, or an expert of some kind. Not even close. He was just a random guy, on his way to the toilet, who noticed me and the doctor, and was wondering what was going on. When he heard enough and was satisfied with the newly-gained knowledge of my health issue, he leisurely walked over to use the bathroom. Not matter how sick you are, it’s kind of hard not to laugh at something like that, don’t you think?



11 thoughts on “The tales of the illness

  1. To be honest, I WOULD find it hard to laugh about that situation with the curious guy.I would feel so angry! These privacy issues are definitely one of my main challenges in Nepal. I find it so difficult, and I would feel insulted if some stranger was looking into my privacy without being invited. (About challenges and privacy in Nepal, I was mentioning it shortly in this blogpost: ) I am actually impressed by your ability to laugh about it, and I wish I could…I am obviously not ready to live in Nepal yet..

    • I think before I would’ve been upset too, but living here teaches you to just go along with things. There are so many frustrating stuff that you just need to let it go unless you want to end up with an ulcer.

  2. So glad to hear that you are well again and only had to stay one day. Yes, now you do have stories! Your experience with the fellow curious patient reminds me of when one of the American doctors here told about a man who translated and answered all the questions (including female monthly ones) of a female patient and then went with the doctor to the next bed. She told him, “Go back to your wife please. I need to interview this patient and you can’t stand here.” “Oh,” he said, “the lady wasn’t my wife. I never saw her before. This lady is my mother. Now I’ll help you with her.” 🙂
    Anyway, be careful while you are recovering. I have been sick many, many times here in Nepal and more sick than I’ve ever been in my life! I think you must be strong, since you didn’t get sick earlier. Stay strong!

    • That’s a really funny story! Though not at all surprising 🙂
      I am completely recovered and trying to stay away from all potential sources of sickness while the monsoon is still in full swing.

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