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Himalaya Jains

Things That Go Buzz In The Night

Thursday - 26 Sep 2002

Article the Day Neil was Admitted to ICU

Planet India I

Top 5 things we learned about Indian hospitals that we wish we didn't:

5. Medical equipment from the early 60's is treasured as cutting edge

4. If you mention that you enjoyed the fruit and yoghurt you had for breakfast, you'll never see it again

3. Visitors must sweat in the hall while waiting for the half-hour of visiting time

2. Bed-side manner is yet to be introduced

1. Causing maximum pain and bruising when giving needles is encouraged!

We arrived a little dazed and confused (as most do) in the Mumbai (formerly Bombay) airport around 11:30p after three days of air travel. It took us some time to get our bearings and to complicate matters, Robin was feeling like she was coming down with a fever. We decided to stay close to the airport in Juhu Beach instead of facing the 90 minute taxi ride into Mumbai.

By the time we were checking into the hotel (3a), we were both feeling ill and assumed we had caught a virus aboard one of the 6 flights we took to India. We were sure it was nothing that a good night's sleep couldn't solve...

Five days later we hadn't gotten out of bed and had barely considered getting out of Juhu Beach. After wasting a couple of days being mis-diagnosed and mis-treated by the hotel 'doctor', we were starting to get alarmed. We gave the Canadian Consulate a call to see if they could help. Luckily, the Consulate doctor insisted we get ourselves into a taxi and down to his clinic for a proper examination immediately.

Five Die in Colaba (area where Neil was admitted)

Our worst fears were realized when Neil tested positive for Acute P. Falciparum Malaria. He was immediately admitted for 5 days of Intensive Care. Apparently, Falciparum Malaria can occasionally be 'rapidly fatal' and so there was ample reason for alarm. However, the doctor was quite confident he could get this parasite under control within 24 hours.

After the first night of IV treatment of a Quinine/Asian Herb cocktail, Neil's vital signs quickly came under control and a full and speedy recovery was imminent. Then, it was just a matter of Neil coping with sleepless nights in an Indian ICU while dealing with all the side-effects of Quinine: Loss of hearing, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, and all around irritability.

Robin in the mean-time had to cope with Neil, the Mumbai heat, Indian taxi drivers, and breaking the news to Neil's family without them organizing their own medical evacuation. Luckily, Neil was already in the hands of the world Malaria experts or no doubt desperate measures would have been taken.

Our doctor insisted on a minimum 1-month trip interruption. Within a few days of leaving the hospital, we were on a flight home to spend Canadian Thanksgiving with our families. We arrived in Toronto in style, getting a random free upgrade to Air France Business Class (bon appetit!). We were greeted with warm hospitality, Snickers bars, pizza, Raisin Bran, and peanut butter to help us cope ;)

Before we got too comfortable in the company of family and Western living, our return trip to Mumbai was booked for 6 weeks later. Fortunately, November is a much better season for travelling in India, although January in Nepal can play havoc with trekking plans.

Back to health and a return to our world tour...

Summary Article from Earlier in the Week...

Tripping In India
  Neil and Robin - Bio and Journals
  Himalaya Jains - Intro Average Rating of 3 Viewers
Chapters of Himalaya Jains
  Things That Go Buzz In The Night
  Tripping In India
  ...and Tougher


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