Monday, 11 November 2013

Defeating Dengue

the girls in dharamsala!
I ushered in my 22nd birthday in the mountains of Dharamsala, surrounded by good weather, great food, and even better friends. We spent the weekend in Macleod Ganj, which is a small and friendly community, home to the Dalai Lama, serene monks, and tons of Tibetan refugees. I spent my birthday enjoying a "Canadian" breakfast on a terrace cafe, trekking up to a local waterfall, taking in the mountain views, treating myself to a Tibetan massage, and of course the general debaucheries that typically accompany young expats and birthdays.

I arrived back in Delhi refreshed and inspired to return to work - only India had other plans for me. I was struck with an intense fever the day after my trip, which a blood test confirmed was dengue. After seeing my roomate and a few friends suffer through it, I thought I had been so careful applying bug repellant, fully clothing myself, and avoiding going out at dusk!

prayer flags strung across the mountains in dharamsala
Dengue was a thousand times worse than I ever expected. My fever was running at 104, my bones felt like they were breaking, my eyes were in excruciating pain, and I was constantly light headed and dizzy. The time I didn't spend sleeping my anguish away was spent forcing myself to drink 6L of fluids daily. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy!

On top of my misery, I had the great misfortune of suffering through dengue during Diwali. Diwali is a WARZONE in this country - it goes on for at least a week, and celebrations entail the loudest fireworks you have ever heard in your entire life.

Anyway, I'm on the mend now. A day in the hospital connected to the IV, and old Indian medical traditions (goats milk and papaya leaf juice - can't knock those old school methods) helped boost my platelet count, and dragged me out of the misery that is dengue. If anything, dengue & 2 weeks of bed rest have restored my urgency and passion to see more and immerse myself in more of India. I'm looking forward to reuniting with an old friend in Nepal tomorrow, so I'll hit you all up with another post soon!

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