Saturday, October 20, 2007

indian flu

I woke up sweating one morning to find that the air conditioning was turned off (It’s still hot in Delhi--in the 90’s on most days, so AC is a must, especially at night).

I wandered into our living room to find Ben sitting on the couch wearing sweatpants, a thermal shirt, sweatshirt, socks and winter ski hat, all bundled under a thick blanket rubbing his hands together.

“It’s freezing in here!” he exclaimed through chattering teeth.

That’s when we discovered Ben has malaria.

Okay, well not really. But he’s been showing symptoms all week: fever, vomit, chills, cough, headache, and orthostatic hypotension. We don’t know what that is, but we’re sure he has it. Luckily, I’m not working this week, and Ben was able to take the whole week off to recuperate, which means I got to play nurse.

We quickly ran out of the American medicine we brought with us. After scrounging around in our medicine cabinet for a stray Airborne, Advil, Day/Nyquil, or Motrin pill, I knew I’d have to make a visit to the pharmacist (which they call chemists). I walked across the street and downstairs to the small dark store to describe Ben’s symptoms to the chemist. “Coughing” <>, “Fever” <>, “chills” <>>, I told her.

She said something in Hindi, and a man went scrounging through several boxes until he found the one he was looking for. He took a paper towel to rub dust off the box, and cut off a strip of medicine containing 6 tablets. “Take one morning. One night,” he said. “Sixteen rupees.” Only 43 cents. I asked for some other options and went home with four strips of medicine.

Upon returning home, we googled the name of the medicines to see which ones would best fit Ben’s symptoms. All of the medicine required prescriptions from a doctor, but not in India. One type of medicine was for HIV. Another was for hay fever. One was an antihistamine. One strip, however, was for the common cold. It was our golden nugget.

We’ve spent the week watching old movies like Sneakers and reruns of TV shows like Seinfeld, Full House and Who’s the Boss. There’s no such thing as chicken noodle soup, so we’ve been living off of hot and sour soup from an Indo-Chinese restaurant that happens to deliver. We’ve also been drinking a lot of orange juice, sprite and tea.

We’ve been making progress. The AC was on when I woke up this morning, and Ben made two eggs for himself for breakfast. I know we’ll be all better by the time he’s eating four.

7 comments:

Jared said...

Maybe it is The Plague....

Sami said...

i can't believe they gave you HIV medicine.

jason said...

four eggs AND blue cheese

Hamoodi said...

too funny. so when is this becoming a serial?

Ava said...

God forbid Ben should share the fate of Ben Fish. Maybe you ate some bad meat? Miss you guys . . .

Leslie said...

I could send a photo of chicken soup! Don't worry, meds. reinforcements will soon be hand-delivered.

Les

bsandrew said...

I particularly enjoy the over the counter cough syrup with codeine. They sell it at the newspaper counter at the Delhi airport. Helps get you some sleep during the long flights. Costs about the equivalent of $0.75 (USD) per bottle.