Ordeal with the Pox
I was traveling back to Pune by the so called comfy Volvo bus of NEETA. And the bus journey left no stone unturned in making me the most irritable creature on earth. With bumpy rides all through the night, I was just successful in saving whatever was left of me and collected myself with my luggage and got down at my stop at 7:30 AM the next day morning.
April 13 '2009, Monday - Never ignore signs and instinct.....
As I got down at my stop, every muscle in my body was crying out in agony. The body ache was terrible. Somehow, I dragged myself towards home. On the way, I bought some milk for my morning tea. To rub more salt to my wounds, the Sun had come out in full glory to torment me more with scorching heat. Also, I met two of my room mates on my way back home. They were going towards the bus stop. After a 2 minute chit chat, I reached my flat, unlocked the door only to be engulfed by a nauseating odour of rotten food and an unkempt kitchen. The sight of our royal kitchen made me almost puke, as I was greeted with a variety rotting away in different vessels. The entire scene reeked of neglect of weeks, which was countered by my roomies who claimed in the later part of the day that it had been only a day! With no energy to refute, I cleaned up a little bit only to experience a searing body ache that made me walk into my room and drop dead into my bed. Somehow, I had a gut feeling then – 'Something ain't right with me.' May be the journey had not suited me well. After a refreshing bath, I got ready for office. And as I stepped out in the sun again, I felt dizzy. Assuming to be hit by a journey-lag, i took a rick and reached office on time. There my ever bubbly partner in crime – Saily was waiting for me with a big smile. It was breakfast time, after all.....
.....The past few weeks had been drab for both of us as there wasn't much work. In spite of utilizing time in exploring new tools, we were still hyper active! But on that day, on that particular day, my body was not in sync with my mind and my mind was not accepting the disobedience of my body. By midday, I had caught a good deal of fever. Assuming it to be a normal fever, I went home early to take good rest. A crocin was all it took to pacify my jumpy mind and that everything was just going to be fine! Ever since childhood, my body’s behavior towards medicines was very much like a drop of rain in a desert. My body was born to either defy or dismiss every normal reaction under the sun. Usually, medicines sedate people. In my case, the body could never be tranquilized until and unless it wanted to. It was as if my mind and body were suddenly behaving like twp opposite entities! My body wanted rest and my mind said NO. And the poor soul me was caught in the tug off war. I got only a hand full of sleep, which eluded me till early morning!
April 14, Tuesday – Mind and Body playing devious games!
I got up the next day, with renewed vigor and felt more than fit. And I got ready quite early and left for office with my roommates. Now I blamed all the scorching heat and the clumsy bus journey for my fluctuating body behavior the day before. After reaching office, I was getting back to normal slowly. As one of my colleagues and I were chatting away in the pantry section, he mentioned that his brother recently contracted chicken pox and that he has been restrained from eating any non veg or oily stuff until he got fine. I empathized that everything was just going to be fine!. In some time, we both got our hands full with work. As noon came, the fever suddenly made a comeback and this time with greater ferocity. The fever somehow pulled out some not so nice memories of past when malaria had decided to visit me a couple of years back. I was scared and told my best friend cum colleague Saily, who advised me to see a doc immediately and take a day off the next day. At afternoon, we had a session on open source tools, which was being conducted by a good friend. Somehow I could feel a chill run through my spine in the middle of the session. The chill was probably a deadly combination of old fears and the haunting fever. Still, the stubborn mind refused to accept that all was not well. At that time, one of the topics being discussed was ‘Synchronize requests’. Even as my mind was absorbing whatever was going on in the session, here my mind and body failed to synchronize. Will they? Sigh!!
I left for the day by the usual 5:15 PM bus. Every fraction of my body cried out in pain that now came out all of a sudden from nowhere. I desperately wanted someone to rescue me from the scorching heat and the painful body ache that came as an additional free package with the already high fever that had struck me. As I reached home and slumped into my bed, I could feel a cloud of hot air all around me. Initially, I dismissed it as the heat that I probably carried from outside, but within minutes I realized my entire body was blazing with fever. I don’t know what temperature it would have been, coz I had started feeling dizzy and everything around me moved in circles! After a break of fifteen minutes, I stepped into the shower to get drenched in the soothing cold water that seemed to wash away all the temperature from my body. After that I felt rejuvenated and strong. I was so happy. But alas! The happiness was short lived. The fever struck me again within an hour with greater ferocity and a more severe body ache. ‘This hide and seek game ain't funny any more! I need to see a doc!’, was all I could say to self! The doc diagnosed my condition as a normal fever caused by heat wave and dehydration. I was packed back home with a strong dose of medicines and a day’s complete rest. After a lot of contemplation, my adamant mind and my weakened body called a truce and the ‘me’ was finally put to sleep.
April 15, Wednesday – Home alone! Mind: the master!
The day of my ‘sick leave’ arrived. I was not sure how I was going to spend it all alone in the flat with no one to talk to. I already started repenting for having taken a day off. There was a strong urge in me that was tempting me to get ready and go to office, but that thought was nipped off in the bud, as Jayshree - my roommate cum friend stared at me angrily, reading my unstable thoughts. She gave me one final shout and asked me to sit tight in the flat for a day at least. Then as everyone left for office, I collected myself and wandered here and there in the near by market to buy some vegetables and fruits. As I came back home, the fever and the body ache seemed to be returning again. I tried ignoring the discomfort,prepared a healthy meal, ate well, took medicines, read books, spent time on my lappie, watched TV, chatted with some old friends and made as much movement I could do. However, the one activity that eluded my list was sleep which would not come so easily to me for whatsoever reason. As usual, it never comes to me before 11 PM in the night. That night, as I tried to sleep, I felt my neck itch and found two blisters to be the culprits. My hands gave the neck a nice soothing scratch which felt heavenly then. Little did I know that something more than fever and body ache was awaiting me a few hours from then.
April 16, Thursday – ‘They say - You never know how strong you really are until being strong is the only choice you have!’ So true!!
I got ready for office. Somewhere I felt, the mind was trying to confuse me with its devious games and there was nothing wrong apparently. Dismissing my condition as some delusion, I tried to appear healthy. But eyes always give it away. People at office started telling me that I wasn't looking well. The two red blisters were prominent enough to garner people's attention. The fever was coming back too! Since I was feeling dizzy, I took good rest of 3 hours in the rest room of the office. The room was blazing hot, or so I felt because my body felt hot too, though self felt too weak to complain! When I got up after a few hours, I experienced a nagging pain in my gums. I touched the inside of my gums to find more blisters erupting on the inside of my mouth! Mind was working fast now. This was not a normal fever.....was it malaria? Oh God!I was not prepared for a second attack!. Its one time visit had left me traumatized enough that I rarely slept w/o a goodnight coil and above all had said good bye to all the junk food and soft drinks i binged on. All that time, I wondered how was I to get it again, if i were following healthy lifestyle? With no mosquitoes in my flat, the chance of a malaria attack was slim! Then all of a sudden, from somewhere in my mind, I was struck with an uncalled thought - ‘Was it Chicken Pox!’ The thought scare me! There was a fleeting thought in my mind when my friend said about his brother having got chicken pox - 'I had not been afflicted with this even once'. Still, mind refused to accept anything that was not confirmed logically.
As I sat down for another brainstorming session of the open source tool by my friend, he suddenly asked me if I was all fine. The red blisters on my neck raised an alarm in his head. However, he pacified me saying, this could possibly be a reaction to medicine which I was taking for fever. However, the curiosity in me made me ask him about the symptoms of Pox. And.....he stated the very symptoms I had endured for the past three days. Without letting me speak further, he just asked if I was having blisters anywhere else. The moment, 'no' escaped my mouth, a minor blemish appeared on my arm out of nowhere and then on my feet. After a couple of minutes of the recent developments, with one look, my friend asked me to go home immediately. He added –‘Leave tonight if possible, for your hometown’. I asked him if it was chicken pox and his silence confirmed my doubts. So I immediately called up the Travel agent and asked him to book my tickets.
I came home soon and my maid glanced at me and confirmed it! So, it was not going to be malaria but it was Chicken Pox! As I freshened up, I found, the blemishes were appearing rapidly across my body and I had little time in hand but to get packing and moving. After a quick early dinner, I started for the bus stop. There I learnt that the bus was late by an hour. The nightmare had just begun.....
'You never know how strong you really are until being strong is the only choice you have!’ Little did I know that I would be forced to prove this tonight!
After a wait of 3 hours, the bus arrived and I boarded in. I tried to sleep as soon as I settled in the sleeper couch. There were 9 hours to go and the mind comforted that, they would go in a jiffy over the night. But things ain't that simple..are they? The body ache and fever returned with a sudden ferocity driving away the sleep. And from the minute I boarded the bus, it felt, the time had stopped dead and Bharuch seemed a place in some far away dream. The blisters had now spread rapidly all over and the pain caused by them was agonizing as I tried to find a suitable posture to sleep. After a while, a parched throat woke me up and I emptied my water bottle in. Little did I know, the nightmare had just began!
It felt like falling into an abyss of insomnia from which I constantly drifted in and out. Some time later, a stabbing pain in the abdomen woke me up rudely. Only then, I realized that I had not been sleeping but had been hallucinating all through, a result of high fever. I saw the time. It was just 11 PM. Only 2 hours had passed and it felt as though ages had passed.....
At that moment, if there was anything that could relieve me of my pain, was a washroom! With time, the pain became even more intense. With no choice, I walked up to the driver and said I needed a halt. To my relief, I saw an old couple who were also waiting to relieve their bladders. The driver looked at my sick face smudged with tears and finally told me that the stop was some 10 minutes away. At that time, I did not know, his ten minutes were actually equivalent to 60 minutes. Finally at 2 AM, there was a halt and the suffering lot relieved itself. Once I got into the bus, my face was smudged with tears! And even more painful was the fact, that we were still in Maharashtra. Never in my life had the self felt so helpless, with no one to talk to, with no one around to say a kind word that everything will be fine. Also my entire body was blistered up and I felt a thousand needles pricking me mercilessly in all directions. After an hour or so, I fell asleep but the sleep was some kind of a nonsensical dream. The bumps and kicks showered by the bus woke me up after some hours and the time showed 4 AM. Then onwards, impatience overcame sleep and I was eagerly waiting for the clumsy 2 hours to pass by. At 5:30 AM, the board of Ankaleshwar brought a smile to my face. Ankaleshwar is just 30 minutes from Bharuch, my hometown! I had a strong urge to get down from the bus and take a rick and go to Bharuch. But then an inner voice held me back – ‘U waited so long. U endured so much of pain. So why wont you tolerate some 15 minutes more?’ At the nth minute, I decided to listen to this inner voice. And after some grueling 45 minutes, my beloved destination came into view. As soon as I saw the toll gate, I persuaded the driver to drop me off. The bus atmosphere was severely nauseating! I got down and walked some 10 minutes towards my usual stop where for a change, a very anxious dad of mine waited for me. Well, the nightmare was over and I felt happy and a little strong again!
The moment I reached home, I went to my bedroom and drifted into a peaceful state of trance. I don’t know how long I slept. But mother said, I slept peacefully. When I got up 3 hours later, I felt a sore throat. Rather it was something worse. The sores had erupted not only externally, but on my tongue and inside my throat, making anything go down my throat, impossible and painful. The pain was excruciating as I felt a parched throat every now and then.
So two things were confirmed –
1. I was not going back to Pune till I got Ok. And the sick leave extended to more than a week roughly.
2. Me, a hyper active entity, was going to be quarantined to a room, sleeping on a bed of neem leaves and eating curd rice three times a day.
The days of healing passed.....
A bed of neem leaves on which I spent more than a week was actually a soothing experience, as it cooled my body, though eating curd rice thrice a day was a tough deal. But I took it as a signal from the Almighty. I abided by the schedule set for me like an obedient child (very much unlike me!). Slowly and steadily, Mother Nature healed me through bitter neem juice, curd rice and through the selfless unconditional love of my parents. For the first time in life, I was able to appreciate the bitterness of Neem and the banal taste of curd rice.
ChickenPox is believed to be eradicated. However, the older endemic afflictions which were believed to have been eradicated once and for all, are returning. So, tt is advisable that people maintain good food habits with a large intake of water and fruits and curd which prevents the heat accumulation inside the body. In many states of India, Chicken Pox is also considered as the coming of the deity – Goddess Kali into oneself. In spite of whatever doctors suggest, this particular affliction is cured only naturally and I learnt this from my experience!
Cheers and God bless...!!
Labels: snippets from my life