Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Vacations, Stomach bugs and Wonder drugs

Never thought I'd be blogging while on vacation. Which is why I explained my absence in the last post to quell queries about the lack of posts and my whereabouts. However things can change fast. Thanks to some unexpected circumstances a trip to one of the finest beaches got cancelled and left me stuck in a city for much longer than I had intended to stay. So while hubby dear goes about his business and I spend my days doing nothing much except staring and admiring the gazillion shops in this crazy city and browsing the internet. Which brings me to what I wanted to write about in the first place.

Okay so here I am in a foreign place, unfamiliar surroundings, being careful about what I eat and drink. Remember years of living in the US has robbed you of all your immunity, warned my Mom before I left for my vacation. So I tried to be careful. But looks like the US can really mess up your constitution and years of building a strong immunity through fighting all those Indian germs have deserted me completely in these few years. Within a week of landing in this South East Asian city, I get diarrhea. Now what is the big deal about diarrhea you ask. I mean I've had diarrhea before. And it's never been much of an issue. Lay off the spicy food, easy on milk products, plenty of fluids per mouth and it takes care of itself. Even the most watery and cramping kinds. So when I started frequenting the restroom a little too often I thought I just had to be a little careful and it would heal on its own. Except I was wrong.

As my Dad put it, I was fighting an Asian stomach bug and it required more effort than a fluid diet. On the second day of my diarrhea with no signs of improvement I realized that I needed to find a pharmacy and get some sort of medication. Unfamiliar with the kinds of drug one can find over the counter in this place I went to the drug store next to my Hotel and asked the lady to help. She pointed me to a shelf containing activated charcoal and smiled. I shook my head and said I needed something stronger. She says, "you need doctor". At this point I am still not sure whether one can get anti-diarrheal medicines over the counter. I ask her where I can find a doctor. She directs me to a clinic half a block down the road. I follow her instructions and go to the clinic only to find out that they do not see patients on weekends (yes, it was a Saturday) and I would have to go to the Hospital pharmacy to see what they could give me. Thankfully the Hospital was quite close, on the next street.

I go to the Hospital pharmacy which looked much better and well equipped than the one I had been to in the morning. I walk up to the Pharmacist and ask her if she could give me some anti-diarrheal medicine.

"Is it for you?" she asks.

I nod my head and say yes.

Then she asks me, "What medicine are you looking for?"

And I almost roll my eyes at the question. This was like being at a grocery store and being asked what kind of tomatoes I was looking for. What if I weren't a doctor and I had no clue. What am I supposed to say? What kind do you have available?

"Something like Lomotil or Imodium," I say with hope in my voice.

The girl looks at me and asks me, "What kind of diarrhea are you having?"

The unwanted kind. The bad kind. The kind that is killing me. I try not to sound irritated as I tell her "watery diarrhea".

"How many times have you gone since morning?"

"I lost count."

"More than five?" she asks.

I nod. She then asks me about signs for dysentery, dehydration and infection. And I shake my head saying "no" to everything.

But she suddenly decides that I look pale, with sunken eyes, dry parched lips and tongue and says, "You are having mild dehydration and you have to go see a doctor. You need intestinal antibiotics which require a prescription."

At this point I am really feeling tired and exhausted and cursing myself for not travelling with anti-diarrheal medicines. I ask her where I can find a doctor and she says I need to go register at the front desk and they would help. Except by the time I figure out where I had to go register I was told that doctors were gone for the day and that I needed to go to the Emergency room. Now I was really getting tired of the entire charade. I just had diarrhea and there was no way I was going to go sit in the ER for half a day for something so trivial.

So I march back to the Hospital pharmacy and this time get to talk to the senior Pharmacist. I tell her that I needed some anti-diarrheal medicine and that I was taking plenty of fluids and assured her that I did not have dehydration and that I would see a doctor on Monday if she would just oblige and help me for now. I guess something touched her. And she took out a pack of Imodium and hands it over to me. I could have hugged her with joy. She gives me the usual warnings that come with taking the medicine and I walk out of the pharmacy feeling victorious.

It took almost 48 hours for the medication to kick in, check my diarrhea and regain my appetite. But it worked and I am glad. And I'm never stepping out of known territory without an array of medication that I may need. Which my Mom still cannot believe that I actually did.

Doesn't matter where you are going you always take an emergency supply of medicines. And this is Asia for crying out loud!

Yes, now I know. The hard way.

But the good news is I'm back on my feet and ready to tackle the next culinary delight. Right on!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

You can tell that you are obsessed about blogging.....

.....when you have to check your blog from half-way across the globe!

Okay, I am out of the country and will be unable to blog until the first week of December. My vanity has been forcing me to believe that my absence was noted and I was being missed. Hence the update......

Thanks to anyone who has checked in on me. And I'll be back soon.


Monday, November 13, 2006

The unheard

Some things are better left unsaid. Because you fear that it may change when you put them into words. Someone once told me that walls have ears. But what about the words that form inside your mind? Can the walls hear those too? Would someone be able to enter that much guarded space of your mind and look into your thoughts, your emotions, your innermost feelings and steal them from you? The way you feel, the way your felt, the tears, the smiles, the insecurities, the reassurance, the anticipation, the relief. What you see, what you know, what you believe in.

Love is beautiful.

And yeah, somethings are better left unsaid.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Time and Distance

How far can one travel in 23 hours?

Halfway across the world. That is what I've been told.
I would think that it would make you come a full circle. Back home. To me.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just so you know

You think that you know him better than me, understand his needs more than anyone else. AndI know that we've never had this conversation before..... but there are some things that I would like you to know. Like the way I met him, bonded with him. The way things used to be.

Like a whiff of fresh air he came into my life. And suddenly there was a whole new meaning to everything around me. As I held him, gently caressed the soft skin, watched him sleep, for nights on end, rocked him in my arms when he woke up, sang him sweet lullabies and watched him dream, it felt like there could be nothing quite as beautiful as that little baby in my arms. The countless nights that I stayed up to feed him, nurse him, comfort him, the endless days that I fed and bathed and took care of him, watching him grow and smile and take his first wobbly steps. I held his hand as he went to school, full of apprehension and fear of the unknown. I sat with him every single day as he learnt his tables, recited his rhymes, read his book. I took him to the playground every afternoon and watched him run and play and fall and get hurt. I wiped away his tears and dressed his wounds, I read him stories of Kings and little Princes and watched his eyes light up with joy, I waited for him to get home from school, run through that door and call out to me, impatient to tell me about how well he did in class, what he had learnt in school that day. I made him his favorite food and watched him gulp it down in a rush to be able to go out and play.I washed his clothes and saw him get mud and dirt all over his starched pants. And I listened to his dreams and what he wanted to do in life. I watched him grow and take his first steps. Into the world. And out of mine.

The first time I saw you with him I knew I had lost him. The look in his eyes as he talked about you, the way he smiled and watched you as you spoke, the way he held your hand, the love in his eye, told me everything. And that moment I knew he had found someone to spend the rest of his life with. And I had spent so many hours praying that he finds you someday, yet suddenly I felt empty. And alone. Like the whole world was closing in on me. And I wept. Because I was so happy for him. And the two of you. And it was so hard to let go. He was my baby after all. The most important person in the world to me. And I used to be his world once. His window into the world. And now suddenly everything was changed. He had found someone else to talk to, be with, share his innermost feelings, his dreams. His life. And I was left standing on the outside. Just clutching on to memories. My memories.

And please don't get me wrong. I love you too. I love you for loving him. Taking care of him. My baby. I see the two of you together lost in your world, making plans, building your future. And it fills my heart with love and pride. I see the love in his eye when he talks about you, tells me everything that you do for him, and how you make his life complete. And I pray that his happiness lasts a lifetime. And that all his dreams may come true. I see the passion in him as he explains some math problem to you or the fervour when he explains the workings of finance or engineering or something else that has him fascinated....and I remember a time not so long back when he would do the same to me as I tried my best to keep up with his zest and enthusiasm. But looks like I have fallen back. Unable to keep up with his pace. And now he has found you. To walk with him every step of the way. As I sit back here and watch him walk. Away from me. A step further away with every passing day.

And I keep trying in my own way to make him happy, keep him smiling. The way it used to be. To have his eyes light up when I make his favorite food, or have him smile when I buy him something that he wants, a hug that means the world to me, words that I hang on to reassure myself that he is still my baby. And I hurt when he says he'd rather have you do things for him. I hurt when he turns to you instinctively when he needs something. I hurt because he does not need me anymore. To baby him.

And I live in my memories. Of how it felt to hold him for the first time, have him smile at me, or call me 'Ma', the first steps, the first days of school when I cried everytime I left him there, the way he laughed, or cried, his success and his failures, his happiness and his sadness, the way he bought something for me with his first paycheck, the way he would throw his arms around me and tell me that I was the best Mom in the world. And I wish him well and always pray for his happiness. And sometimes you may think I am being unreasonable. But always know that he is my baby. And this is the love from a mother's heart.