March 09, 2016
After a strenous non-stop week of traveling, we finally had a day off for rest and leisure.
I kicked off my morning with a light breakfast (I was still taking meds for the virus the doctor said I had) and then went back to the room to wash my clothes. I had amassed a pile of laundry, and the laundry service fees at the hotel were outrageous. So, I decided to hand wash in the tub, and lay everything out to dry outside in the pool area.
After washing, I slipped into my gym clothes and noticed a red patch forming on my lower abs below my navel. I figured it must be irritation from rubbing my belly against the tub while I was kneeling over it when washing. Not thinking too much about it, I joined my friends downstairs at the gym. After working out, we showered, and jumped in the pool. We had a fun time splashing around, chatting, and listening to music.
As I went back upstairs to change, I noticed some bumps on my arms. I had spent a lot of time outdoors and my skin was sensitive to the sun. I figured it was a sun rash. After changing, we all went to the mall which was conveniently located next to our hotel. The mall was great! It provided the familiarity we missed from the shopping centers back home. The best store there was a convenience shop that sold all kinds of stuff. We purchased snacks, toilet paper, and other random items. Next, we headed to the food court and feasted on American fast food (MCDonald’s and Pizza Hut).
We returned to the hotel, and I noticed that the rash had continued to spread. I started to itch pretty bad, and went back to the mall to buy rash cream. As I applied the cream, I realized that the bumps in my arm had swollen and spread all the way to my shoulders. My belly was covered in red spots. I called the doctor that had treated me two days earlier (read that story here) but he did not respond. I thought that maybe I had an allergic reaction to the meds he had given me.
I went online to WebMD to look up causes and solutions (bad idea!). I emailed a couple of friends. They sympathized and offered suggestions. As the hours passed, Leyla, and Isra went to sleep. I was still up, wide awake, googling rashes. In my desperation, I sent Swamiji (my Guru) a Facebook message asking him to help me. To my surprise he actually responded. He sent me a short sweet message telling me to relax and calm down. He said he would take care of it and heal me. I was awestruck! I felt a wave of peace and relief take over. I turned off my phone and fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning we were schedule to fly out to our next destination. Because there are no direct flights from Varanasi to Aurangabad, we had to fly to Delhi, then Mumbai, and from there into Aurangabad. I showered and applied a thick layer of cream, and sprinkled Vibhooti (sacred ash) all over my body. At this point, the rash had spread all over my upper body, thighs, hands, and neck. Aside from the itchiness, I felt fine. No nausea, weakness or pain.
I called the doctor again from the airport at Mumbai. I told him my theory about the allergic reaction, and he said he did not think it was the meds. He told me that he could not diagnose me without seeing the rash in person. I was fucked. I told him I was on my way to Aurangabad, and would not be returning to Varanasi. He told me to see another physician as soon as I landed.
Our layover in Mumbai was about six hours. The wait was excruciating. I was itchy and uncomfortable. By now, the rash had spread to my face and it looked like I had really bad acne. I tried hard not to cry or loose my cool. Isra and Leyla tried their best to cheer me up but kept their distance. We did not know if I was contagious. Leyla thought that maybe it could be shingles. To me it looked like chicken pox.
We arrived in Aurangabad around 8:30 P.M. Our driver picked us up and drove to our hotel which was about an hour away. After checking in, I asked our driver to please take me and Israel to a clinic. Most of the clinics he took us to were closed, and the ones that were open could not treat me. After driving around and trying different places we found a 24 hour urgent care hospital. We pulled up to the front, and the security guard there guided us to the check in station. I was very nervous. Having no idea about how the Indian medical system worked, or what to expect was not fun. The attendant spoke broken English, and I wrote down all of my information for him. He handed me a printout with my info, and then motioned me to go inside to wait for a doctor. I went up to the front desk, and handed my paper to a nurse. She did not speak English, and called her supervisor for help. The supervisor, a male, asked me what the problem was. I showed him my arm and explained what was going on. He told me that the female doctor was gone for the day, but that he would give me a shot to help ease the rash and some pills to help alleviate the itchiness. He directed me to sit in one of the beds, and sent in two young nurses to take my vitals. The nurses seemed curious and scared. Their hesitation did not ease my nerves. I bit my lip and squeezed Israel’s hand.
The nurses motioned me to lay on my belly and pull down my pants. I did as was told, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes. As they were injecting me, I could hear them whispering and arguing amongst each other. They told me not to move and give them a second. I looked up to Isra and he shrugged.
Another girl came to my bed area. After more whispering and bickering they finally seemed to agree on whatever was happening and I felt pinch, and then relief as they massaged the injection site. I pulled up my pants and sat up. They told me to wait, and left to another room. Israel asked me how my butt felt. I said fine.
About 30 minutes later the girls returned and handed me a prescription. I had my prescription filled, and we drove back to the hotel. Again, Isra asked how my butt felt and I said “fine why do you keep asking?”. He looked at me, and told me that the nurses (who apparently were students) didn’t really know what their were doing. When they injected me, they freaked out and left the needle sticking in my butt. I was until the third nurse came in the room that they completed the injection and removed the needle. Holy fuck!
The following morning we went back to the hospital. The head female doctor examined me and then called another physician in for a second opinion on what the rash could be. They both agreed i was not contagious and that it was probably and allergy. I was prescribed a new set of meds and received another shot.
After paying for the consultation we drove off to Elliora Caves to enjoy the rest of the day.