Zia met me in Dhaka and travelled down to
I retired early for the night and was sleeping soundly when at three in the morning I was violently woken by an excruciating stomach pain that in the first instance had me thinking my appendix must have ruptured. One of the kids had a ruptured appendix and their stomach was as tight as a drum. So with the pain and the tight stomach I had now acquired in my sleep that was my first thought. I was unable to unfold and so lay in a foetus position for about ten minutes before I realised I was going to have to get to the toilet immediately if I was not to soil the bed. I crawled to the bathroom and figured after half an hour contemplation in there that I was not dealing with an unruly appendix.
Over the next seven hours I tried to work out what the problem was. I managed to crawl to my backpack and retrieve a Lonely Planet Guide but that made things worse. Everything in the medical section became my ailment. I had rabies for a while. Then malaria. Cholera. Dysentery. Giardia. I had moved from the toilet to the bath and lay there with the guide that was so unhelpful.
Soon it was 1000 and Zia was waiting for me. I had cleaned up but could not get off the floor I was so cramped up and managed to get around only by moving like a crab. After about ten minutes Zia knocked on the door. When he saw me on the floor he simply laughed and said “You have Giardia. I can fix that.” Helping me up we went down the stairs and out onto the street where he organised for me to drink coconut milk from a freshly lopped coconut. The street vendor picked up a straw from off the street and placed it in the drink – we insisted he cut a new coconut and he could not understand our objection to the “clean” straw from off the road. After a quick coconut re-hydration we walked across to a small street pharmacy where Zia asked for a tablet which proved to be the size of a dime. Large and pink. Zia seemed to know the drug so I took the tablet and hoped for the best.
My enduring lesson of the experience was that I should avoid any attempts at self diagnosis in the future. I was of no help to myself whatsoever).
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