27 August 2008

Letter 3.14

It seems that I'll be in Kashmir a bit longer than I bargained for, since I've come down with jaundice. I've been to the hospital and had all the tests made. The disease seems to be serious but not at all dangerous, and since there is no medication that can cure it the only cure is rest -- at least 3 weeks in bed. That, the doctor said, does not mean 3 weeks mostly in bed, but 3 weeks flat on your back, 24 hours a day.

I went on a camping trip -- when? I've lost track of time -- west of Srinagar. I walked about 6 miles to lovely small wooded valley, Swiss-alpine almost, enjoyed wandering around, but apparently the strain brought out the jaundice which had been enervating me for weeks with what I thought was a bad cold. I see now it was the incipient jaundice knocking me out -- I'd stay in bed a few days, feel better, go out one day, feel bad, and bang! -- two more days in bed. So the strain of the camping trip finally brought it out and I barely made it back to Srinagar -- very weak, feverish as I've been ever since, until yesterday. I had a bowl of porridge this morning -- I've eaten hardly a thing for days -- and feel a bit stronger though any exertion exhausts me, so I guess I'll have to stay bedridden as the doctor ordered. Thinking about him makes me feel better though. He's English from the Christian hospital. His name is Donald Duck. Doctor Donald Duck. At last -- someone with a more embarrassing name than Bob Smith.

Yesterday I saw a quite spectacular meteor -- I wondered if I was just seeing things -- but today it made the front page of the Indian newspapers nudging from the headlines the usual riots, government corruption, unbelievable barbarism, and natural cataclysms. They'll be back tomorrow.

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