Finally,…Getting Sick in India

Last Updated on August 25, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

getting sick in india
getting sick in india

Amoebic Dysentry“.

Sitting in Dr. Marwah’s office, a stone’s throw from the Dalai Lama’s estate I stared at the picture he drew before me This was my diagnosis. I had a parasite in me– no wonder I’d been feeling like I was eating for two people!

I was told to take my Cipro, along with a six-day supply of Metrogyn (aka Flagyn) and given a food list of No-No’s: NO milk, NO chocolate, NO fried or oily foods, NO butter or cream.

getting sick in india
getting sick in india
getting sick in india
getting sick in india

Was it from eating bad food or accidentally brushing my teeth with the water?  My morning burp had a suspect.

Behind the curtain, Nicole, another friend was receiving the drip, weakened to the state of needing help to walk. She couldn’t hold anything in her stomach for long. Her diagnosis?

Bacterial dysentery.

Perhaps it was inevitable that I’d be a statistic– it was Mother India’s initiation. We were all dropping like flies in our yoga teacher’s program-  if it wasn’t the rigorous daily schedule and two Ashtanga asana practices that injured us, it’d be a stomach bug or parasite.

IMG 3218Yogi friend Nicole required more urgent aid, dehydrated and weak, she received the drip

IMG 3209Dr. Marwah’s clinic in Dharamsala


My first trip to Dharamsala’s Delek Hospital brought a superficial verdict. Food poisoning. No medication was prescribed. “Just let it pass”, I was told.

The body purges the best way it can — I was grateful to be coming out of only one end.

Just before I left, they gave me a tiny microbe vial in the case I wanted to bring a stool sample into the lab for testing. It was the size of a peanut, with an entry hole the size of a dime! A feeling of dread came over me.

IMG 3464

Fortunately, the next day I was better (no microbe vial for me, thank you!). Yet weakened, my stomach felt like rubbish for the next two weeks. Fresh veggies, clean water and familiar foods were all my stomach craved. They were the only things that weren’t easily accessible in my environment (and living at the bottom of 300+ stairs of a steep hill, didn’t help). My body felt like a hostage. It wanted freedom… it wanted health.

The mind thinks but the body knows.

I vacillated and then relapsed.

If Indian toilet bowls could talk, they’d probably tell you they no longer want to be toilets.

Six days of taking Metrogyn as Marwah prescribed and my stomach still felt “off”. I was supposed to be cured but something still wasn’t right. My stomach wasn’t mine, just yet.

By now I was hearing horror stories from others about living with parasites and contracting tapeworms.  Fear does something to you– it gives you the courage to face possible humiliation with microbe stool sample bottles. I shot down to the hospital lab with a sample for testing (a mere 100 rupees for the diagnosis!).

Amoeba wasn’t gone and an extra drug was added, that Marwah had missed. Dyrade.  10 days on Dyrade was my prescription.

IMG 3466
IMG 3467

Hopefully this is last visit does the trick, but I think when I get to Bangkok, I’ll take myself to a clinic for a follow-up.

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  • […] Getting sick while traveling and trying to find things I can eat is a reality, albeit not always a fun one. This is my second time getting sick abroad with a stomach bug (bacteria or parasite), where I’m on antibiotics designed to eradicate everything.The antibiotics (commonly, Cipro or Azithromycyn )  are strong. It’s working to kill bad bacteria; and to do this, it kills all bacteria, even the good ones that your stomach needs to help digest foods. It’s made me realize my stomach is a delicate instrument and one of the foundational roots of my bodily and mental well-being. […]

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