Saturday, May 20, 2006

Some thoughts on nearly popping it

For the last two days I've been lying in bed knocked out not only by high fever but also by the most agonising headaches (though this should not be interpreted as an accusation, readers; it has nothing to do with the quality of comments you've been sending in, or with what small numbers visit the Middle Stage these days).

I went to see a GP on the first day, and he said it was a mild viral infection ("Mild? No, you've got it wrong right there, sir!"), and gave me a large set of pills to take, in different colours and with some broken into half. But all those pills went down to no effect, and the next day was just as bad as the first. Nor could I eat anything - I vomited everything straight back out, as if I'd suddenly turned into a human equivalent of a paper shredder.

Lying in bed in unbearable pain, I began to feel I was going to die. I thought of how, from being a person, I would suddenly change into a memory. I thought of all the things I would never manage to do, such as carry out a grand romance, skewer some enemies for good, or write a novel about Eros - heck, any kind of novel. I thought of all my books, growing lonely in their cupboards, and decided that I would generously leave behind my economics and philosophy books to Amit Varma, my books of reportage to Sonia Faleiro, my film books to Rahul Bhatia, my old science fiction books to Jai Arjun Singh, and some of my novels to my Hungarian friend Magda Sdebi. (General people want their ashes sprinkled over the face of the earth, but writers want their books.) I thought of England, where I studied for three years and which I was scheduled to visit next week, and of how I would never again see that beautiful little isle with its handkerchief fields, persistent low-hanging clouds and solemn beer-guzzling people.

As you can see, lying in bed in great pain does tend to encourage the most morbid thoughts, though the good thing is that one can twist them by ten degrees later and make them sound very funny.

Finally I was taken to hospital last evening, where, struggling to even sit up, I was ministered to by a bevy of doctors. In between our appointments my mother kept asking if I'd been working too hard lately (as anyone who knows me well will attest, this is a laughable contention). After many prods, taps and readings one doctor said he suspected I'd caught a mightily serious infection, and suggested I get admitted right away so that they could monitor me closely. I might be in hospital for three days to two weeks.

I have a great horror of hospitals - just entering them makes me feel ill. If I was ever given one wish, instead of asking for a million dollars I'd ask never to have to go to a hospital ever in my life. And strangely enough, within five minutes of him saying this, a young man's blood being what it is, I suddenly began to feel much better. I said I'd take whatever tests he recommended, but after that could I go home please? The doctors agreed, and I was told I could go home after taking a brain scan.

A brain scan involves lying on a long rack, having something strapped onto your forehead, and then being rolled into a large machine. My thoughts were still a bit morbid, and as I began to enter the little cavern it seemed to me as if this was the closest I'd ever get to understanding what it felt like to being inside a grave (not that it usually "feels like" anything to those sent into that underground world).

Ah well, I said to myself, trying to cheer myself up, at least it's totally painless. At this very moment an attendant and a nurse approached me from the left-hand side. They asked me to extend my arm with my fist closed, and before I could protests swiftly inserted a needle into my vein with the force one would expect of an attempt to puncture a bullock hide. What was worse was that, as I lay there with my eyes closed in agony, I could hear the attendant lustily shouting for cotton wool to be brought quickly to him, as if I was bleeding to death before his eyes.

Shortly after, still clutching my arm gloomily, I escaped the hospital.

I feel much better this morning (as you can see), but I'm off now to the hospital for more tests. But I can sit up, walk and think without pain, so if my body's telling the truth, then I think I'm going to be well again soon.

And to celebrate it all I'm going to be back tomorrow or the day after - or perhaps a bit later if I'm asked not to work in front of a screen - and hopefully this day next weekend I'll be bowling off a very long run-up (this is not the same as bowling very fast, but it is the closest approximation of that experience, and if nothing else it is indicative of a great zest of life, to be willing to put in so much effort for such little result) on a lovely green cricket field beneath a blue summery sky in England.

20 comments:

Salil said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better, Chandrahas - and wish you a speedy recovery.

Cricket in England should be a fantastic experience - I trust you'll keep us readers updated with descriptions of your bowling exploits and the picturesque grounds there.

Jabberwock said...

I want the film books too!!!

(Er, I mean Get Well Soon and hopefully you won't have to think of bequeathing anything to anyone for at least a few years. Amen.)

equivocal said...

Hey Chandrahas,

That sounds really harrowing. Hope you're better now, and that connection they speak of between sickness and writing is working for you-- by the gauge of this post, it is! Unfortunately, unlike Proust, some of us have to get out of bed. But have a good time, and keep in mind that your readership is not dwindling, but has been increasing, as in the case of this commenter and (initially) reluctant blog reader.

Sanket said...

Chandrahas, the post proves that popping is nowhere near. Get well soon. Looking forward to the posts you have planned to write. I hope we also get some posts on your England experience.

Deepak Adhikari said...

Get well soon Has. I guess most of us think similar in our sickness. I too have congenial experience. I too envied ur collections of books, but woe be me, am not the one getting it posthumously!

Chandrahas said...

Thanks for all your good wishes, gentlemen (sadly there are no ladies amongst you).

And from my side I can report that I'm much better, and that I've been let off by the doctors with an order to report back if my symptoms return. Hopefully this won't happen - I've got a hundred things planned for the next month, including meetings with many bloggers in London, and it'd be a pity to miss out or even postpone those.

Jai - about the film books, Rahul has asked you to get in touch with him about the matter. I didn't quite expect two of my best pals to behave like this, but as it involves books I forgive both of you. Neither of you are likely to get even a look at them anytime soon.

Amit Chatterji said...

Is it some sort of an Absurdist Pomo joke you're playing on us? Otherwise, how could you be so funny the next day? As far as the novel is concerned, it's better to write it up as fast as is scientifically allowed by Newton's Laws of Motion. Because the benzene rings in Darwin's bones are angrily turning in his grave, and the virus, whatever it was, might be catching up again in a year or two.

Masd said...

Chandrahas! wish you quick recovery.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are well now. For future reference, I would like to be bequeathed a cup of coffee(mocha), sunlight on a broken column and rahul dravid's phone number. In exchange, i can promise you more female readers by issuing a decree to that effect, in college of course.Fair deal, don't you think?
-A Bit Of Company In the Evenings

Aishwarya said...

Glad you're feeling better.:)

Pratyush said...

Glad to know you are recovering.

Anonymous said...

hash,

just pop pills for now...

this scan stuff is surreal...maybe you can try space adventure next...

take it easy...

mlawn

amar said...

Get well soon completely, Chandrahas.

Chandrahas said...

Bit of Company - You drive a hard bargain as always. I can buy you a coffee and even the book, but Dravid's mobile number is harder to procure. But, just for the pleasure of seeing this decree you're going to issue in college, I'll get you even that.

Anonymous said...

Right ho, then. You work the contacts and I will smuggle the letterhead out of the principal's office when I get back. Remember. it all hinges on dravid's phone number. And the demands might increase as time goes by.
Threats to reveal my identity will result in the offer being promptly wirthdrawn and perhaps even a decree to the opposite effect.
-A Bit of Company In The Evenings
P.S.:I doubt this comment will see the light of day.

wandering dervish said...

hey man, this post was quite a shock!
hope you are getting better, and very soon we are drinking tea at mine and engaging in some true-blue nostalgia.

but do something about the weather!:-)

Chandrahas said...

Bit of Company - your threats grow more dire by the day. I'm beginning to feel a bit afraid of you now - soon you'll be asking for Dravid himself. I don't want that many new women readers either.

Wandering Dervish, don't worry, I'll be fit as anything in a few days. If tea is all you're going to offer me when I visit, then remember to stock up on some Kenya teabags at home. And round up some of the worthiest people in the vicinity for one of those all-night debates. The weather'll have cleared by the next morning.

Sanket and Salil - Actually I'm a little chary of putting up too much personal matter on my blog, even if some of it is amusing. After all, this is supposed to be a literary blog devoted to other writers. You'll just have to put up with the other boring stuff, which I'm going to return to very soon. But okay, I'll put something up from England.

Masd, Pratyush, Aishwarya, Equivocal and Amar, I'm touched by your concern. And nearly back to good health now.

underwear buddy said...

If I would have known reading my script has this effect on people I would have never given it to you...or maybe you didn't read it and see what happened...one more thing you would have missed out on.

PS : I was in the grave like machine for over three and a half hours with a robotic voice asking me whether I felt any discomfort and then admonishing me for speaking a word or trying to move my limbs.

amit varma said...

Er, I have Dravid's number too...

Anirudh said...

Heh! Heh! Heh! Some lovely sentences in this post.

Since so many people have already wished you well, I won't wish you a speedy recovery.

I am reading all the old posts on lit. so I am not eagerly awaiting the new ones and since you seem to be funny when you're sick...