To Die or Not to Die, That is the Question

I am a hypochondriac. Shocking, I know. I am also very stubborn. So, you can imagine my horror as I lie on the Muslim prayer room floor of a small hotel in the middle of the Omani desert  suffering from fever, swelling brain, and increasingly scary aches and pains. Hours earlier I’d been diagnosed with Typhoid fever. I’d been miserable all day, went to a pharmacy, saw a doctor and he immediately diagnosed Typhoid. As it turns out, I’d had it for weeks and didn’t know. So, as I lay in the most miserable condition I’ve ever experienced, I was forced to make a decision: die or not die. It sounds severe, but for someone like me it felt like that’s the decision I had to make. I was in a country where I knew no one and wasn’t really keen on dying in the desert of Oman.

My body was failing me. I had high fever, bones aching, and a headache so severe I couldn’t move without searing pain. Nausea, no appetite, anxiety attacks, I was terrified. Convinced that the toxic bacteria causing swelling on my brain and spinal cord would kill me, I wondered if the release death would be the only way ease the pain.

On the other hand, dying in Oman be really inconvenient for my family: the Orioles are in the playoffs for the first time in years, but I also didn’t want their first trek to a Middle Eastern country to be one in which they have to retrieve their daughter’s body. Not an option. Second, if I am going to die from fever, I’d really not like to be on the floor of a Muslim prayer room. I’d rather die on the beach in Bali or something. Third, my friends spent a lot of money on this trip and I didn’t want to ruin their vacation by dying. That’s not what good friends do.

So, with the help of my two travel companions, I loaded my body with oral rehydration salts and ibuprofen, stayed in one place for 36 hours, and asked for hugs and prayers from my friends. I made the decision not to die. And I’m really glad I did. Upon our return to Mumbai I was taken directly to hospital, where I spend 4 restful days on an IV drip, then home to my sweet-cozy apartment for another 5 days of rest. I went to school today for the first time in 15 days and felt so much better. My kids gave me big hugs and smiles. As miserable as I was, I am thankful for my recovery and I know that my hypochondria may have saved my life last weekend. Had I not gone to the doctor in Oman, I may be a lot worse off than I am today.

The trip wasn’t totally a bust. I got to see a sinkhole and a pretty beach. And green sea turtles! The photos I am including are mostly Debbie’s. She and I share a love for sea turtles so she got herself up before dawn and went to snap some pictures. I am so thankful for Fenalla, Karen, and Debbie. They made me believe I would be ok. They are my guardian angels!

3 thoughts on “To Die or Not to Die, That is the Question

  1. Andrea, OMG. We had no idea that you were ill until Chuck looked at your Facebook page and you were saying something about being sick. I can only imagine the pain and the fear that you experienced. I’m so so glad that you are doing better and are back in your own apt. and back in school. Please don’t overdo. I’m sure it takes quite a while for your body to recoup from this illness. Sending you prayers and hugs.

  2. Glad you made the right choice Andrea and I enjoyed your account. You know there is quite the typhoid support group at ASB now. Nasty, nasty headaches! It’s a great way to shed a few pounds anyway.

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