It feels like a long time ago since I felt happy. Really carelessly happy, about nothing in particular - the best kind of happy. It’s been so long, that I can’t really remember it. I mean my body can’t remember it.
It has also been weeks since the temperatures have been around 100F, with the unrelenting sun beating down from morning till night, with the occasional sweetness of rain as reprieve from its intensity. Knowing that this is only the beginning of summer, doesn’t help. There is no escape from the heat, not the air conditioned mall or movie theater, nor the breezy beach. Only turning on the wall mounted air conditioning units around our house cools of certain rooms.
It has been a long time since I felt well. Reliably, well. For weeks I have been like a slug: thick, slow and sad. The inside of my head feels hot and heavy. Sometimes there is a sharp pain behind my eyes. I’ve had fevers and chills and night sweats and cramps and bloody noses.
So many things in Pakistan have been so unfamiliar and so jarring, that even these symptoms I took as par for the course. When hearing my health woes people would even say “I felt like that the first six months I was here”. “Really?” I’d feel the urge to ask “because that sounds pathological!” I mean why do that to your self? For so long? For what? Because Pakistan needs you? Or because you need Pakistan? In the short amount of time I’ve been here, it has been very hard to understand people’s motives for being here. To help? To have a story to tell? To use their skills where they are needed? To have something to do? To have a Pakistan on their resume? To have a job? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes to all of the above. All legitimate and valid reasons. But put up with six months of illness for any of them? That’s pathological.
I just want to be better. That is all my sluggy brain can manage to wish for. I want to feel better. I want to feel well. I want to feel healthy again and remind myself again what it’s like to feel good.
I think I am on my way. A second round of testing of blood, urine, stool, and an ultrasound finally showed that I have typhoid fever. Though we suspected it, first blood and urine came back negative so we feared it might be something weirder. After first course of antibiotics I still had 102 fever, still the night sweats, cramping and chills. The typhoid diagnosis brought a relief of sorts - knowing what it is, that it is treatable and a specific antibiotic for it, all made me feel good. But still, it has been weeks since I’ve been well, since I’ve been happy and in that time feeling like a slug has worn on me.
It seems like it might take a while to slither my way out.