Ok, so Siggy has been suspecting for a few days now that she has bed bugs… Not good!  We looked under her covers, I said, “You can see them, so if they’re there we’ll know.” Yes, I remember seeing the Dateline special on the bed bug epidemic, so I must know what I’m talking about… We continued to look and didn’t see anything suspicious…

I go off to my room to bed and am just drifting off to sleep when I hear her frantic voice outside my door, “Eryn, Eryn, I have whelps on my legs, I have bed bugs, I have bed bugs.”  Ohhh shit!  I jump out of bed to let her in…  It’s late at night and we contemplate her sleeping in my room, but decide against it because she probably has them on her clothes and she would certainly infect me and my room… We talk about sleeping out in the courtyard with our blankets and yoga mats, but we can’t trust that the monkeys won’t come get us.  They are never too far away…

Siggy decides to strip her bed, mattress and all, and put her yoga mat on the bed platform and sleep there… Geez, I’ve been spending so much time with her, the likelihood that I’m infected is high… Not good… I get back into bed and try to fall back asleep…  It’s not long, and I hear Siggy at my door again, “Eryn, I just can’t sleep in there, can I sleep in your room?” Awe poor Siggy… “Of course.  Come on in honey…”

After her shower, she changes clothes into the one new garment she purchased earlier that day and we roll out my yoga mat on the floor next to my bed and I give her one of my blankets…  I tell her, “We’ll figure it all out in the morning…”  We turn out the lights and laugh like teenagers about bed bugs and all of the other things that are SO India, until we finally fall asleep…

The morning bell rings on schedule at 4:45 and I get up to use the restroom… Huh, my tummy feels kinda funny… Ummm feels like I might throw up… Nahhh  I get back into bed.  We decided with the late night, bed bug fiasco, we would give ourselves the morning to sleep in… Yay!!  I’m in bed for only a few seconds…. “Sig, I think I’m gonna hurl!” No way I’m stickin my head anywhere near that toilet!  Get to the door fast!!  I run outside to the courtyard and the throwing up commences… Lovely… Siggy comes out to check on me…  

With my little weak body, I crawl back into bed and try to go back to sleep… WTF was that from???? I drift back off to sleep… Before I know it, the breakfast bell is ringing at 8:00 and I sit up to see if Siggy is awake and if she wants to go to breakfast or not..  Must stay in bed… must stay in bed…  Siggy decides to go to breakfast and I lay there with my tummy aching, recounting everything I had eaten outside the ashram, trying to figure out what had made me so sick… Oh, no, oh no, here we go again… Must make it to the courtyard…Go…. Go!! Siggy comes back from breakfast and finds me sitting on the cool patio floor all crunched up in a little ball having been sick again…

She tried to comfort me the best she could, asking if I needed anything… Before long, Jürgen and Carlos are also over to check on me…  Carlos runs back to his room to fetch something for my tummy.  He returns with crackers and some charcoal tablets which I take. Not ready for crackers yet…  Venkat comes over to see what’s wrong and he runs off and comes back with a special leaf from a local tree and tears a small corner off for me to eat. Hmmm what is this “special” leaf you’ve brought me?  Is it safe?  Any problems with mixing it with the charcoal tablets?  Oh, what the hell, Siggy is here if something major happens, and you’re already sick – down the hatch you go with the special leaf…

As we sit on the patio, the ashram management comes over to talk to Siggy about changing rooms and her bed bug situation.  We think Siggy brought them from Mayapur where she visited before coming to Rishiskesh.  Hopefully they are not floating around the ashram rooms!! The management asks what’s wrong with me and I try to explain and motion that I have been throwing up, and I’m going to go back to bed…  I pull myself up from the floor and make my way back into my room.  Too much commotion out here, back to bed you go, Eryn!!  I leave Siggy to work with them to switch rooms and she’ll have to thoroughly wash all her laundry.  Fingers crossed this washing actually eradicates them… She could continue to move them around…  Dateline warned you’d probably have to throw away all clothes, mattresses, etc…. Grrr….

I’m sleeping soundly in my bed and an old man knocks on my door… “Hello, hello.” I hear in his Indian accent.  I pull myself out of bed to go answer the door.  “Miss, you sick?  You sick?” the man says. “Yes, I was throwing up earlier, but I think I’m ok now.” I explain.  He continues, “You puking?  You puking? What you take? What you take?” I tell him I took some charcoal tablets and a bite of a leaf.  “No, no, never take on empty stomach… never take on empty stomach.  I be back.” Yes, yes, you go away now and leave me alone so I can get back into my little cocoon bed. I hear poor Siggy outside washing feverishly all of her belongings and she’s now moved into the room right next to me. I feel terrible that I can’t help her with the extensive process of debugging all of her belongings, but I can hardly stand up straight – much less do anything productive.

After a while, it’s maybe 10:30 in the morning now, the Indian man arrives again and is knocking at my door… “Miss, miss, excuse me…  Here, put in water – drink.  Not fast… sip… sip.  Small sips to finish by 12:00.”  He shows me very specifically on my water bottle, which line to fill the water to. “Yes, entire packet inside.”  He says…. “Ok, ok, thank you very much – I drink, I drink.”  I am very thankful that he is trying so hard to help me, but at this stage, I don’t seem to be getting sick anymore, I’m only weak and need to rest.

I fall back asleep and try to wake myself up regularly to sip… sip… Around 12:30 the old man is back at my door.  “I have kitchen make you kitcheri, you eat, then we take hospital.” Whaaat whaaaatttt, hospital? “No hospital” I exclaim! “Only tired, need rest, need rest.” I try to explain to the man.  He continues, “I be back soon kitcheri.”  This is a food they feed you for stomach ailments – I have heard of this before. “Thank you for kitcheri, but no hospital, no hospital!!” I plead…  He walks away from my room.  I am certain that he is not listening to my, no hospital request.  I get back in bed feeling panicky about the possibility of being forced to go to the hospital.  The management here can be very demanding… Indian hospital – you’re more likely to catch something there, than to cure something! They can’t make you go, they can’t make you go…. But you’re too weak to properly fight this battle… They hardly understand a word you’re saying… Eryn, you need backup!          

I convince myself to muster up the energy to go find someone to be my advocate.  Siggy left me a note that she went to the Buddha café, so I trek up the hill a bit to see if Jürgen or Carlos are around… Yes, that Carlos will tell them who’s boss! I knock on their doors, but they’re not there… Oh, crap…  I walk back the long way to see if I run into anyone else and I see George (the structural engineer) sitting on his patio. YES!!! Oh, thank God, George…. George will help me!! I walk over to George and try to explain as quickly as I can what has been going on. (There is still a slight language barrier between he and I, so sometimes conversation is challenging)  I ask him if he minds coming over and sitting on my patio until the Indian fellow returns to help explain.  He follows me back to my room.  “Oh, thank you, thank you George.”

I lock myself in my room with only my window open so I can see/hear what’s happening and can talk to George.  This is a childish fear Eryn, there’s no need to lock yourself in your room, they can’t make you go… It’s not long before the Indian man returns and I hear him through my window. “Miss, miss, car ready… Take hospital.” Car ready, say whaaat???? George jumps in and explains to him that I am better now, just need rest… Yes, rest, that’s all I need, please people, for the love of God, I just need to sleep!!!  Don’t take me away!!! George continues to politely dispute with the Indian fellow. I peak my head through the window to interject that I am really ok and just need to sleep… I see the car waiting for me on the service road just outside my courtyard.  Oh, shit, the car is really here!! You can’t make me go, you can’t make me go!!!!

George follows them to the office to discuss further, yes, George will handle this, and after a while, he returnsto explain that they feel very strongly that I need to go to the hospital.  There are no medical facilities here at the ashram and if something were to get worse during the night there is no one here to help me. They would require George to take responsibility for me and was I sure that I was ok… “Yes, yes, George, I’m sure… I just caught something from the outside and threw up a few times… I’m not even getting sick anymore, I just need to rest and recover…. I promise, I’m really ok.”  George returns to the office to reason with them…

I lay there in my bed, childish fears returning, feeling helpless and alone. I get myself all worked up and start crying… What are you 7 Eryn? Get a hold of yourself!! But I can’t go to the hospital without Siggy… What if George can’t persuade them? What if they make me go… No, no, I won’t go… I’ll keep myself locked in here!!! What the hell am I doing in India anyway? I want to go home…

After a while, George returns and tells me he’s taken responsibility for me and that they are sending the car away.  Siggy walks up shortly thereafter, back from the café, and George fills her in on all the ashram drama of the day.  Relieved and exhausted, I thank George profusely and give Siggy a big hug and fall back into me bed.  George asks if he should stay at my room longer, I tell him, no, I think it’s ok now.  Now I can sleep… Siggy is here in the room right next to me, she’ll make sure I’m ok.

I pull my prayer flag from the wall and put it under the covers with me and hug it tightly, wishing I was home with all my lovelies… I drift off to sleep… and sleep… and sleep… and sleep…

By the way – this was 2 days ago now that all this happened… I woke up the next morning feeling much better…  No tummy issues and I’m back to normal again… No need to worry everyone… Oh, and I think I have figured out how to video blog, so hopefully I will be coming to you via video as well :)… xo everyone

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