Saturday, 5 December 2009

Bolt from the Flu...

Before leaving Costa Rica for India, I decided to take my doctor dearest (the one who nursed me back to health from the throes of a super potent influenza attack) for a drink.

Doctor Danilo and I met at one of my favourite pubs - Misala - located at the Centro commercial de Pako in Escazu.
It was a rainy evening and I sat there enjoying my "Jack con Coca" while the doctor settled for a cup of Chilean White Wine.
As we sat discussing my medical situation and that of Costa Rica in general, Doctor Danilo mentioned the fact that Costa Rica had reported only 4 cases of H1N1 till date.

Now, thank god for the fact that my genetic code has blessed me with an extremely sharp memory - my brain flew back in time to the scene where I was lying on my hospital bed for the second consecutive day and I saw the scene as if it were happening all over again.
Doctor Danilo sauntered into my room for a casual check-up and he happened to think aloud: "I think you caught the H1N1 at this hospital itself. Last week, there were three cases and the third one, an obese woman who was also suffering from diabetes, died right here."

So, while he had spoken of three cases way back in time, he now he mentioned that only 4 were hitherto reported by Costa Rica to WHO.

Either I was the luckiest person alive to know the one doctor who treated 3 out of the 4 known cases of H1N1 in CR - or my genetic code had come crashing down and my memory had been reduced to a combination of dust, ashes and fumes!

My curiosity did not let me rest. On pestering Doctor Danilo, he came out with the shocking truth!

Costa Rica, like any other country, was trying to desperately underplay the actual extent to which the H1N1 had managed to penetrate its population of 4.5 million. As a matter of international pride (and in order to save the ass of it's tourism sector - given that it receives 2 million tourists per annum) the Costa Rican health department had decided to overlook H1N1 cases where the patient survives and report only those where there was a death!

Furthermore, he actually went ahead to tell me that I, as a matter of fact, was suffering from an acute case of H1N1 and not just any ordinary flu! My reports indicated a very high degree of infection and the fact that I was cured by Tamiflu and other intra-venous antibiotics, led the Health Department to issue a second report which read as follows:

Samir Kapur.
H1N1: Negative!

So here I was - I had fought the H1N1 and survived it without ever knowing it - nursing a Jack and Coke in my right hand - sweating profusely despite the cold rainy weather.

My life flashed before my eyes...