Kovalam Beach, India in 2013. 2 weeks post giardia. Robust me, compared to 2 weeks prior.


How I Nearly Died in India (Or Won Gollum Tryouts)


In kicking off my series of exploring all 27 Of My Netflix Worthy Travel Experiences  I wanted to welcome you to a colorful, wild, funny and yes, sometimes death defying journey through my world travels.


I will create a page for the next 27 weeks delving into these wild and wacky experiences in greater detail.


Today I will share a terribly thinning tale from my travels: when I lost nearly 20 pounds in a few weeks and almost died in India.


The Warning Signs


Sleepily, groggily, I roused myself from the bed in Bangalore. Kelli and I were due for a bus ride to Aleppey. Then a trip to Muhamma.


I felt under the weather for a day. But on waking I felt even worse.


I shuffled into a tuk tuk. Passed out. Then hustled onto the overnight bus.


When we arrived to Cochin I vividly recall a wave of intense, horrific nausea overtaking my body. Like the Alien (movie version) crawled into my being and eviscerated me, inside-out, my organs grinded like a monkey was playing ’em.


Sweat poured from my brow. Bile sprinted up my throat. After 1 minute, the feeling passed. But sick seedlings had been planted.


We bus to Muhamma. For me, the belly of the beast. Shit went South. Literally. Because I ceased pooping. But I did alternate between constipation and jet-like, water masquerading as diarrhea.


Check out that waif model jawline.


My appetite died. I began spending days in bed. 1 day. Felt sick. 2 days. Felt more sick. 3 days. Still no eating, and I barely took in water.


Being a dingbat, I shooed away Kelli’s worries. Delhi Belly. Common travel bug. No biggie. But then day 3 and 4 and 4 passed. Still no eating. Jet-like diarrhea. Weight loss accelerating.


My toilet looked like a Jackson Pollack painting. My mind felt the same way. Cheeks becoming sunken. 3rd ab showing (woohoo!). Back beginning to become bony.


My days; I’d do some work in bed, sleep, watch TV, and try to keep my vomit down when Kelli feasted on curry-laden foods. I love curry. But not when nauseous.


My bouts of nausea increased each day. Prolonged suffering set in. Real, genuine misery, and pain, as the days grew and my weight dropped.


I would have won any tryout for the role of Gollum on screen or stage. Hands down.


After 9 days I could barely get out of bed. I had to go to the hospital. No eating in over a week. I drank sips of water before becoming overrun with nausea.


I slunk into the tuk tuk with Kelli and the homeowner, who was an amazing doll of a man, a kindly soul.


After the bumpiest ride of my life – my stomach churning like the Mighty Pacific during a category 5 typhoon – we arrive at the hospital. I felt like pure shit. In a daze. Ready to puke or piss-shit (water) myself at any moment.



The nurses look me over. It was 11:45 PM. I show the doctor my rock-hard, pregnant-looking, distended, Alien-Living-In-Here belly. He suggests Indian Pepto Bismal. I almost cried. I tell him no, this is beyond indigestion. I am deathly ill here, really dangerously dehydrated. He dismisses me.


5 minutes later we are tuk tuk-ing back to the rice fields, me feeling worse, choking down a nauseating Pepto milky, pink solution.


10 minutes after we get home I violently puke all Pepto into the toilet.


I am tapped out. Nothing left. Because a few hours later my weak, paralyzing, dry heaves and complete exhaustion, crawling to the bowl, show I am in a serious place.


In November 2013 I tried out for the part of Gollum. How did I do? Picture taken from Muhamma, India…..

At 4 AM I wake up after 2 hours of agony. I whisper to Kelli that I needed to go to the emergency room. Immediately.


She and the homeowner carry me out like a rag doll, dragging me to the tuk tuk. The thought “I am dying”, crawled through my mind. I turned it over a few times. I was terrified but the prospect of meeting the Big Dawg in the Sky seemed appealing too. Relieving.


But no! There were blog posts to write. Brands to build. Money to be made off of this story (Joking….half-joking…OK those were lean times….literally, figuratively….well before Blogging From Paradise).


We flew into the hospital parking lot. I looked up, using my last few ounces of strength, to see Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Royalty money funded this remote hospital. Good. So maybe I wouldn’t be Rye Die.


Anyway, I shuffled inside, being bolstered by my handlers. I laid down on the floor in the waiting room.


Moved into a wheel chair. Staring around, room hazy, wondering why so many Indian nurses in New Jersey oh no wait. I was in India. Mind racing back. Cursing curry. Loving curry. Mixed-reviews. Looking at Alien in stomach (Movie version, old version).


The doctor in the emergency room tells me my pulse was feeble. I am dangerously dehydrated. I lost nearly 20 pounds in 10 days.


This was me *AFTER* gaining 3-5 pounds of fluids at the hospital:


This was AFTER a trip to the emergency room and GAINING 3 to 5 pounds in Muhamma, India.


The doctor gets me on fluids. I start the slow road to recovery.


Next week in Kovalam Beach I am still having liquid diarrhea and have zero appetite, forcing down bites. I wound taking antibiotics 20 times stronger than its counterpart in the US. Kicked my ass for 1 night. But I felt better the next day.


1 month after the first nightmarish night in Muhamma, I was largely recovered.


But I will never forget when I became a Rag Doll Gollum in India.


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