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The Husband Test

husband_testI missed writing the blog last week! This was not due to any laziness or any other lame reason, but rather due to the fact that I was laid up in bed with what some call “Delhi Belly.” In other words, I was sick in my Indian bed with a bacterial infection of the intestine.

Yes, I fell ill in my beloved India. On my fourth day there after sipping some questionable masala chai at a local Rishikesh hangout, I made a rush exit back to my hotel bathroom. I had been so proud of myself from times past that I had never gotten sick in India. I chalked it up to my strong intention of: “I’m not getting sick in India!” This time I must have been resting on my laurels because I forgot to set that same intention. Yikes! That was not good planning.

A trip that was meant to be a sacred and romantic trip with my husband-to-be turned more into what he and I now laughingly refer to as “the husband test.” He was surely put to the test as I writhed in pain, cried in fear, felt my temperature rise higher and higher and generally just lost it. He was calm, level-headed, wise, compassionate, loving and nurturing. He sought out the medical care I needed and watched over me every step of the way. He for sure passed the test – and in a way beyond what I could have ever imagined.

We began to look at the figures of belly illnesses in India and found out that 1,000 Indian children die of diarrhoeal sickness EVERY DAY. According to The Economist, four miles downstream from where the Ganges River enters the sacred city of Varanasi where 60,000 people bathe and wash their clothing, the concentration of faecal coliform bacteria is 3,000 times more than is considered safe for bathing!  Additionally we learned that an estimated 700 million Indians (out of its 1.1 billion citizens) have no access to a proper toilet!! Suffice it to say that India, by Western standards, is very dirty.

So, as I lay there in my bed in an unheated room with grand cramps and a whipping wind knocking something very loud and thumping around on our rooftop, I cried out, “remind me next time I say I want to come to India, not to come!”

It is ten days later and I have just returned to the US. I am slightly tired, but am recovering nicely from my illness and feel for the most part – healthy. Once I was able to sit up, stand and walk, our last couple of days in India were filled with great surprises, fun and adventure – enough to leave India with a good feeling.

I wonder now…will this bout of bacterial illness really stop me from traveling to India, and for that matter, to other developing countries? I have certainly gotten sick in other developing countries before and later found my way back. I also wonder…does it really make a difference if I set a clear intention of not getting sick?…and do these bouts of getting sick have a deeper purpose –  in this case – “the husband test?”

What about you? Have you had some traveler-getting-sick experiences and how have they affected you?


Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder ofLotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.

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17 Responses to The Husband Test

  1. Cecily January 9, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    oh, my dear dear friend. ouch. you had a terrible tummy oweee. and a terrific husband. i love you cec

  2. Chris King January 9, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    So glad you are okay and your fiancee passed the hubby test!

  3. Connie January 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    glad to hear you’re feeling better, Tabs. What a great learning.

    I did have an experience last year. I got sick on my first day in Kenya. I’m sure I picked something up on the plane or during my 9 hr layover at Heathrow, but I was terrified my dream trip of safari and adventure would be ruined. While in Nairobi before setting out on safari, I was staying at the Windsor Golf Resort and the nurse there – a fabulous man named Nduati – came to my rescue. He examined me and “sent me to my room”. In less than an hour, he returned with some prescriptions. Of course, I was a bit concerned . . . new country, no idea what was being prescribed. But it was either that or give up the ghost as they say. So I took what Nduati prescribed – as prescribed – and rested. He checked on me frequently and tenderly, visiting my room, making sure I had everything I needed and was feeling better. I went from feeling “near death” to CURED in 36-48 hours – just in time to set out for safari. Nduati is actually the most tender, compassionate, caring and EFFECTIVE health practitioners I’ve ever come across – anywhere. Thanks for the opportunity to publicly praise him.

    • Tabby Biddle January 10, 2009 at 12:27 am #

      What a beautiful story Connie! You have inspired me to publicly praise the wonderful doctor who took care of me. His name is Dr. Sree and he works at Ananda in the Himalayas — about 18K north of Rishikesh. He visited me several times a day and prescribed multiple medications — which Lee was familiar with — and also looked up online just to check for side effects. I have never experienced such attentive and wise medical care. I hear you on how blown away you were by Nduati — how tender, compassionate, caring and effective he was. Sadly, I think our healthcare practitioners are overworked and not trained in a way to utilize their natural compassion and care — and so we end up with a feeling a not really be cared for in a real “human” way in our country. I might be over-generalizing a bit and probably offending or alienating some healthcare providers — but I truly feel that there is something missing in the overall way our healthcare system is set up. Thanks for sharing Connie about your experience in Kenya.
      Much love and happy new year,

  4. Bita January 9, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    My dear Tabby,
    I am sorry that you got sick on your honeymoon but I am glad that you got over it and live to write about it with a great sense of humor. I am happy also that your husband proved to be a keeper.
    I have a very sensetive stomach and on many occasions I got sick for the duration of the trip but that didn’t stop me from traveling. It is hard to know what to eat and not to specially when the food or drink is not something we used to. Hey, you are a trooper, Tabby. And, I hope you stay healthy for the duration of 2009.

    • Tabby Biddle January 10, 2009 at 12:29 am #

      Thanks Bita!
      Happy New Year to you!!!

  5. Katharine Merriman January 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    I hope you are feeling better! You poor thing – very scary!
    How was the ceremony?
    Big Hugs – will try you this weekend

    • Tabby Biddle January 9, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

      Although I was sick, somehow I found the strength on the day of the ceremony to perk up and enjoy the experience. It was gorgeous! I will send you pictures for a flavor of it.


  6. Minta Mullins January 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    Hi Tabby,

    Wow. That is a rough trip. I really appreciate your honesty, and ability to see the good in the situation. I’m so happy to hear you are feeling better – that must have been very frightening and obviously painful.

    To a lesser extent, we had a similar experience at our wedding. We got married in Mexico, and I, like you, had never gotten sick from my many visits to Mexico. To make along story short, we like to joke that we gave our wedding party Montezuma’s Revenge as a wedding gift. Almost our entire wedding party got sick, though not to your extent (fever, etc.). The good thing, though, was that is made us all close and provided alot of humor for us all. Nothing like having to sprint to the bathroom in the middle of conversation to bring you closer together!!

    Be well and congratulations on your marriage!


    • Tabby Biddle January 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

      Oh my God Minta! I did not know that about your wedding!! I am so glad that you found some humor and the gift of more intimacy from the experience. It is quite an experience!
      Thank you for sharing about it. Hopefully this won’t happen to too many other people — but if so, maybe they’ll be able to find some positive in it as we did. 🙂
      Looking forward to catching up,

  7. Lindsay Frame January 9, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Thank you you for “Husband Test”.
    Such a blessing that you have recognized the illness through the eyes of the mystery, if initally in humor (and what a joyful way to process the madness of the human condition.) A blessing indeed that you had the opportunity to receive a new form of love from your beloved; that you were called to surrender entirely, physically, psychically, spiritually on the sacred land that calls you and be held by the Divine Masculine. A blessing that you had the opportunity to recognize the children and people of India and those that are calling for a purer relationship to their environment, to their bodies, to one another, to the world. What a blessing that you have shared this important issue with us. What you endured was for all of us. Our eyes have been opened a little wider. For that I thank you. And what a blessing to recognize the cleansing, the
    purification, the powerful release that has taken place just as you embark on a new chapter with your beloved, a new chapter with yourself (and your Self;)
    Bacteria are divinely activated little beings. When looking through the eyes of the mystery I see that they have only come here to serve and be Love. Just like everything else. Hee hee. Much love to you, Goddess. And Happy New Year!!

    • Tabby Biddle January 9, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

      Wow Lindsay!
      This is so powerful and wonderful. Thank you for your perspective!! It rung very true to me. Thank you for opening my lense to see a little further. You are right — it was a
      grand blessing to be held by the Divine Masculine. I really was forced to surrender physically, psychically, and spiritually. I figured there was some grand lesson in that. Thank you for reminding me that love is all around us — even in those creepy critter
      bacteria. 😉

      Wishing you so much happiness and prosperity in this new year!!!
      Thanks for writing!
      Much love,

  8. Amy Swift January 9, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    Hi Tabby
    I have been reading your great blogs- – so wonderful. Love the Dehli Belly! Oy,
    that sounds miserable.

    Regarding negative blog feedback or negative feedback in general, it’s tough.
    As someone who leads so many seminars, events, etc, I get one of those now
    and then and probably takes 10 nice comments to bring me back upright. I just
    put so much work into things and then poof it can disappear with one person’s
    frustration/disappointment, etc. Here are my mantra’s / rules for this type of thing:

    1 – Consider the source. Everyone has “wounds” to some degree and sometimes you
    hit a nerve for someone and they can’t help themselves, they just react. So while
    I always try to “hear” people totally and completely, I also think you have to think
    about what “hex” they might be under (money, sex, whatever.)

    2 – All feedback is useful. In the blogging world, the fact that you made waves
    is a good thing! Its all about being provocative. So you did good, sister.

    3 – Grow teflon. I try to let certain things roll off my back because if I intuit
    then I’ll be a mess. I am a leader and have to make certain decisions that aren’t
    always understood by all….that’s the task of leadership and you are a leader too.
    No one said everyday was easy.

    Anyway thanks so much for your great blogs and for sharing your heart.
    Always love reading them.

    xx A

  9. Tabby Biddle January 9, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Hi Amy!

    This is so wonderful and powerful. Thank you for sharing all that you did. I admire your leadership so much and feel very grateful that I received this sage advice from you. It was really a treat to read your words. Thank you.

    Wishing you many beautiful things for your new year.
    I hope that you, your baby and your husband are healthy and happy and may you all prosper throughout the year.

  10. Rookie Komitor January 10, 2009 at 12:25 am #

    Namaste..dear bride..what a wonderful place to be married….mother India is right…Delhi belly is awful ..having experienced it myself the middle of November…this too passes like the flow of the Ganges..now you and your beloved have many many more years of bliss to look forward to….I wish you peace..love and laughter in your lives as one soul….

  11. Carol January 13, 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    I love your blog.

  12. Tabby Biddle January 13, 2009 at 11:54 pm #

    Thank you so much for your great wishes Rookie!
    I am sorry to hear you went through Delhi Belly too!!

    I wish you many great things in the New Year.
    Keep in touch,

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