Tuesday, December 15, 2015

1975 Roberta's India Letter -Dec.15

December 15, 1975
Dear Family,

Here it is December 15th and I'm still in Calcutta – you must think I like it alot here.  I'll explain the events of the last week.  On Monday I was on my way to the post office to mail your letter w/ 2 other girls.  Before I got down to the street I started feeling very sick I went back upstairs and slept most of the day.  That night the Capt. (woman in charge of hotel) came in & took my temperature – it was 103º but I was freezing cold.  Tuesday afternoon I was taken to a doctor down the street.  He told me I had a temperature (which I already knew) & to stay in bed. (which was all I felt like doing.)_  He charge me 30 Rupees which is very high as to Indian standards.

Wednesday I was no better so they took me to another Doctor.  He was much more helpful & only charged me 6 Rupees.  (Both doctors had given me medicine – the 1st cost 3 Rupees; the 2nd 8 Rupees.)

On Thursday I still had a temperature of 1043º so upon the advice of the Capt. and because I felt very sick I came to the Assembly of God Mission Hospital.  Since I've been here my temperature has gone down – in fact this morning it finally hit 98.6º  I hope to be out tomorrow.  It's a small hospital only 12 beds.  All are full.  They also operate a Doctors clinic.  The nurses, aides, etc. have been very good to me.  A doctor has come in 3 times a day to see me since I've been in.  At 1st all I ate was toast & tea but now I'm eating bland Indian food.  For the bed, meals & doctor call I'm charged 15 Rupees a day – that is $1.88!!  My medicine will be extra, it might be expensive but even so I will still come out 'cheap'!

My fever was caused by some of the greedy bugs that bit me in Puri.  The 1st thing I'm going to do before I got South is to buy a mosquito net!  Calcutta has alot of crawly bugs but none of the flying biting kind.

On Wednesday the girls at the hotel cancelled my train reservation to Bombay – which almost killed me as I had wanted to be well enough to make the trip.  I only lost about 80¢ by cancelling.

I sent my friends a telegram Thurs. morning simply saying – SICK. ARRIVAL DELAYED.  I can be very brief when I pay by the letter!

That night a telegram came back from them saying to get better fast & to fly to Bombay.  Which I had decided to do already (both get better & fly!)  It's going to cost alot more than riding the train 2nd class but it will be worth every petty.  It's a 2 hour flight.  (40 hours by TRAIN!)

The girls at the hostel have come in groups to see me – morning, afternoon & evening.  They say their school is not far from here.  I've had more company here than all the other patients put together – And I'm the only "foreigner" here.  I have flowers on my table & cards also.  It's not that I've been totally neglected!

Please do not tell anyone I've been sick.  Especially Grandma, the Hortons & Dr. Otterland.  It would give Uncle Bill & Dr. Otterland to much satisfaction; and it would just worry Grandma.

I've been in India – now over a month & have enjoyed myself – except for the last few days.  I miss some of the luxuries & conveniences I'm used to.  I get tired of washing out my clothes by hand.  Twice I sent out to be washed – both times they came back in alot worse shape.  I don't know how much longer I'll be here in India – I'll just play it by ear.  Right now I want to go to Bombay very bad.  I've told the nurse to make reservations for me on Tuesday night – I hope I can them.

Please take out a health insurance policy on me – should I come down w/some strange disease when I get back.  I'm saying this as a precaution – because I've heard of it happening some – not because I plan to be sick.

Because of the price & the benefits it would be nice to get a deal through the shop.

It should be about Christmas time by the time you get this.  I'm sorry this news has to hit you at this time.  But I assure you at Christmas I'll be in Bombay in excellent health enjoying myself.

I hope each one of you have a nice Christmas.  Serena I'm especially sorry I'll miss seeing you as I haven't seen you since ?

I know JB & Mary Va are well into it.  John you could do me a favor – put the chrome piece on the Buick.  I want to keep the car in Top Condition inside & out.  I have the feeling it will be like Ruth Shoemaker's "Chevy."

I don't think I've mentioned before but it is quite the expected to have 3, 4 or 5 power failures in Calcutta in a week's time.  Sometimes they are in the middle of the day – just for a few hours – other times it starts about 8:00 pm and lasts till early morning ª4:00-4:00 am).  The worst part of it is that the trams also stop.  They block traffic in the worst ways possible.  Horns blow – people shout at each other – it is quite a circus.  Some say the blackouts are on purpose – just to conserve energy  When they do happen you can see little fires burning up & down all the streets.  That have been 2 since I've been here (in the hospital).

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!  However you celebrate it.  Since I've been here I've been listening to Christmas Carols and there are some small decorations in the hall.  The chaplain has been very nice – he is from Vancouver, Canada.  He has sent me in books, etc.

Since the mail won't go out today I'll wait & add more later.

Also John – as the year comes to a close my thoughts turn to you and the Internal Revenue.  I trust I can count on you again this year as in years passed.

It's 8:30 AM – the Dr. was just in – I also got the news that the 1st flight to Bombay that I can get is December 20th!  So now my mind is messed up as to what to do.  As to the trains – you have to reserve in person – I might try to go 1st class – it is not at all bad.

The man across from me is dying –I didn't think he would live this long.  I get to hear all the noises & conversations as instead of doors there are curtain type doors – Red & White check material.  Also the walls between the rooms don't go all the way up – whatever happens – everyone hears it.  I'm the only young one here.  Yesterday I got up & sat out in the sun awhile – it felt so good because except when I was taken to the Drs & here I had not been outside since the following Sunday!

Right now I feel better than I've felt since I left home – I've been eating 3 square meals a day.  I get hot tea when I wake up – served in bed.  I also get it w/ crackers in the afternoon.  At night before I got to bed I get a glass of hot milk.  My temperature is still normal – they just want to "watch" me another day!

Jacy (Tracy?) and the girls are here so will mail this by them.

Man died across the way.  

More details ––

Will write you in Bombay ––


Love, Roberta

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