Notes From Hairenik
August 18, 2005
For the last 15 days or so I have been battling on and off a malady that I have never before endured. The symptoms were high temperature, pain in the neck, mild to extreme headache as well as body ache, dizziness, slight nausea, and sensitivity to brightness. The frightening thing is many of these symptoms are similar to those of meningitis as I read in the Internet. Fortunately in my case, it was only the fever.

The fever started quite suddenly on Friday night, August 5, when at home. I was sitting in bed and suddenly noticed there was a change occurring inside me, and I instictly felt the need to lie down. That evening I went to the bathroom about five times and thus I slept little. In the morning I was dehydrated but after chugging a liter-size bottle of spring water I recovered slightly for our early afternoon trip to Vanadzor. By the time we reached Dilijan I was nearly ready for bed.

That weekend I spent in a horizontal position, barely able to sleep. For food I ate some bread and butter, if I could manage to stomach it, as well as raspberry preserves, as supposedly raspberries are good for fever reduction. Yogurt was also allowed for me to eat, according to my soon-to-be mother-in-law, as it also is a natural fever reducer.

Late Saturday evening I endured the worst pain ever in my life, during which time I thought my eyes would shoot out of their sockets at mach speed from all the pressure building up in my head. I experienced some of the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. My temperature was high but it was not taken at that point (later it was registered to be about 38.5 degrees C, but that evening it must have been higher). My forehead felt as though it would simply explode. The pressure pounded against my eardrums and behind my eyes, so that I was extra sensitive to light. My entire body ached, the slightest touch to my skin was unbearable. It was extremely painful to move even an inch. The only relief at my immediate disposal was to sweat profusely.

After three days of continuous sweating under two heavy homemade wool blankets (basically comprising shredded and stretched clumps of wool inserted into a body-length cotton casing), promoted by drinking several cups of hot tea and some tea-like medicide called Fervex (which I do not recommend as it does nothing) as well as cheap Russian aspirin, I was finally able to get out of bed and thus back to Yerevan on Tuesday morning, August 9.

The fever it turns out did not completely subside but rather went into a dormant-like state. It emerged again in true force after a swim the following weekend at Lake Sevan. I went into the water twice as it was fabulous, the water was warm and exceptionally clean on the beach we picked. That evening, however, the pressure built up yet again and I was confined to bed for an additional two days, but luckily the intense head pains did not return. This time Ariga managed to find Bayer aspirin as opposed to the cheap Russian stuff, which reduced my pain and helped me to sweat.

We were able to find a doctor that my work manager recommended who came to the apartment, and she declared that I did not have any kind of virus (as I feared) but simply a bout of fever. She recommended that I take more aspirin, some antibiotics, and drink plenty of liquids (the standard remedies for fevers I presume) as well as eat yoghurt.

In any case, the fever seems to have been put down. If you happen to contract a fever in the future, I recommend eating as much yoghurt as humanly possible. It definitely works.

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