My Monsoon Virus Experience: Traveling Delhi to Tokyo — By Jennifer Shipp
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My Monsoon Virus Experience: Traveling Delhi to Tokyo — By Jennifer Shipp

This photo was taken while we were standing in line waiting to go through security in Delhi. I thought maybe I was delirius when I saw this guy's shirt, but then I reminded myself that I was still in India. Then, the upside down numbers made sense again.
This photo was taken while we were standing in line waiting to go through security in Delhi. I thought maybe I was delirius when I saw this guy’s shirt, but then I reminded myself that I was still in India. Then, the upside-down numbers made sense again.

Our flight from Delhi to Tokyo didn’t leave until 9:00 PM at night. We were staying at the Holiday Inn near the Airport and we had a late checkout of 3:00 PM. I got up inexplicably late that morning, around 10:00 AM, took a shower and got myself ready. I started getting a headache around noon, but I went into denial about my other symptoms until about 1:00. I opted out of lunch, though I knew we weren’t going to get to eat much for the upcoming 24 hours. I just wasn’t hungry. AT ALL. The idea of cooked rice (our lunch) was just off-putting. At 1:30, I laid down for a nap and realized that I didn’t feel quite right. Still, I denied that there was a problem.

When we got to the Delhi airport, we weren’t allowed to check in until around 5:00 PM. I was tired and achy. I felt like I’d been doing some kind of full-body isometric exercises for the past 3 days. John and Lydi kept looking at me asking if I had a fever and I kept denying it. “No…I think it’s just from all the stress. I’m fine.” But I kept falling asleep, even as I was sitting in a hard chair, my head propped up in my hands.

Around the time we were standing in the line for security, I decided that I was definitely ill. I had moments when I wasn’t sure if I’d make it through the line, I was so exhausted and achy. But I knew that if I could just get through to the other side of security, there were reclining chairs that I could find where I might be able to sleep some more.

I made it through security, somewhat dazed. Lydi carried one of my bags for me. Our gate was, of course, at the far end of the International Departures (a 20 minute walk). Normally, at the Delhi Airport, I walk laps with Lydi or John, but on this day, I found a reclining chair and fell asleep. I slept for 3 hours until right before our plane took off. Then I carried my bags to the plane, got on the plane and slept until we got to Tokyo. When we got to Tokyo, I carried my bags a short distance to a capsule hotel called 9 Hours (located at Narita International Airport) and then crawled into a capsule and slept soundly for 7 hours. Then, I showered again, picked up my bags and got in a taxi to go to our vacation rental where I then crawled back into bed and slept for another 14 hours straight. I ate only a few times over the course of those three days. Apparently, I had something called “Monsoon Virus”.

Since I first came down with a fever, about 5 days ago, I’ve been slowly sleeping a little less each

The capsule hotel ("9 Hours") at the airport in Tokyo. There aren't very many capsule hotels for women. Most are for men only. This one had both a men's only and a women's only area. It was immaculate and incredibly comfortable.
This is the 9 Hours capsule hotel at the airport in Tokyo. It was hard to find a capsule hotel for women. Most are for men only, but this one was conveniently located at Narita International Airport in Tokyo. It had both a men’s only and a women’s only area. It was immaculately clean and incredibly comfortable.

day. This morning, my appetite came back a little. I feel lucky in some respects. John and Lydi both had a hard time sleeping on the plane and in the capsule hotel. I did not. Both John and Lydi have had some difficulty sleeping on the tatami mattresses here in Japan. I have not.

Some people apparently have major stomach upsets or symptoms of a cold that go along with Monsoon Virus. It varies, I guess. John came down with an upper respiratory infection shortly after we got to Tokyo. Maybe it’s the same thing, I don’t know. While I can hardly stay awake, he can hardly get himself to sleep. And while I don’t feel like eating at all, he feels like he’s starving to death.

Back in Delhi, when I first realized that I had a fever, I worried about Dengue or Malaria, but I didn’t have any of the other symptoms of those two diseases and I’d only gotten one mosquito bite the whole time we were in India. In theory, the fever could have been Dengue, though my temperature really wasn’t high enough (with Dengue it’s usually over 102 degrees). The first time a person gets Dengue, it’s usually not that serious. People feel a little under the weather for a few days and then they bounce back. It’s the SECOND time a person contracts Dengue that they get the “break bone” achiness, high fever, delirium, rash, etc. A person who gets a high fever (over 102 degrees), diarrhea, vomiting, and other flu like symptoms that clear up abruptly but then come back again in a cyclical pattern (like every few days or every few weeks, for example) should always consider malaria as a possible diagnosis. Since malaria is a parasite, the cyclical symptoms happen as a result of the parasite reproducing. Also with malaria, people often get a high fever with chills in the evening.

And if you’re traveling in India, don’t forget about Typhoid fever if you come down with a digestive disturbance. India is the Typhoid fever capital of the world. We avoided the digestive upsets by cooking most of our food except for hot bowls of rice that we ordered at our hotel. It’s a bummer to not get to eat out, but it’s a much bigger bummer to end up with Typhoid fever or Delhi Belly.

I’d personally never heard of Monsoon Virus before, also apparently known as Viral Fever. The virus is spread via coughs or sneezes from an infected person. Some people also get a rash in addition to fever, lethargy, and headache. I never had any symptoms other than exhaustion, a lack of appetite, and a low-grade fever. I slept a lot over the course of 4 to 5 days and I’m definitely starting to feel better. I feel very lucky to have spent 4 weeks in India without any other major illnesses during that time.

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