[ Pokhara, Nepal ]
(featured image by Guntram Ochs: Mike Boman in Kot, March 2014)
From mid-February to mid-March of this year, my stateside friend Mike Boman joined me in Nepal for whatever it is that people come to Nepal to experience: relaxation, perspective, new encounters, the never-ending oddness of livestock roaming the streets of large cities unattended, you name it. (And perhaps proximity to a well-known mounain range which enjoys a certain notoriety—who can say?) The culmination of this visit was a nine-day trek to my adopted village in Bhojpur, along with three other friends. That trip went swimmingly, but Mike picked up a persistent cough somewhere along the way (who knows where), which stuck with him for the rest of the trip.
Last week—some five weeks after the fact—he emailed to let us know he’s still not feeling up to snuff; that he’s actually feeling exceptionally crappy, even, and that things don’t seem to be improving. Then, before any of us really understand what’s happening, we hear from a mutual friend that he’s been taken to the ER, non-responsive and nearly comatose. Very, very bad, obviously.
That was two days ago.
We have now learned he contracted some form of encephalitis. Seriously no bueno. His condition fluctuates, but even when he is responsive, he is nonsensically so. We have no idea if the illness is related to the original cough, if he contracted it here in Nepal (unlikely) or at home in the States (also unlikely), or if the prognosis is passably good or very bad (both are possible). All we know for certain is our friend isn’t doing well, we’re helpless to make a direct difference, we’re too far away to visit him, and we simply have to wait and see. None of those things are particularly comforting.
The only positive in all of this is that he has one of the most amazing friends imaginable by his side, helping to set his mind at ease and keeping those of us who love him in the loop (thanks J!).
In any case, those of you who know Mike, use this information as you see fit: send flowers his way, or positive energy, or prayers, or tasteless jokes involving goats and banana lassis (he likes that sort of thing, really), or whatever you feel is appropriate. But whatever you do, don’t send me any more bad news—I’ve had far more than enough of it for one week.
Be well, dammit. I insist.