Self Portrait Photography

“I miss you Ilan,” read the WhatsApp message from mom. I was in Mumbai at the time, having just completed a three-week tour in Rajasthan. The plan was to spend another five weeks in India: “1.4 billion Indians cannot make a mistake.” My return flight to Auckland by Air Malaysia had just been rescheduled. Given their reputation for being shot down by ground-to-air rockets over Ukraine or disappearing into the ocean, I opted to cancel the flight without penalty.
I booked a (costly) one-way ticket to Tel Aviv and planned to enjoy my last week in Mumbai (Bombay is more bombastic). Unfortunately, I started sneezing and coughing, so spent the last four days in my half-star hotel room which had no windows. The upside: it was isolated from the non-stop cacophony of the busy street, “in India, if you don’t honk your horn then you don’t exist.” The downside: no fresh air through the air conditioner, whose filters were never cleaned…
I arrived in Israel exhausted. WHO [World Health Organization] is considering an award for spreading a new variant across three continents in less than 12 hours. I was coughing constantly and struggled to breathe. Desperate, I searched for a local health provider with good reviews and arrived at Rambam Medical Centre at 2:30 am, managing to scratch my black rental against a concrete column (in a totally vacant car park).
The emergency room staff looked in disbelief, “Is this the time to come to emergency?” “I can’t inhale.” I said, trying to be dramatic…
After checking my oxygen saturation levels, I was immediately given an inhalation mask and an IV, which is obviously a priceless opportunity for a selfie! I spent the next 30 hours harassing the wonderful staff, 261 members are still following me on Instagram (I think). The prognosis was “some kind of viral infarction.” Apparently, there are numerous types in the world (the doctors were very keen to know if I had spent any time in Indian caves)…
A permanent black marker covered the scratches beautifully!

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