I’m not at the dayjob this week. A few days off, sitting at home, finishing up some long overdue writing stuff, and starting some new. I had it all worked out, including a daily blog on various acts of writing, running, and living.
The on Friday, my daughter exploded. Multiple orifices were involved. There was mopping, in the aftermath. A long few days followed, during which she couldn’t eat, and could barely drink. Come Monday morning she was a sort of grey colour, I could see her ribs and spine through her skin, and she was weak as a kitten.
Not a playful, lively kitten, mind. One of those wet ones, that’s just lying there with its chest heaving at the side of the road, and makes you call the RSPCA.
It’s a severe bout of gastroenteritis, the dreaded Delhi belly, and watching Eva’s decline over four days through dehydration alone was an educational experience. While she was never in any real danger – we have access to excellent care, medication, and advice – it makes sense of some alarming numbers. In India, 1600 people will die today (of which many more will be children than adults), and diarrhea will be the sole reason. The cause of the diarrhea is very likely going to be exactly the same thing that’s floored Eva, but whatever the cause, it’s the resultant dehydration that kills.
1600 is a big number. Tomorrow, another 1600 will die. That means that before Eva’s back at school on Friday, there will be more people dead in India, because of diarrhea, than died at the World Trade Centre when planes flew into it. The WTC death toll changed the world. The dehydration deaths, easily avoided through education, access to safe water, and cheap rehydration solutions (water, salt, sugar), keep mounting. This time next year, more than half a million people alive in India today will be dead, because of what Eva’s just been easily cured of. That’s the entire population of Glasgow, give or take. It would take a decade for that kind of mortality rate to slaughter everybody in Scotland, if we took it off India’s hands.
Of course, it would never be allowed to happen in Scotland, especially considering how cheaply and simply it can be resolved.
That says more about the state of the world, and the hierarchy of the people in it, than I can bear thinking about for too long. It’s an incredibly ugly thing to have to understand.
I may come back to this in the near future.
For now Eva’s on the mend, though still at home, and I might yet be able to salvage something from this week.