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September 23rd, 2009
10:14 AM ET

Dr. Gupta: I went to Afghanistan and all I got was H1N1

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

It started as a cough. It wasn’t the kind of cough where something is temporarily stuck in your throat. It wasn’t the kind of cough where simply clearing your throat would’ve been adequate.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/23/art.sanjay.sick.jpg caption="Dr. Sanjay Gupta, contracted H1N1 in Afghanistan, receives treatment."]

This was the kind of cough that hurts when you do it. A stinging pain that makes you wince and guard and hope that you don’t have to cough again any time soon. I thought I might have a fever, but of course, I was in the middle of covering a war in Afghanistan, and the conditions were… well, hot.

So, maybe it was that. Problem was, the next day I wasn’t feeling any better – in fact, I was worse. I woke up in my dusty desert tent and tried to step out of my sleeping bag. Two steps later, I almost hit the deck.

Incoming. Except this wasn’t due to any sirens going off, this was due to my own body simply being unable to hold myself up. I was lightheaded and freezing cold – even though it was over 100 degrees outside at that early hour of the morning.

Watch Dr. Gupta talk about his experience Video

I was nauseated and my entire body hurt. I tried to explain away my symptoms with lots of different excuses. You don’t sleep much while covering a war. My bulletproof jacket didn’t fit perfectly and was very heavy. There was a lot of dust and dirt, and maybe I had what the Marines referred to as the Kandahar Krud. It turned out to be none of those things.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Health
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Michael Fowowe

    Speedy recovery Dr. Gupta. And by the way you are doing a great job.

    September 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm |