Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top 5: My Travel Illnesses

As I am still trying to figure out the mystery of the outbreak of leprosy that plagued my most recent travels, and sharing the stories with people here at home, I have been reminded that I collect some strange and full on illnesses in my travels. Maybe I am allergic to change? Of travel, itself? Hell no! And if so, there are drugs for that, right?

So here is a recap of the weird and memorable ailments I have collected, along with the stamps in my passports:

#1 - My DVT in 2008, upon returning from my first trip to the West Indies will surely (hopefully!!) be my enduring use of one of my nine lives because of travel. Given the travelling nature of the segments of clot, and the presence of that fleck on my lung, this ailment could well have signaled the end of my travel, and indeed all, days! A very scary one, but now I take every precaution, am very in tune with my blood circulation and comfort on long haul flights, and do all the things I need to to prevent a re-occurrence.

#2 - In Cambodia, I had Typhoid. Or was treated for Typhoid, which may well have been a SE Asia-specific bug. This experience has put me off the idea of getting every vaccination possible before heading out for a trip, rightly or wrongly, because I had a shot for Typhoid. But, as I was reminded again last week, the vacc only covers for a few popular strains of the bug, and can't really cover you for every germ you may come across of this variety in every corner of the world.

I know this was borne from the delicious breakfast fish curry I had on a morning market trip with one of the women I was working with. I knew it was a risk, but sharing that morning with her, going about her daily activities and interactions with all the stall owners, and then sitting and having a meal in among all that frantic market chaos, while buying the groceries for the shelter I was working in, was such an amazing and real experience. I wouldn't take it back in a minute. Even over those body-wracking cramps!

#3 - My current unknown allergy started at home, the week leading up to my last days of work, as I plan to set off on a big travel adventure for the next 12 to infinity months. It flared up again in Barbados, then worse than ever in Trinidad, where I went to the emergency room and got some much needed IV medications to calm it all down. The doctor in Port of Spain - St Clair Medical Clinic, who were all very good - started talking about this episodic skin issue as an allergy. Not having a bar of it, I took and filled his recommended treatment - and sure enough, needed it in Dominica.

Needed again in the USA and again upon getting home, this outbreak is getting less each time, and hopefully I have it under some control now as I am getting ready to head off again on the weekend. I was advised to keep a food diary, or recap all the things I have had consistently over these outbreaks - although across 5 countries, it seems a bit needle in a haystack to me!

#4 - I had the worst Flu I have ever had when I was in Nashville. I seriously willed death of this bad bout! Plus I was alone, on my first major trip away from home, in the employee accommodation of the hotel I was working for, and being in the USA, did not have access to the types of medicines I would usually use to fight off such a bug. I remember having a couple of days and nights, hell it could have been a week, all dosed up with whatever I could find that was an approximation to the familiar cold and flu remedies in Australia - but had surely, in a delusional state, overdosed, and was in and out of cohesion for some time! Awful!

#5 - It would be remiss of me not to include the self-induced Hangover on this list. And boy, have there been some rippers! Durban 2006 and Colombo 2004 come immediately to mind, both post-cricket series celebrations, both very large, both from drinking with Charles, and both resulting in all kinds of pain! A good hangover certainly reminds you that you're alive!

They all make for decent travel stories, I guess. I mean, I could certainly have done without all of these, especially the enduring DVT, but it's all part of the risk and trials and tribulations of travel. It's not really worth it if it all goes ridiculously perfectly!! Aliments in a strange place are all part of the journey.

What are yours, and where were they?

1 comment:

  1. I spent a very memorable (for all the wrong reasons) day in Guatemala sitting on the toilet while being eternally grateful that the size of the bathroom allowed me to throw up into the shower at the same time. Not nearly as traumatic as some of yours though!!


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