September 1, 2010

Iganga Town, Uganda

The issue with long distance sick-ing is two-fold. There is the long distance part. The idea that folks who care about you are worried and can’t do anything. They can’t bring you soup or see you to make sure you aren’t worse than you say (which when far away you might be inclined to do just a little tiny bit to alleviate worry). And of course there is the fear of the health care facilities…at least where I tend to do my long distance sick-ing.

The other issue is the things you tend to suffer from. Silly me, when I got malaria earlier this year, I just assumed everyone knew it is a mosquito borne illness endemic in large swaths of Africa, asia, and latin America.

But not in America. And so folks asked me about how I got it, was I boiling my water, could I treat it?

I realize now I should have done a better explanation, especially if I want to minimize unnecessary panic. The thing is, whereas the flu and colds and allergies, are all commonplace stateside, there are other things that are pretty common place here. And just like no one gets too worked up over the flu going around (in most cases), the same is true (in most cases) with things like malaria.

schistosomiasis, a water borne parasite that lives in your blood, is pretty common here – where lake Victoria and the nile meet. It makes you tired and if left untreated it can do liver damage among other things. But for my part, the tired part seems to be the biggest problem…at least until today…today I started treatment (and will end treatment, it is only one day). Let me just take this time out to say while I had slight malaise before, the treatment knocked me squarely on my behind and put me in the bed asleep in a way the illness didn’t.

Still…comments from friends and family were mostly in the range of, “if you were here(USA) you wouldn’t have that problem” or “you need to come home and treat that.”

While there is truth in the, “if I stayed home…” argument, there is very little in the “come home for treatment. America, the West in general, is a place to treat a lot of things, especially chronic things…but something rare on its shores and unfamiliar to its doctors? I’ll take my chances with treatment from a place where every pharmacist and most average citizens know the treatment (and often the dosage) off the tops of their heads.

this wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten sick far from home. In mozambique it was a head-breaking car accident, in Liberia a little malaria (and apparently schisto since the initial diagnosis came as a result of my check-up upon leaving Liberia), and who knows what Uganda will bring. Still…you can get sick anywhere. No one blames America for my allergies and says I should move to Uganda or brazil because of those…

so I’ll stay put. I’ll be careful and I’ll explain better so the worry is less. It’s ok, really, I’m feeling much better now.

Tags: , ,

1 Comment on much better now

  1. sza says:

    glad you’re better. and you’re right. wherever you go, there you are, and with it comes various bouts of illness. i’m glad you’re on top of things and making sure you head off whatever it is that is making you unwell. i think you should start scrapbooking your prescriptions. that would make an interesting coffee table book. 😉
    love you lots.

Leave a Reply