I vacillate almost daily about my trip to Haiti. One minute, I’m excited and hopeful. The next minute, I’m anxious and wondering what the heck I’m doing. Today was the latter. I had my appointment at the UCONN travel clinic.
I walked in and the doctor said, “they double booked me so I have to rush through this.” She was kind and compassionate but spoke at warp speed. She started going through all the diseases you can contract and the risk factors of the disease versus the risk factors of the vaccination. Do I want the live Hep A or the dead Hep A? Do I want the cheaper malaria pills that could cause a heart murmur if taken with the Z pack that I’m giving you for stomach illness or do I want the ridiculously expensive malaria pills? Take the Z pack if you have diarrhea but don’t take it if there is blood in your diarrhea. Be careful for needle sticks because you’re not getting a Hep B vaccination. The nurse will sit with you after your Hep A and Typhoid shots to make sure you don’t have an anaphylactic reaction.
I sat quitely checking off the boxes that she told me to check off. I agreed to Hep A (the dead version), Typhoid, cholorquine pills (taken 2 weeks before, during and 2 weeks afterward) and a precautionary Z pack. I agreed to spray my clothes with Permethrin and to bring DEET bug spray and to not open my mouth in the shower. I must have looked terrified because she finally slowed down, paused, looked at me and said, “do you want to go to Florida instead?” I laughed and the tension melted away.
I got my shots and had no side effects at all. I think this is my first step in beginning to understand the differences in first world and third world medicine. But, again, who knows? Gaining true knowledge to me is learning about things that you didn’t even know you didn’t know. I have a feeling I’m going to get a lot of those teachings throughout this journey.