Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Even world travel has its downsides

Among people I know, there are a lot of perceived pros and cons of traveling all over the world.  Pros, for the most part.  People think it must be neat to get to see far-away places and meet people from all over.  Of course, I have to explain that since I'm most likely working like crazy most of the time, I don't really get to see all those places...

And then there are the cons.  All that flying! (I don't mind.)  Jet lag! (I don't mind.)  Time away from home! (Okay, I mind that a little.)

The last few days, though, a more personal downside has cropped up, as I've felt a little under the weather.  Stomach a little jumpy, some allergies, a cough, a bit of a fever at times, kinda tired...

Now, three years ago, when I'd never been out of the US, I would write this off as some random generic little harmless virus and basically just "ride it out."

But having been to Indonesia, Kenya and Uganda in the last several months... I look at my mild symptoms and know that they could be the beginning of dengue fever, diphtheria, hepatitis A or B, malaria, rift valley fever, tuberculosis, typhoid, or yellow fever... most of which I haven't been vaccinated against (because there are no vaccines).

So I get to go over to a doctor (paying full price of course, since this being America, none of my jobs give me health insurance) and have them figure out just which nasty things I do or don't have.  And if I do have anything nasty, maybe I'll get a prescription for some powerful antibiotics (and pay full price for that, too.)

All because I don't have the good sense to stay at home in my nice little town that isn't overrun with all manner of tropical infectious diseases.

This, to me, is the biggest downside yet to all the travel.

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