Well getting sick while you travel isn’t probably a thing to brag about it. And probably so many travellers never mention this part.
I will tell you. Recent years I was relatively unlucky with health matters on my travels.Specially last visit which was supposed to be permanent visit turned out fiasco in terms of health so I decided to come back home to get well and see whats next.
And I am not talking about diarrhoea.:D
Last year I my goal was to stay in Tanzania and Rwanda for four months. Trip was great, until I collapsed two weeks prior my departure in hotel on Zanzibar. I was taken to the hospital and they found i got typhoid fever. Of course the stage of illness was quite progressive as i didn’t pay attention to my symptoms that occurred weeks ago – from loosing weight, to skin rassh for which i thought was perhaps by bed bugs to many dizzy moments which i assumed was my intolerance to heat and strong sun under equator in Rwanda. I was shocked because i was vaccinated against typhoid and was 100% that i cant get it if i had a jab. So, after three days of delirium in my nice room on Zanzibar i got better although weak but strong enough to fly home and get further medical examination at home.
Even though you were vaccinated, you are not fully protected.
Last September, I planned accordingly with my unfortunate typhoid experience and arrived to Africa with a big pack of all sorts of antibiotics, just in case. Soon after i arrived I started to feel nausea, problems with stomach, feeling fatigued. Many locals told me not to worry its just a change of food diet probably and attitude change, I was in Arusha. I didn’t want to panic, so i just accepted the advice and hoped for problems to go away. But they didnt. Then there were a couple days I would feel better and again days I would get worse, chills, temperature, blurred vision,… the list of symptoms was endless.
Finally I decided to see a doctor. Got tested for Malaria and Typhoid. Both test were negative and doctor sent me home with words: Maybe tomorrow you will feel better. Dont worry. OK, doctor should know. Days and weeks passed by. In the mean time i had also some other problems with abscess on my gland so i had this little operation. had to take 4 different antibiotics 2 weeks every four hours. My immune system couldn’t bare that, i felt so tired and still sick. To skip my lab visits every two days as they couldn’t find whats wrong with me, i pushed the doctor again to make all possible tests as i was pretty certain something is really wrong with me. Finally after two months they found several parasites in my body.
Parasites. I was shocked! I have never had a parasite in my whole life. Besides I am known as obsessed with cleanliness person! And relieved at the same time to finally know the reason for my awful wellbeing and jaundice. In addition he also assumed i had Malaria, but is not yet visible in blood tests. For better medical examination I was told to go to Nairobi. yeah right. I spent about 400 EUR for taxis, lab tests, medications and now should i spend more money on going to Nairobi. It was cheaper to fly back home and get a decent western medical attention. I admit. I got scared. Although doctors were really kind in their African way, medical resources are basic at least in Arusha. So I was happy to fly back and continue my treatment in hospital for Infectious disease.
I had Antaamoeba Hystolica and Fasciola Hepatica
Am I spoiled? Probably. I am used to small Ljubljana where medical help is within few minutes away, we have ER, etc… But once you feel so weak and shitty as I did, I got scared for my health. I dont regret returning home where I was able to recover and after four months I am happy to have my weight back ( had 48 kilos on my arrival home) be healthy and feeling well.
Am I going back?For sure! Later:D
PS: Dont want to sound paranoid but my advice is:
Make yourself a favour and test your self in a country of travel. Local tests are much quicker than those at home. Slovenian test took almost a month to deliver results. In Africa you get results in 45 minutes!