Friday, November 26, 2010

Malaria or cholera? Decisions, decisions...

Although I didn’t fall asleep until around 3am last night, I did somehow feel fairly good when I awoke this morning around 6am. So I knew it was time to leave the clinic. No more livin’ the highlife with CNN and SyFy’s James Bond Thanksgiving Marathon. It was back to my own bed. Ugh. I was extremely grateful though for at least spending Turkey Day at the clinic. With CNN, I did not feel quite so lost and alone… especially when the few other Americans and native-English speakers I know were headed to a Thanksgiving dinner.

By 7am I had eaten a few scrambled eggs for breakfast – the first substantial meal I’d had in several days… unless you count my bowl of Berry Special K and a slice of bologna for Thanksgiving dinner “a meal.”

Finally ambled downstairs to speak with the Doc. My doc is great. He’s very personable and is extremely knowledgable. He gave me the skinny on why my malaria was worse than a typical case.

Warning: I'm more graphic than usual in this post. If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to continue reading.

He said I have more stomach acid than most people and that it triggered one of the side effects of Chloroquine: vomiting. Compounding that with the fact that I was quickly dehydrating, I now understood why my case of malaria seemed so much worse than how others had described it to me.

But my doctor said not to be too concerned. He explained that Zantac would fix my problem with Chloroquine… just reduce the stomach acid and those nasty side effects would be mitigated.


Then he continued.

There is a downside to Zantac and reduced stomach acid. When cholera enters your system, it heads straight to your stomach. And we do have a natural defense against cholera. It’s called... stomach acid!

So I’m offered a choice:

I get to decide if I’d prefer to be more susceptible to either malaria or cholera!

I’m sure you can tell just how excited I am about this decision. I feel so honored.

Tim White


Peggy said...

We are sooo sorry Tim!! (((HUGS))) to make you feel better. Which disease is worse?? Please be careful!! Is there anything we can send you?? Love ya!! Tim & Peggy

Tim White said...

Thanks Peggy, but no. I'm ok. And the mail service basically doesn't work here in Jeremie. Port-au-Prince gets mail I'm sure, but out here... not so fast.

I was just told that our office received its June mail... this month.

Better than Vietnam though in some ways. While mail only took a few weeks to get there normally... I often had to open my packages at the post office (though often they were already opened) in front of the "authorities." I recall thinking the only reason for that nonsense was their "need" to stop "counterrevolutionary thoughts!" The Vietnamese commies were truly OTT nuts about some things.