Monday, January 22, 2007

Day 132: Medical Update

There was a lot of talk about confidentiality during our medical training in Lima, but I feel obligated to keep you up to date with my medical diagnoses as they continue to aflict my unaccustomed body. Mae I know you love this...

For the docs in the room: Symptoms were as follows -- mild, low-grade fever on and off for the past week or so. Around Friday I started to have a bad head ache. You have to understand that I didn't think anything of it because my hair was greasy and I was desperate to wait for the hot shower in Huaraz. We were due to arrive on Sunday afternoon. Saturday the headache was worse... The hike down to the Comedor Sonia Morales (see entry) didn't help. And my fever was pretty constant at this point. It was a muscular fever, down to my toe muscles. On Sunday morning I woke up, turned to Benj and said "I have the wierdest symptoms right now. My head hurts really badly, I feel like my glands are swollen at the back of my neck and the back of my head hurts to the touch. And this fever..." He glared at me lovingly, and told me to suck it up and take the cold shower; I'd surely feel better when my hair was clean.

We arrived in Huaraz, higher elevation and more contamination, that afternoon. I still felt yucky, but blamed it on being exhausted from summer school the week before and the travel involved in getting ourselves to Huaraz.

Monday morning I sat in our first hours of Quechua class rocking out the fever, stiff in every corner of my body. I called the Peace Corps doc because I feared that I had Meningitis. I didn't, she assured me, and sent me to the Emergency room. Blood was drawn and I received a shot for the fever... was told that I couldn't leave until the fever went down.

Docs...any guesses?

About an hour later the doc came back with my results...

Typhoid Fever.

Common worldwide, it is transmitted by ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces from an infected person. Yum.

Boo. 10 days of antibiotics and 3 days of heavy duty fever meds. And rest.

Typhoid Fever is a food borne illness and there is a vaccine.

We had received the vaccine during training - this is one reason why my symptoms aren't too strong. Apparently it's not 100%. Please don't worry about me (mom) -- this is all just a part of adjusting to life and eating in another part of the world. And we've got great medical attention.

I'll keep you posted!