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A Shot in the Arm - February 22, 2013

I took a day off work this week to do some medical stuff.  A visit to the family doctor in the morning to get a routine physical and refills on my recurring prescriptions, then a trip to the dentist for routine cleaning.  None of this was in preparation for the trip specifically, but I did need more of one of my prescriptions to last the duration of the trip.  For me the two appointments would take the better part of the day, requiring over 100 miles of driving from place to place, including the pharmacy.  The physical exam was quick and the doc agreed to renew my two, daily prescription medications, which is less than average for an American of my age.  Why write about this, since it has nothing to do with the trip?  Because my doctor came to life and went into full emergency preparedness mode when he heard about the trip.  He showed me how to field dress a wound and seal it up with super glue, which was kind of cool.  He gave me 4 courses (2 for me and 2 for K) of Cipro, an antibiotic, to address severe gastrointestinal distress or other bacterial infections - just in case.  He further recommended that each of us take one Pepto-bismol pill per day to guard against strange foods, and to carry some Imodium with us.  He also suggested taking along some electrolytes containing potassium to help recover from any issues with "Montezuma's revenge."  I also learned that potassium loss is the greater danger than other electrolytes, should this occur. And he absolutely insisted that we get fresh inoculations for tetanus and whooping cough.  My doc is a good guy, and not particularly pill-happy.  He knows his stuff, and recommends only the minimums.  I balked at the DPT vaccine.  He said the ones we got as kids wear off after 10 years, and that he had personally diagnosed over 15 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in the past six months.  Then he told a fanciful story about what it would be like to get lockjaw (tetanus).  I have not had one in 40 years or more, and K is definitely 30 years plus since her last.  So I begrudgingly agreed.  No way I was going to do a full panel of shots, and he did not even suggest those.  He promised a sore arm for two days, and that has indeed been the case.  K even has a two inch diameter nasty greenish bruise from hers, which she got at the state health clinic later that same day.  While I think America is pretty drug-crazed these days, some vaccines actually work.  So we went with the minimums.  On the way home I picked up bandages, super glue, generic Pepto-bismol, Cipro, and even a small calculator for helping check currency exchanges. All of it was quite inexpensive, and good insurance.  I blew off the electrolyte mixes, since you can get a sports drink pretty much anywhere to help replenish your potassium, as I found out first hand in Cairo, Egypt, a few years ago!  I still have Imodium left from that trip.  For the record, it did not help at all, but the sports drink surely did.

This part did not hurt much, but 12 hours later... OUCH!


  1. You two must really want to do this! That's a lot of hoops to jump through. good thing your doc is pro-active! I know you do not want any of those diseases and travelling in a strange country is surely a game changer! You were wise to comply and you KNOW I hate drugs and vaccines!

  2. Our doctor hasn't been that active in preparing us for our trips, but lately our visits to foreign countries involve day trips off a cruise ship. The farthest inland where we ate and slept was Luxor in 2010. We just missed the Egyptian riots and watched them on TV in amazement because we had been in the square and visited the famous museum. I must eat gluten free so we limit food choices to hotels and restaurants that cater to large foreign touring groups or the cruise ship.