Saturday, June 06, 2009

Not to Pick on Zambia again but...

I went to the travel doctor this week for my upcoming trip to Sri Lanka. I hate travel doctors. They always tell me to wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water and wear bug spray. (Just once I'd like someone to teach me something useful, like CPR, or maybe some hand-to-hand combat moves.) I also hear alot about the scary diseases that I may or may not attract.

For those of you who know me, this does not go over well with my hypochondriac self.

This doctor was no different. While very nice, she was also big on pointing out which diseases I don't want to get (malaria) and which ones I DEFINITELY don't want (japanese encephalitis). In fact, I may go back and get the vaccine for that one.

Aaaaaanyway, what I thought was going to be a quick 30 minute appointment for malaria drugs turned into a two-hour ordeal, with me leaving certain that I was going to die of Chagas, or at the very least, had a case of worms.

I went back to the office and vented about my experience.

My coworker, a pleasantly plump conservative mid-thirties single gal guffawed. "That's nothing," she said, "when I went for my trip to Zambia, the nurse asked me if I was going to be having sexual relations."

(Note: business trips do not lend themselves to romance).

"When I told her no, she eyed me up and down again and said, "Are you sure?"

(Note: pretty sure. And by that I mean, ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT.)

"When I again assured her I would not be having sexual relations, she still advised me to bring condoms."

(Note: In case any unplanned orgies breakout).

"And when I told her that I would not waste my time bringing condoms, she said, 'Well, they have AIDs in Zambia.'"

(Note: part of our project in Zambia deals with people affected with AIDs.)

I get they have a duty to warn us of what we're walking into, but they must deal with some awfully stupid or dishonest people. Also, the world is a scary enough place without my having to worry if walking barefoot on beach will give me shingles. I realize that ignorance may not be the way to go here, but it is indeed, bliss.

I miss my DC travel doctor, who stuck me with needles, gave me my drugs, slapped a lollipop in my hand and let me run back to work.

M is for malaria.

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