Sick on the Road

Dec 31, 2012 View Comments by

Sick on the Road

People get sick, in fact I’m sick right now as I write this—I have a headache that won’t quit. My routine for the last few days has been gargling warm salt water and Hydrogen peroxide and brushing my teeth multiple times a day. I’m still congested even after going to the gym and sitting in the steam room. Chicken noodle soup and tangerines was my lunch today, and I’ll make a cup of tea in a minute here. We have all been in this situation. It’s not much fun. I also have to be an usher at my sister’s wedding in two days, so I’m really trying to kick this bug. It’s mostly just inconvenience and, of course, it won’t last forever. I would never choose to be sick at anytime, but if I had my choice, I’d much rather be sick here at home, like I am right now, than on an extended motorcycle trip in a third world country. Or would I?

I was traveling through Africa in 2011 with my best friend Nick Rader. We were about three months into the trip and I had been feeling fine the whole time. I woke up to a case of diarrhea in Kisumu, Kenya. I was mostly upset because this broke my “solid” record for the last three months, but after using the toilet ten times before noon and exploding from both ends, I was no longer making jokes. I was just worn out. Nick was sick yesterday, but it wasn’t this bad. I tried to watch a couple episodes of Lost on my computer, but my body just wasn’t up to doing anything. I decided to use the outhouse one last time then make the trek into town on the bumpy Tuck-tucks. I went to a clinic that Brad (a missionary that we became friends with) recommended. He takes his family there all the time. The waiting area was a small cramped room with people coughing and looking sick. I was quite nervous as this town has a real AIDS epidemic. I’ve heard it is actually the AIDS capital of the world, although I don’t know how true that is.

I started to calm down when I met the woman running the clinic. She called my name and took me in the back to a small bed with clean fresh sheets. She has been working with patients for over 20 years and speaks great English. She went through the drills of saying “ah” and looked down my throat. She said she could run a stool sample, but that would take three days to get the results back. Her instincts said that it was bacterial so she wrote me a prescription for some antibiotics and recommended that I take an IV with saline to get re-hydrated again. She noticed how nervous I got with the suggestion of the IV. She asked if I was worried that it would give me AIDS, which I obviously was. The needle came in a sealed package, and was for one-time use only, so I allowed her to put in the IV and let it work its course. Almost instantly I started feeling better. The saline was really working for me. I was very dehydrated from all the earlier bathroom visits.

After I paid my bill of $12 for the visit and another $7 for my antibiotics, I looked back at the whole situation with confidence and happiness. In America, I would have waited longer, had more tests done, and paid much more for the same results. Getting sick is never fun, and here I am sick right now at my computer not going to the clinic. I hope I get better before my sister’s wedding in two days.

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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.