|Gettin' Shot||1 | 2|
SEATTLE, USA — Today was our second visit to the UW Travel Clinic for immunization shots and various pep talks about healthy travelling. I'm now convinced I will never survive this trip.
In this, our second one-hour visit, we learned all about malaria, food and water poisoning ("Montezuma's Revenge" to some), meningococcal disease, and other splendid tricks that you can do with foreign bacteria. Last time, we were told about Hepatitis A, B, and all the way up to H, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, hemorraghic fever, dengue fever, Spanish flu, hanta virus, ebola, HIV, the bubonic plague, altititude sickness, motion sickness, diarrhea, and the-unnamed-disease-where-your-nipples-shrivel-up-and-fall-off. And we're going to contract all of them.
But there is hope, we're told. if we take the appropriate precautions, we have about a 0.1% chance of not winding up in some third-world hospital frantically trying to figure out how to say "HMO" in Swahili. Travellers like us need to avoid all forms of uncooked food, unboiled water, and untreated air. So we can make it around the world just fine...as long as we carry a healthy supply of malaria pills, Pepto Bismol, bottled water, several tanks of oxygen, and a giant, 20-foot plastic bubble.
Seriously, though, it is impossible not to think the worst when you leave the travel clinic. With all the warnings we're given, one has to wonder how one can possibly exist for more than an hour, let alone a year, without breaking some of them. Am I really expected to avoid ice cubes everywhere I go for the next year? To some extent, I figure they want us to be afraid, so we'll take fewer risks, like eating raw eggs in Nicaragua or sticking our tongues to a frozen flag pole in Argentina. (Hey, we don't know where that ice has been!)