I attended a lecture last week. A medical one, despite the fact that I’m not medical. A friend had organized it for health care providers. The subject was “returned traveler health”. Basically, if someone comes into your practice and has funky symptoms after returning from a trip abroad here’s some of the crazy diseases and conditions you should consider.
There’s a reason I’m not medical: I’m squeamish. Oddly enough, not in the way you would think. If someone right in front of me is sick or bleeding, I’m more than willing to patch them up. Volunteer for it, even. But sitting in lectures hearing about things I get a little light-headed. X-rays are the worst. I once went to a talk about reading x-rays and had to leave after five minutes. I also passed out while getting an x-ray.
So I went to this travel health talk on purpose. To scare myself. After all, if I’m actually going to consider Peace Corps, it would mean ending up in a third-world country where some health conditions are more common. There’s a chance I could end up with something, but a definite chance that I’d be around people with something.
Malaria. Tuberculosis. Dengue fever. Schistosomiasis. Marburg virus. Mosquito-bourne illness. Water-bourne illness. Parasite-bourne illness. It was a one-hour talk so there wasn’t much depth, but a lot of breadth and lists.
I think I had to take a deep breath once to stop my head from spinning. But otherwise, nothing.
I went to scare myself, and I wasn’t scared. It was pretty darn amazing, let me tell ya. But walking home that day, all I could think about was sleeping in mosquito nets. Ugh. I hate mosquitos. They came after the fall, I’m sure.
What do you guys think? Am I crazy for considering visiting places with health hazards like this?