a tanzania update

Posted by pamela on Apr. 21, 09 | 2 COMMENTS

I made it to Tanzania last Friday after stops at two airports – Nairobi and Zanzibar. The night I arrived I came down with some sort of tummy bug which, when combined with my sinuses flushing out the remaining pollution from Addis, made for a not wonderfully pleasant 24 hrs. But did you notice that I said 24 hrs? Yes, that’s right… while this bug made me miss two dives on Saturday, I was just about good as new come Sunday morning. 

I just realized that I wrote the above paragraph without saying diarrhea in an effort to make comfortable everyone living where plumbing and anti-bacterial soap are the norm. But, diarrhea is reality here. Matter of fact, somewhere in the back of your head you might be thinking, “Really? Can a 24 hr bug really be bad enough prevent her from going diving when she has wanted to go diving for months? Pam just isn’t that tough.” Just in case that is what you are thinking, envision this: diarrhea while wearing a wetsuit. Yeah – that was enough for me to call off the diving too. 

Besides tummy bugs and not diving, I have seen friends made last year, been swimming in the ocean, and just returned from a night in Zanzibar. Life is good and full in this hot and humid land. There will be a few more thoughts on Ethiopia in the future as well as photos, so I apologize in advance for the jumbled posting. I hope you are well.

for the love of complex foods

Posted by pamthenomad on Oct. 26, 07 | 0 COMMENTS

This week my gi tract has not been my best friend. Further descriptions of this were written, but are now erased; I easily forget what is considered acceptable conversation by most people. Suffice it to say that now everything stays in, but my stomach cramps whenever I eat. (On a side note, this is supposed to happen when I am in the African bush not in a city in the Midwest, US of A.) This means that my diet has been reduced to simple carbs. I thought I could enjoy this for a while. It makes food easy to prepare and I don’t have to feel bad about having toast for dinner. But the doc also said no dairy and to stay away from fiber.

This means that the pork tenderloins I bought are now in the freezer, that the spaghetti squash is uncooked, and the wonderful veggies from the farmer’s market remain in the drawer of my fridge. No spicy black beans or stir fried veggies. No fresh tomato sauce. The leftover pear apple cobbler from Sunday dinner remains uneaten.

Tonight I mixed up my diet and had white pancakes with syrup. No whole wheat pancakes with bananas and pecans.

Today I found a recipe for zucchini pear soup. I can’t wait to feel good again.

mandatory immunization deadline

Posted by pamthenomad on Sep. 29, 07 | 0 COMMENTS

An email I received on Friday from the ND health services started out like this, “Our records show that you have not met all the mandatory immunization requirements for the State of Indiana. Please reply to this email so that we can tell you specifically what you are missing.
If you do not meet the state requirements, there will be a hold placed on your student account.”

Half way through the email I started laughing so loud that my office mates asked if I was ok. I am one of probably only a handful of students at ND that checks her immunization record yearly for far more immunizations than required by the state of Indiana. My “yellow card” not only has extensions added to it deal with all of the immunizations I have had since birth, but it resides in an envelope that lays out which series are complete and when I need my next immunization for certain diseases. At ND I have to get my malaria prophylactic prescription from the travel nurse; she now knows me by name and has stopped checking to make sure my immunizations are up to date.

The email ended, “If you feel you have received this email in error, please email us.”

Yes, I thought I had received the email in error and rapidly shot off a response to that end. However, it seems that they never got notification that I had updated my tetanus immunization three years ago, and needed the documentation. Tetanus vaccines are good for 10 years…unless your wound is a “dirty wound,” at which point it expires after 7 years. Needless to say, I stick by the 7 year requirement and so was 3 years ahead of Indiana requirements. I guess I should be thankful that the good ol’ state of Indiana, in combination with ND, are trying to stay on top of one aspect of my health…

cotonou again

Posted by pamthenomad on Jul. 04, 06 | 1 COMMENT

Hi all.

I am in Cotonou again, though am about to leave, so looks like I will be able to keep this trip to about 24 hrs. Had to get a few medical things sorted out for the ‘ulcer girl’ (UG), which I believe are presently sorted out. Hopefully new meds will do the trick and she will be full of energy even after eating in a couple of days.

Besides that, things are going well. The first training went well, and we were treated to a fantastic meal cooked by people in the training the last day. A feast: rice and red sauce, black beans, boiled egg, some fish, and a piece of bread. I practically had to be rolled out of there, especially after helping UG finish some of here meal too!

If all works out, I will have a story about popcorn for you in a couple of day…

oral rehydration salts

Posted by pamthenomad on Jun. 27, 06 | 1 COMMENT

It is amazing how much information is absorbed over travels in which either I or others
have been sick. This knowledge has served me incredibly well, but I
believe that a little bit more knowledge would be beneficial. So far
this trip one individual had a GI tract bacterial infection, and another
apparently has an ulcer. Both have been amazed by the glories of oral
rehydration salts (ORS).

In case you have never heard of ORS, let me explain what they are as
they have literally saved millions of lives around the world. When
people (this is particularly true of children), get diarrhea or are
vomiting, they loose massive amounts of water and electrolytes. Even if
you are drinking lots, you still have to somehow get the electrolytes.
Far too often people have ended up in the hospital or even died because
of the dehydration associated with an illness as opposed to the actual
illness.

Think about giving someone Gatorade (minus the flavoring) on speed. If
you are hydrated, it tastes like you are drinking salt water. If you are
truly dehydrated, it tastes like plain water, or might even taste sweet.
It is amazing how wonderfully our bodies were created that they crave
the things we need. Yesterday one student started out her litre of ORS
thinking it tasted just like water; the final third she did not want to
put down because of how salty it tasted.

I do not know where to find ORS in the USA, but they can be found in
nearly any clinic or pharmacy for mere pennies overseas. I highly
suggest you keep a packet or two in your first aid kit as dehydration
can and does happen anywhere. As I ask the ladies here every few days in
the beginning: are you peeing clear?

 

27 June 2006

Upcoming Trainings

The first training will happen this Thursday thru Saturday, the second
training is the following Thursday thru Saturday. Each training is
hosted by one village, and another village sends four individuals to the
hosting village for the training. As the villages are within a 30 minute
drive, we travel to and from the villages. During the lunch breaks the
first I will also be doing some sampling that needs to happen, and
surveys will occur this Sunday afternoon at two villages as well. My
time will be full, but before it all I get the glories of market day on
Wednesday.

I am beginning to think that I should create a ‘to do’ list for bits of training that I would be useful in the future. Top of that list would be some nursing or medical training. I have all of the first aid you get from lifeguard training as well as the nice little pile of other information that is absorbed over travels in which either I or others have been sick. This knowledge has served me incredibly well, but I believe that a little bit more knowledge would be beneficial. So far this trip one individual had a GI tract bacterial infection, and another apparently has an ulcer. Both have been amazed by the glories of oral rehydration salts (ORS).

In case you have never heard of ORS, let me explain what they are as they have literally saved millions of lives around the world. When people (this is particularly true of children), get diarrhea or are vomiting, they loose massive amounts of water and electrolytes. Even if you are drinking lots, you still have to somehow get the electrolytes. Far too often people have ended up in the hospital or even died because of the dehydration associated with an illness as opposed to the actual illness.

Think about giving someone Gatorade (minus the flavoring) on speed. If you are hydrated, it tastes like you are drinking salt water. If you are truly dehydrated, it tastes like plain water, or might even taste sweet. It is amazing how wonderfully our bodies were created that they crave
the things we need. Yesterday one student started out her litre of ORS thinking it tasted just like water; the final third she did not want toput down because of how salty it tasted.

I do not know where to find ORS in the USA, but they can be found in nearly any clinic or pharmacy for mere pennies overseas. I highly suggest you keep a packet or two in your first aid kit as dehydration can and does happen anywhere. As I ask the ladies here every few days in the beginning: are you peeing clear?

update:

Posted by pamthenomad on Jun. 21, 06 | 1 COMMENT

The girl is doing better–she and Pam made it to the capital safely, and she received the medical attention she needed. Now she just needs to rest and get better….

prayer request

Posted by pamthenomad on Jun. 21, 06 | 0 COMMENTS

Pam is making a surprise trip to the capital today with one of the girls with her in the village. From what I understand, the girl has been sick for a few days now, and needs more medical attention than Pam can give her. Pray for safe travels within the country and the girl’s swift and complete recovery. Thanks.

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