Medical Dilemmas Abroad

May 28th, 2012

Last week, I was in a small motorcycle accident. When it rains in the Philippines most people get off the road and stop driving.  However, a friend and I decided to make a quick run back to the house in the rain and ended up sliding across a road when we turned.  The road was so slippery that we did not get road rash, but only a few minor scrapes.  Since it was raining everyone in town was huddled underneath stores and anything with a cover, so, lucky for us, about 200 people watched the whole motorcycle accident.  It was pretty funny hearing the “OOOWwwwww” when we fell.  Good times…

We have also had a case of dengue at base. It is ironic because within a week of being here Mike was diagnosed with Dengue.  Since dengue has a 1-2 week gestation period Mike must have stepped off the plane in Manila and contracted the tropical disease. Yikes!

April 12th, 2012

When I got back to base this time around, I was notified that there were two cases of Typhoid.  Yikes!  Good thing I got vaccinated.  Typhoid is contracted by contaminated food or water and it can be treated with antibiotics.  According to the WHO, the symptoms “include high fever, malaise, headache, constipation or diarrhea, rose-coloured spots on the chest, and enlarged spleen and liver”. It is caused by Salmonella typhi, which is a bacteria that continues to be a major public-health issue in developing countries.  We had to spare one bathroom in the house for the typhoid

Also, sadly, one of our longer term volunteers was hammering and a nail bounced off of the wood right into her eye.  It grazed her right eye and she was immediately rushed to the hospital to get surgery.  She will be in the hospital for four days.  The surgery has gone well, but she will have to wear glasses for sometime after– maybe even for the rest of her life.   It is very tempting not to wear safety glasses and mask when working in the heat, but instances like this one show you why it is important to be safe.


In other travels, I have encountered shingles, boils, ringworm, infections and death.  It is a good idea to have travel insurance when traveling because you never know what can happen.


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