I’m allergic to West Africa.

Yep.  It’s true.  I’m allergic to West Africa, I fear.  Or maybe it’s IRC.  Or maybe just work in general.

I’d only been there in Abidjan a few days when I started feeling all achy and feverish.  Signs I should have been familiar with, but had banished to the back of my mind.  After a night of excruciating pain and high fever, I came to the conclusion that the infections I’d been having continuously in Liberia in the months before I left had returned.  Of course, since I left Liberia I’d been the picture of good health – well, other than self-inflicted klutz-factor related injuries, of course.  So I hadn’t come prepared with my usual traveling pharmacy for self-medication.

Luckily I’m here working on a Health proposal, so my colleagues are an MD and an RN – both had plenty of cipro and ibuprofen to get me started, so I’m on the road to recovery.  I do love the abandon with which us development folk both self-diagnose and self-medicate.  I’m always a bit wary, but after you’ve gone to one incompetent doctor too many it really hits home that medicine in most parts of the world really is an art and not a science.  And I certainly know myself better than anyone else, so my guess is as good as theirs most of the time.  Why pay to confirm what you’re 99% sure of, especially when you don’t need a prescription to get the drugs and the pharmacy anyways, and you have your own non-practising MDs to help you with dosage? Not to mention I would be incapable of explaining my symptoms in French.

(Mom, don’t worry – I will go to a doctor if it gets worse!   Don’t you love it that moms still worry even when you’re 31?)


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