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?)