An apple a day does NOT keep the doctor away especially when you are in another country. It happens to everyone if you have been traveling long enough. It’s what I not so lovingly call the Asian Flu aka ‘eating street food, not resting enough between adventures and failing to use a straw’ and ripped through me it did. I had the most peculiar symptoms too from swollen and bleeding gums to a cramp in only my right calf and foot (so weird) to violent chills, heartburn, one nostril running and numbness in only some of my fingers, a bladder infection and, of course, the regular symptoms such as unquenchable dehydration regardless of the amount of water and Gatorade I drank (in fact it seemed like it had the opposite effect) and the others symptoms which go without saying when you mention stomach and flu in the same sentence. If you don’t know, watch Amy Schumer’s Leather special. She kinda nails it in a way only Amy Schumer can.
So what to do? I honestly didn’t know. I have no insurance, have no idea what is written on the medicine packages at the pharmacy much less what they cure and how do you treat those crazy ass symptoms anyway and how do you even get to a pharmacy when you can’t walk or leave the bathroom? All good questions as it’s not like your doctor is a phone call away or could prescribe something. You are alone in this one.
First, when the initial symptoms show up, you get to a resort with a concierge, room service, a/c and a comfortable bed that is CLEAN and who can call a good doctor in an emergency, get you meds, etc. I waited too long for this thereby prolonging my suffering and filling my head with all kinds of scary thoughts. Hostels and cheap rat traps in third world countries are great until you get sick. They won’t cut it folks…trust me. When I did finally do it and checked into Fairways and Bluewater Resort, it was like escaping hell and entering heaven i.e. made all the difference in the world.
Secondly, do NOT watch the movie Contagion especially when your last country was Macau and the one before that was Hong Kong! I recommend binge watching Family Guy. I thought this show was pretty funny before but when you are sick like this it is hysterical and keeps your mind off the fact that you feel like you are dying on the other side of the world with let’s face it – no mommy and everyone wants their mommy when they are sick and especially my mommy. Plus, all other television has fast moving cars and are action packed and you will find yourself even more nauseous. But Contagion could send you over the edge so a very big no no.
Thirdly, forgive your sorry sick ass. I know you think “OMG I’m missing this incredible opportunity to enjoy this incredible adventure on this incredible island” but let’s try self love instead. You are human people. Sometimes we get sick (although I’m not sure sick is a strong enough of a word for this one). Be patient. If you treat yourself well and rest you will be back to the street food eating, parasailing, beach laying – you in no time.
Also, you should act preemptively. Take a care package with some heavy duty antibiotics, Imodium, anti-nausea medicine, Imodium, heartburn meds, Imodium, pyridium for that bladder, Imodium (did I say Imodium already? Sorry about that 😉 Also, World Nomads travel insurance or some other internationally accepted health insurance or check your credit cards as I lot of them have protection like AMEX. And speaking of protection, try some (especially you Tinder junkies)! And while I joke, you seriously need protection from diseases including hand sanitizer, bug repellent, cortisol when you cut yourself out here in the jungle and yes it couldn’t hurt to have the Trojan type either. Wash, wash and re-wash those hands, injuries, etc. Perhaps our bodies have developed immunity to stuff in our own country but not likely all the crap in the third, fourth and fifth world countries.
As for food consumption, this is a tough one. Street food is the best and the cheapest and the most authentic culinary experience you can get when traveling but watch the vendor to see how it’s prepared and how clean things are. Also, has the meat or fish been cooked all the way. Make sure.
Straws. Yep straws. You would absolutely say I deserved what I got if you knew how flippant I was in Cebu when I purchased a bottled coke. The girl told me she had no straws. She even said I should go get a coke from somewhere else where they have straws. I said no need as it’s just silly and picked up my shirt,bared my belly, wiped the top of the bottle off and took a big swig. I think the shirt I was wearing was being worn again for its third or fourth time that week. Whoopsy daisy is all I can say as who am I going to apologize to for my arrogance? Myself? What’s left of it now that I’m 7 lbs lighter (and I didn’t have 7 lbs to lose)?
That’s all from the Philippines. Now go eat and drink and prosper.