now that’s sick

A few weeks after I arrived in Indonesia I was diagnosed with typhoid. I didn’t even realize that this was still around as a communicable disease. But I guess it is in a place where the tap water is not potable.

I haven't quite worked out how he fights the mosquitos except with his big orange light saber.

I haven’t quite worked out how he fights the mosquitos except with his big orange light saber.

I knew going in for an international job posting in Indonesia that denge was a threat. Balancing the risk of denge against the very real possibility of lung cancer from the various products available to fight mosquitos constitutes a daily decision.

Yet, what I haven’t had since living near Jakarta is even one cold. I’ve hesitated to post about this, because simply mentioning it will jinx this non-cold streak. To preface this observation, I must point out that I get colds all the time when I’m in the US. My sister, a nurse, thinks I’m a hypochondriac because when I hear about someone’s illness: H1N1 or a stomach virus going around–I’m inevitably the next to get it. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

Global Doctor

Sometimes it’s open and sometimes it’s closed for renovations with metal sheeting closing it off to the public.

In contrast to my personal neurosis, during the past 2 weeks real tropical illness has taken root all around. A colleague’s husband was rushed to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe. He has asthma in addition to a recurring fungal infection in his brain which is triggered by the mold that clings to surfaces due to the humidity. A good friend came down with typhoid. Her daughter also got typhoid which has morphed into denge. Another colleague has been hospitalized with tuberculosis. When I went to visit her, we wore face masks–Asians wear them in public when they are sick, but in this case TB is contagious through airborne contact. Finally, a colleague has been out since the beginning of the school year with a mysterious illness which no one can explain.

The various and ubiquitous stomach infections as well as the pink eye that is lurking, ready to flower at any moment due to the pollution are constantly on my mind.

After spending hundreds on shots in preparation to live in a different place, I’m crossing my fingers that the effects hold for a few more months. International travel can be exciting for many, many reasons. Adventure would lose its significance without a touch or more of danger, right?


About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in life and culture, transitions and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to now that’s sick

  1. Karen Walker says:

    I’m so sorry! What are the symptoms of typhoid? Do you feel really sick? What do you do for it? ( I haven’t kept up with all these weird diseases) Hope you are feeling better! Can/do you take anything for it? I sound quite ignorant, I know!

    • jaclynfre says:

      Aunt Karen, I do not have typhoid any more. I had it when I arrived. It comes from being exposed to water with feces in it. I had a high fever and very achy bones–no appetite and other symptoms that could cause me to become dehydrated. I originally thought I could take aspiring–that was bringing a knife to a gun fight. I was eventually put on an anti-biotics for 3 days and I felt better in about a week.

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