Travel Vaccinations

I will start by saying that I’m not easily anxious. Today’s travel consult and vaccinations got in my head enough that I wrote this post with Siri’s help driving back to work.  I needed to vent, and she seemed willing to listen.

Evaluating the list of shots, I started to feel a little nauseous. All that talk about malaria pills, hallucinatory dreams, rabies immune globulin, and the side effects of typhoid and yellow fever got me thinking about how awful some of these diseases are… and how they’re about to inject them into my arm.  Four of them.  The nurse must have noticed my ghostly appearance and reassured me that babies get far more shots than what I was getting today.  I felt more like a big wuss than comforted, so I sucked it up and used a trick my mom taught me years ago, pinching my fingernails into my thumbs to distract from the nip of the needleS.

The shots were quick, but my wait in the clinic chair gave my mind too much time to stew.  Looking around the sterile office made me think about being so far away and having little (or no) access to modern healthcare. It made me feel grateful for my access here in the States, but it also kind of freaked me out.

The list of recommended vaccinations is shocking: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Rabies, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Polio, and Malaria Pills… Probably because we’ve chosen to go to some of the most remote (and mosquito-infested) areas of the globe.

When we started planning for this trip that was kind of the point; go to difficult, somewhat uncomfortable, exotic, and far-away places.

When I think about all the “exotic” bugs and diseases we might get: dengue fever (doesn’t have a cure), amoebas, and worms, oh my, I get anxious again.

We’ve both been reading a lot of other people’s RTW travel and adventure blogs, but I haven’t seen anything about the bad, ugly, sick, and gross that occurs on their trips. We tend to focus on the positive when we think about travel rather than the potential risks.  It’s way more fun to research destinations, activities, weather, logistics… pretty much anything but the scary stuff.  Even my type A personality has its limitations for thorough.   Bad things can happen, so in addition to the three shots, and four Typhoid pills, I got a little shot of reality today. I think it was probably just as beneficial as the others.



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