Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sickness - update!!

So as you know, I got a horrible bout of 'gastro', just before leaving Mandalay.
Worst. Day. Ever. (At least on the trip so far).
Remember this guy?

Want to know how I'm getting on? You do? Read on!
[WARNING: Biological processes and materials discussed in this post - don't eat and read]
By the way, it's not all about me - Naomi also got stomach issues, picked up in the shitty hotel on Inle Lake, but she hasn't mentioned it, so I am. She's a trooper, pushing through the pain (her's is more stomach-achy) and still taking care of me. She claims to have mostly recovered already, so her Shanghai-trained immune system is probably better at beating this stuff than mine.

So, I got medicine from the French girls at the bus stop, and survived the bus ride.

Over the next few days in Inle Lake, things slightly improved, then got worse again - diarrhoea again. Thankfully, no vomiting (have I told you how I hate vomiting? I really do!).
Travel is not all fun and games..
But I was unable to eat much, just their crappy, over-sweet, bread.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner...
I made sure to drink as much water as I could, but I was realising that I'm flushing electrolytes out of my body with every loo visit, which is not good, so I tried to drink some juices, too.

The poor conditions (birds nesting in the ceiling cavity, droppings falling through the woven ceiling) and the shitty food (I ate a fried rice the night before the diarrhoea returned in full, and in the breakfast rice, we found an insect) didn't help me much.

But we went on a day-trip on the lake, saw some sights and interesting people - see another post for details - so I wasn't bedridden the whole time, don't worry.
Lake water looks delicious..

But I did get to try several different toilets, including more Myanmar squat toilets - a delight...

In the evening, we played some cards and I had a strawberry juice, which was yummy.
Checking the rules of the game..


When we finally checked out and got to the Nyaung Shwe town, we found a doctor (while we were looking for a pharmacy, so bonus!) who diagnosed 'intestinal infection' (he may have said 'inflammation'), which should translate to good old gastroenteritis, as I understand these things.
Attracted by the drugs on display, we found a doctor's office

Under diagnosis..
He prescribed three drugs, two of which make sense (now that we've looked them up) and one which makes us go "hmm?":

  • "Ofloxacin & Ornidazole" - antibiotic, makes sense, to kill the bacteria that are screwing with me. Listed as recorded adverse reactions is psychiatric problems, so if I go nuts, it's probably this drug. Tell the shrink!
  • Loperamide Hydrochloride - diarrhoea stopper, gratefully accepted.
  • Pentoxyverine Citrate - cough suppressant, WTF? Did they grab the wrong tablets? Listed side-effects include vomiting and diarrhoea! FFS!
So, I took these until we got back to Bangkok, then saw a pharmacist (while stocking up on similar drugs, to be prepared in the future). I stopped the cough suppressant and diarrhoea stopper, but will (of course) finish the course of antibiotics, as I don't want to breed superbugs, thank-you-very-much.

Oh, the doctor's consultation, including three packets of drugs and several sachets of electrolyte mix came to the grand total of 5,000 Kyats ($5). Beat that, Medicare!

So I've now been off the Loperamide for over 24 hours, and passed some near-diarrhoea-level poo this morning. My tummy is churning a bit, but I'm hoping it's just getting stuff moving again and unless I feel desperate, I'll not take more Loperamide for the bus trip we're about to go on tonight.
I've been eating, but in small quantities. Though I had a chocolate frappe and over half of a mixed berry juice just now while we sit here in a cafe writing.. hope that doesn't mix badly..

Will keep you updated.