Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Month in Mexico - Enfermo....Still

The medicine at top, Bactocin, is an antibiotic.  The two others soothe the gut.

This is what I thought a few weeks ago when I was convinced I had amoebic dysentery:

If the number of bathroom visits exceeds the number of hours in a day; if your stomach is distended so the shorts, which were too loose yesterday, cannot be buttoned; if it takes five minutes of sitting on the bed to work up the energy to look for your sandals and another five minutes to gather the stamina to slip into them; and if you feel ravenous but the thought of eating makes you nauseous -- then you probably have amoebic dysentery.

I was wrong.

I believed the shot the non-English speaking doctor gave me on June 13 was a hefty dose of antibiotics--the only way to get rid of amoebas, so I couldn't understand why I was still exhausted after sleeping four hours every afternoon and still losing weight no matter what I ate--twenty pounds total.

Two days before we left to go home, David and I made another trip to the Clinica Ajijic where I conferred with an English-speaking doctor.  He said the shot I'd received almost three weeks before had been to quiet my innards; it was not an antibiotic.  He ordered a blood test and the next day I discoverd I had typhus, an illness that results in symptoms similar to dysentery but requires different treatment.

I'm still not sure, despite many Internet searches, what typhus is, but I know that the drug to combat it is powerful.  After six days on Ofloxacina, I'm beginning to regain strength, and my gut has stopped complaining.  Now I can only hope I don't regain those twenty pounds!

Practicalities -

If you have stomach problems and seek a doctor's help, insist on a blood test.  That's the only way you will know for sure exactly what is troubling you and be guaranteed you will receive the correct treatment. 

Blood tests and doctor visits in Mexico are cheap.  Only 150 pesos for each or about $12 US.  Believe me, it is far better to get an accurate diagnosis than to suffer through your entire vacation.

1 comment:

  1. Since we speak about 50-75 nouns in Spanish, we don't venture too far from the tourist pathway. But have encountered Montezuma's revenge or at least similar symptoms. If they last more than half a day, we take a Cipro. Easily purchased in Mx. Take another one the next day. I've never had to take a 3rd. 1st time I used Cipro, I had been BOTHERED for 2 days. Took Cipro, good as new. May not work for anything severe, I don't know.