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Ok. Enough is enough. I’m going to go to the doctor. I have now been running a low-grade fever for 2 weeks, and according to Google, may quite possibly have a rare and exotic (not to mention highly untreatable) form of cancer. Or it could be the flu. Google isn’t quite sure.
I have never had much luck researching my symptoms on Google. I try to be specific, but I usually end up with 476 options. I much prefer curling up in bed with my old standby, Where There Is No Doctor, which assumes (I’ve mentioned this before) that while there may be no doctor, there is a well-stocked pharmacy nearby. I love that book, which helps you figure out if that tiny lump on your chin could be developing into a zit or a goiter, or learn if your abdominal pain is more likely to be giardia, amoebic dysentery, or just too many dates consumed the night before. Unfortunately my copy is in storage.
This morning I realized anew another reason I’m moving to Africa: no three-week waiting lists to see a doctor, no being shunted off to “urgent care” just because you want to be seen before August, no reams of paperwork to fill out about if any of your great-uncles ever had diabetes or if your childhood piano teacher was tubercular. Admittedly, had any major health crisis have happened to any of us in Mauritania, we would have left–flown to France, most likely, and we were thankful to have this option. But I think we all enjoyed living in a simpler time, as it were. I was prone to these weird little sinus infections that had no drainage, (from when sand got stuck in my head) and when I got one I’d just pop into the local pharmacy and diagnose and pick up my own course of antibiotics, which ran about $8 or so.
Of course, I’m painting an idealized version here. We were fine; healthy, well-fed, nutrition-conscious and aware as we were, but the situation for the local people was often hugely different. Friends told us that it was safe to go to the National Hospital only if you were already dead, and it’s true that horrific stories came out of that place, which has a children’s graveyard right on site where they bury all those infant mortality statistics.
The kids have been to sports camp every morning this week, coming home sunburnt and sweaty, their excitement segueing into a certain fractiousness by evening. Ilsa’s on a baking spree–right now she is trying her hand at double chocolate cupcakes, and earlier this week it was chocolate chip cookies. Why don’t they ever want to make exciting salads? Why?
I continue to keep Kroger brand generic Advil in good shape financially, but tomorrow I am venturing into darkest suburbia in search of Urgent Care. Tomorrow: I’ll let you know how it goes and also? I’ve been reading, and I’ll share it all with you. No really. No weird fever dreams this time, promise.

June 2008

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