Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Preparing for Haiti: Travel Clinic

I've been waiting a couple of days to post anything about Haiti, because I wanted to tell my mother in person. A blog entry is no way to find out your daughter is going to spend a week in Haiti.  Mom knows now, so now I can write about it to my heart's content.

As you may have read in yesterday's entry I am going (in part) through work. This is great news because I know most of the people I am traveling with, and one of the nurses going is a close friend of mine.

Yesterday I went to the Boston Medical Center Travel Clinic to start my medical preparations for the trip.

I can not recommend this place enough if you are planning a trip to a country with any health warnings. The Travel Clinic was clean and pleasant. The waiting room was very spacious. And every single person I interacted with from the moment I stepped through the door was friendly and helpful.

The nurse who took my vital signs was actually from Haiti. She asked where I was traveling and she thanked me, shyly, for going. I didn't know quite how to respond to that. I (shyly) told her I was scared but looking forward to being there. Which is the truth. 

Then I met Dr. Thea. He greeted me with a smile, asked where I was going and then asked some other questions about my life. He then asked if I wanted to ask questions first, or hear his "spiel." I opted for the spiel. He was well prepared with a small lecture on the diseases to watch out for in Haiti, including symptoms, pathology and treatments. 
Basically he reassured me that there is almost nothing medically that can go wrong on my trip.*

Meeting with Dr. Thea was great. He took a lot time to explain all his recommendations to me, and let me ask as many questions as I wanted. 

Next I headed to the lab, where I met a student doing a research project, a phlebotomist, and the nurse who gave me my vaccinations. We all chatted about our connections, strangely enough to BHCHP. 

For those of you who are curious, I'm going to write a bit about the precautions I've taken, and by proxy some of the dangers. So Mom... consider this one fair warning!

Here is what the Travel Clinic helped me with:

-  Hepatitis A vaccine. 
   Got this one yesterday. Pretty sure I already got this, in order to go to nursing school. It's 90% effective with the
   first dose.  So I'm considering this one a booster.

- Typhoid Vaccine
   Started this one yesterday. It's actually a series of four pills. The capsules contain live attenuated bacteria, so I
   have to keep them in the refrigerator. I am fascinated by the little pills and the orange brochure with a smiling capsule on the front which explains how to administer the doses effectively.

- Anti Malaria Pills
 I am taking a four week course of chloroquine. I feel confident in this choice of antimalarial agent because according to my own research into the subject this is the best tested and safest of them all. And the least expensive!

- Antibiotics
  I got a prescription filled today for some antibiotics to take with me in the event of traveler's diarrhea. Dr. Thea   explained the different types of diarrhea and what I can expect to do if it's not a bacterial case.

Additionally, I have already completed not one but two Hep B vaccination series in my lifetime and all my routine vaccinations are up to date, including tetanus.  The only other recommendation Dr. Thea had was to purchase an insecticide treated mosquito net for my sleeping quarters. I'm agreeable to the idea, but for now  I'm waiting to hear back from the first group about where they're sleeping before I decide on which net to order online.

* This sentence has been censored and edited to protect my mother from going crazy when she reads this entry.

No comments: