Health Problems…

8/3/10

I spent the past two days huddled over a toilet, praying that I’d be able to make the pathetically short journey between my new porcelain throne and my infirmary bed. Ashley, my hutmate, and I got sick at almost exactly the same time. I had barely seen her off onto the Peace Corps RV when I found myself with an 103 fever and an absurd desire to sleep in the pit latrine because then I won’t have to move to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, Tondi, the director of PC Pre-Service Training, came once again to our house and picked me up before I resorted to sleeping with the roaches.

Tondi drove us to the Peace Corps Bureau in Niamey where we did every sort of test possible and finally determined that both of us had amoebas, a type of parasite. They put us on so many pills, I felt like I needed one of those pill kits that every grandparent in the U.S. seems to own.

I found myself thinking about my baby host sister who had been showing the same sort of symptoms that Ashley and I had. She definitely wasn’t getting the type of care and medications we were getting. My imagination went a bit ahead of me and I imagined us coming back to find her dead, the inequality in our health care having taken her life.

Thankfully, she was fine and feeling much better by the time we got back. But it definitely made me think about the drastic differences in health care according to ones nationality and money. I remember reading about Paul Farmer, a doctor who has opened up hospitals in Haiti and Rwanda with the idea that good health is a basic human right that shouldn’t be subject to financial constraints. I can better understand where he’s coming from. I don’t know what I would have done if she had died…