Down with the Sickness

As much as I tried, I know I wasn’t prepared for everything when we got here. There was so much going on the last month we were in the states and so much new stuff to think about there’s no way I couldn’t have thought of everything.

One thing I was ready for was Tajik Tummy. This cute alliteration translates to “horrible stomach sickness that knocks the life out of you and makes you think you’re dying for a few days/weeks/months.” Everyone warned me about it. The local bacteria is new for most of us. It’s a completely different concoction for our stomachs to get used to. Plus, food standards aren’t the same as in the states so there’s a high likelihood of gastrointestinal distress for westerners.

For those not in the foreign service who may not be used to talking and joking about stomach “issues” let me explain. Pretty much nothing is off-limits when the threat of Tajik Tummy lurks at every meal. It’s part of our everyday lives.

But I was ready. I made sure we had pre-prescribed Z-paks at the ready, color coded purple for me, blue for Sean. I made sure we had lots of anti-diarrhea medicine packed in both our carry-on luggage and UAB. I made sure to only drink water that I was 100% positive was safe. I was ready for the worst.

But then I didn’t get Tajik Tummy. At least not yet.

I got a sinus infection.

And then another.

And another.

And another. This last one got so bad I woke Sean up at 4:00 a.m. having a panic attack that I couldn’t breathe. I burned my Z-pak around round two so I had to fight it with everything I had and of course nothing made event the slightest dent. Monday morning I went right to the Med Unit and got super-extra-extreme strength ibuprofen and was sent home.

In all my worrying about Tajik Tummy I didn’t even stop to think about the air quality in a desert. Hello! Dust much?! Plus there’s construction near us so bad that at night I can see the particles in the flashlight beams. On top of that we are at a higher elevation than I’m used to. It’s not outrageous but 2,316 feet is high compared to Annapolis at 39.

For now it seems to be at bay finally and I’m breathing easier than I have for about four weeks.

Stay away from me Tajik Tummy. I’m not ready for you anymore.

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