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I guess it is actually more correct to say my parasite and I? I will try to write this as gross free as my feeble mind will allow. I assume most of the local guys here will know all about parasites. But for some reason, after spending more than a third of my time in SE Asia since the start of 2006, I didn't know.
Started having some G.I. tract problems very late in January. A pain a bit below my stomach with intermittent diarrhea. For the first few days I just assumed it would pass (no pun intended).
It drags on and I start checking the Internet. I find a lot of articles about travelers diarrhea. Usually treated with ciprofloxacin but the bugs in SEA are supposedly mostly immune to cipro so azithromycin (Zithromax/Zimax) is recommended. I waste a week or so playing with Zithro. Sometimes it seems to help but I later figure out some days are just better than others. So after a couple of discussions with an expat that had suffered the parasite problem twice its off for a stool test.
I arrive at Naga Clinic late afternoon. They give me a little bag with a small pill bottle and wooden tongue depressor to use as a scoop. I walk in the bathroom looking at this little bottle thinking this is going to be interesting. As chance would have it a couldn't make a sample so I take the kit and come back to my hotel.
The next day and the following day I don't need to go all day. Hallelujah, I have been cured. In fact I think maybe I now have the opposite problem. But later that night it's back to reality and the bathroom.
7 AM the next morning my stomach wakes me up. I take a sample and head off to Naga around 9 AM. They take the sample and tell me to call back for results around 5:30 PM. I call back at 5:30 and get the report I have the dreaded single cell parasite. I've made occasional fun of amoebas over the years. They apparently have chosen now to get even. You can get a stool test at Naga without seeing a doctor. The total damage for the test was $28.
Next morning I have an appointment with a doctor at Naga. I only have to wait 10 minutes past the appointment time to see the doc, not bad at all. He is French with a very thick accent. He seemed very competent but I made him repeat a few things with the thick accent. It takes less than 10 minutes for him to give me the script and all the advice/info. No drinking alcohol while on the meds. I also had him check another problem which took a couple of minutes. Total charge for the doctor visit was $30.
I got the script filled at the pharmacy at Naga. Seven days of 2x a day Flagyl (500 mg) and Intetrix. The total cost of the meds $14.54. BTW the Intetrix was very hard on my stomach.
I finished my meds yesterday evening so I can once again tonight. I'm going to paint the town red (rouge) tonight. If you see a totally pissed American out tonight, it could be anyone of us.
In our next medical episode I'll discuss having a fungus infection in a very bad part of your body while on parasite meds. So basically things like walking and other fun things you might do with that area of your body were out. This article will be called '101 fun things to do in your hotel room in PP'. It may take a while to complete as so far there are only three thing on the list...
Can you guys post other other health troubles that you've experienced while in Cambodia?
Several years back I was touring the countryside on a moto with a local and an Aussie. We went to the zoo outside of PP. The next day I had an itchy rash on my hands. I didn't touch anything that I shouldn't have and was told that I probably had ice made of contaminated water. I didn't go get checked out and it lasted a few days.
Back home I saw my primary care doctor and she ran tests for parasites and found nothing.
Yes, me bank account is not very healthy at the moment. Any suggestions?
Every empty bottle is my private crystal ball
Where I gaze into the future
And find nothing there at all.
Some years ago -- a few months back in Belgium from Cambodia -- I had some pain in my belly, comparable to a regular case of belly flue. The pain worsened very rapidly, so a nightly visit from a doctor resulted in a hurried up check at the IC of a nearby hospital.
After some routine checks, I had to stay until the next morning for the specialist to check in. He did a scan.
A few hours later he came to my room, telling me that I had a ball (the size of a fist) of (probably) amoebae inside my liver. Almost certainly from contaminated water or food, or actually anything I've touched (and brought to my mouth). Most likely it had been growing in my body for at least half a year.
He said he needed to do a liver punction to be sure it was amoebae.
Being the coward that I am and not very keen on hospitals and examinations, I asked "Does that hurt?".
He says: "Very." (I hate doctors even more when they're honest for once)
I go: "Oh, I'll come back next week or so, when I'm ehm, mentally prepared."
He replies: "No, you're not."
He: "Because you ain't gonna make it through the weekend." (it was a Thursday)
"You're liver is going to explode any minute now, and you'll be dead in a few hours."
Me: "Let's do a liver punction."
So they tie me to a cross-shaped bed, scan my belly with 3D cameras, and draw a mark just underneath my chestbone.
The doctor whips out a seringe with a rather large, bend needle, and inserts it on that mark, just under my skin.
He tells me they can't sedate my liver, since it has no nerves. But don't worry, the most pain is already behind you (that needle prick was indeed quite painful; rootcanal+ level)
At that point, the two assisting nurses put a leather bit in my mouth, and hold me tight. The doctor picks up a stick, about 15in long, thick as a pencil, with a hook at the end. I'm thinking "uh oh".
The first centimeters you don't feel much (yeah, sedated skin), until the needle hits your liver. Once the liver is punctured, things go very slowly. And extremely painfully. Imagine a bullit penetrating your body, in slow motion.
After a few minutes of pure torture, the doctor retracts and looks at the needle, and says "we have to do it again, you moved". I remember vaguely uttering something like "you motherf^&%er", so I undergo a second bullit.
By the end of the day, they hook me up with two bottles of antibiotics, which are renewed every half hour. This is repeated for the next four days.
After being relieved from the hospital, I have to take further antibiotic pills for the next two months. A final examination reveals the amoebae are completely gone.
So did I and I was disappointed, until I read Guy's thread...Jesus H. Christ, Guy...
Why are the gods such vicious cunts?
Where is the god of tits and wine?
Had amoebic dysentery and didn't realise it until I started shitting blood - was self medicating Cipro and thought the pains would pass soon.
Get checked out by a doctor if the cramps don't go after a week.... Flagyl is the one for it, not Cipro.
Stop feeding the 440 machine.
Crikey I've been battling a parasite and self medicating with cipro on and off for a couple of weeks - and you guys have scared the crap (or what's left of it) out of me!
Re: the rash on the hands - that won't be a parasite. I have known two people to get that in Cambodia, and both times it was a form of toxic poisoning, most likely from eating vegetables doused in fertilisers. Cambodian farmers don't have the greatest grasp on fertiliser application, and have been known to spray it even just before sending to market 'so it looks nice'. And the vietnamese are pretty gung ho with it. It should pass when the stuff wears out of your system....
Don't be too sure of that. You might have had a ring worm infection that's been scratched so much that you don't see the actual infected area anymore. Scratching it will spread it to other, maybe more sensitive body parts. I'd go see a doctor. Even a local one will recognise it immediately and prescribe the correct medication.
Amoebic dysentery can be cleared up very fast if you know what it is, I've had it here too, self medicated it for 3 days before going to a doctor! Worst decision I made in Siem Reap.
Treating something with antibiotics for weeks and not clearing it up is something to think about... See a doctor.
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