01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: Self Diagnosis and still raining... 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Self Diagnosis and still raining...

On Friday night, at a slightly eccentric fund raiser for the Rhino Ark Trust/Rhino Charge, I met two people who said they read my blog prior to moving to Kenya saying it was good to read the perspective of a 'normal' expat in Kenya.  I think that once they are settled in, they stop reading, however it was a pretty nice feeling, but it reminded me that I haven't been very good about updating this of late.

There's not so much to report.  I had a tummy bug last week that made me more cranky and shouty than usual.  I knew it must be giardiasis as, over the past eleven years, I've had it a few times before and it feels exactly like you are in the early stages of pregnancy.  i.e. general nausea - all the time.  When you mention you are not feeling 100% friends say 'Oh my, are you really sure you're not pregnant?'  and you have to stop and think - 'of course not'..... but then think, what if there was a million to one chance I am because while I know I can't be, I have been pregnant 3 times and that is exactly what it feels like!!'  It's all agony.  I'm not alone because I've mentioned to one or two people how giardiasis is like pregnancy and they say, 'I KNOW - Gives you a heart attack doesn't it!'

Tummy bugs here are as common as coughs and colds are in England - though I have to admit, it's been a while since my last bout.  I wrongly or rightly blame the wet weather.  I often find tummy things are more widespread then.  My husband, who gets bugs more often than me, complains that I am totally unsympathetic and aways tell him to wait it out, meanwhile when I get ill, I am headed straight off down to the chemist.

What is odd is that here in Kenya you don't need a prescription to buy medicine, so while I don't necessarily recommend it, people who have lived here for some time and get tired of carrying around stool samples in paper bags, tend to swerve the doctor and self-diagnose (with the help of the pharmacist).  I guess this is a dangerous roulette to play, but is good when it works out.  This time I got ill one weekend, took cyprofloxacin (for bacterial stomach complaints), got better for 5 days, then a week later felt ill again (the nausea) so took Gabboral.  Now I am fully cured (fingers crossed) and fortunately definitely not pregnant - so, a sigh of relief all round.  I know, you may think I am mad, but really, everyone does this from time to time, mostly to save time and money.

Buying medicines over the counter means I can buy good imported US exczema cream for my sister in England whenever she needs it and as a family we can carry treatment for malaria on safari 'just in case'.  Often we can buy drugs such as anti-malarials cheaper here too, so for visitors it's worth enquiring how much the pills cost locally before forking out hundreds of pounds/dollars on prophylactics overseas. 

On other news, it's still raining.  Often we have sunny days but it regularly pours at night.  Since living over here, I have always had a terrible guilt about the poor nightwatchman outside.  They are there when you cook a delicious supper, knocking at the kitchen window asking for light bulbs when you least expect it, opening the gate and on duty in the rain.  I'm pretty sure that it being a nightwatchman must be the most sucky job in the world.  When we lived in Tanzania I used to give the guys mosquito repellent and a flask of tea, made just before we went to bed, every night.  4 years of; 'Have you made the tea yet?' just as we rolled off to bed became quite a chore.  Now I buy 4 kilos of sugar and 200 teabags a month and they do it themselves.  Though there are lots of dry places for Safari and Barnabas to shelter, on nights when it rains I lie awake and wince. 

Having said that, last week at the supermarket car park I was recognised by a KK guard who said he knew me because he has worked a few nights relief shift at our place (I have to admit shamefacedly, I didn't really recognise him back).

I said, 'lucky you, you work during the day now! It must be much better and more interesting?'
He said, 'No, I much prefer nights.  Night work is better because then you have your afternoons!  I keep asking to change my shift but they won't let me.'
I now stand corrected.

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