Travel Talk

Trip to the Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania


The last few days I’ve been feelings somewhat “funky”. There is feeling run down but then there is run down where you have 24/7 heart burn for like 3 days and other things of such nature. Suffice to say there is a juice store in town and I decided to stop in and ask the lady who seemed knowledgeable what juice I should take to feel better. We started chatting, naturally.

Oh yeah, took a dala dala to get there, the infamous “Lloyd Banks” one. See it everywhere, if you know me in RL you’ll know why I like it and the significance of the acronym RL. If you’re in Africa and an empty one comes, opt for the front seat, trust me. If not it will only be a few minutes before you’re crammed into the side by a reasonably salted Spanish sardine.

Long story short, she referred me to a friend of hers that is a Doctor in town. She called him and said “I am sending you a really unhealthy guy, check him out”. I jumped on the back of a motorbike taxi guy and away we went. First the hospital reminded me of the Genocide museum in Cambodia. Extremely basic, so basic that the bathrooms didn’t even have soap or toilet paper. In fact the men’s was a squat and the women’s wasn’t much better. Probably had 10 staff, total. My Doctor was a nice Indian gent.

Dr. wanted to do a blood test, I was apprehensive to say the least. He assured me the needles were clean and that they had been last 15 years. (I saw the take it from a big box of new ones) Also it came as a recommendation so ya, went for it. Turns out I’m still healthy but need to make a serious lifestyle change or continue getting more of the same, only worse and potentially more permanent.

Basically time to take the off-ramp on the highway that is my current lifestyle and casually merge into a new highway going somewhere else, health wise. No more revving too high, going without oil changes and being run to the ground like a dala dala.

Doctor said I’m lucky that I’m still young but if I continue doing the same thing aka not taking care of oneself, the prognosis most likely will not be as good. He hooked me up tidily. Considering I went out to find the bus station to catch the “Dar Express” to Dar Es Salaam in the next few days, random turn of events, yes? He did say “you know what critical decisions mean?” also “Ever heard the expression draw a line in the sand?”. He was friendly but firm.

If I told you this was the first time I’ve had medical advice of this nature, I’d be lying. Usually you feel ill and go into see a Doctor when you can’t take it anymore. A few hours or days later you feel awesome, forget about the prior injustice you’ve done to your body and go with it. This time was different, normally the body will talk to you, this time it was screaming and thrashing like a mental patient freshly restrained before getting a sedative that makes their eyes roll back and and tongue hang dripping saliva.

It’s a new year and I’m getting older(we all are FYI), feeling it too. Also after the last 16 months I’ve had on the road, should be easy to take a new route as this one has become “old hat” and the smooth pavement that used to let my super charged v8 roar is becoming bumpy, to say the least. The hard part is taking the wheel again when you’ve just been riding on auto pilot / cruise control for so long.

There is little point to traveling the entire globe but spending your entire life on the same highway of habits. Travel is about growing, it’s like a micro view of what life is. Those who spend their whole life on the same street or highway miss out on the rest of the city or country.

In about a decade while many that never left this road are having heat attacks, strokes and cancer diagnosis… At that time, there will be another crew of those who feel they never “lived to the fullest” and will begin having mid-life crisis’s and filing divorce papers while buying motorbikes and throwing newborns out with the bath water. Let us not forget the other group that never started a family and start regretting it but realize it’s “too late” / “never going to happen” styles.

According to the coordinates of my recently changed GPS destination… I should be on another highway that is freshly paved in diamonds laughing with the top down while the hair of the lady riding shot gun blows out of control as we laugh hysterically like crazed lunatics about something non-consequential, perhaps even trivial?

It’s odd how when you grow up you have no idea what the future holds. If anyone ever told me that I’d of ended up at that hospital, having that conversation, with that Doctor… I’d of said you were crazy. Need to go back in 5 days for a progress report. There were numerous tests etc… The tests alone only cost $13US. I will note that this guy solidified it. My favorite type of Doctor is from India, not sure why but throughout my life I’ve always preferred Asian Doctors. Same applies for mathematics teachers, fyi.

I used to say travel makes you younger and it does to some extent, you feel excited, you’re happy, you smile…  You’re also not bogged down with routine, no free time and that feeling of “loss of control”. Flip side is, your body is constantly changing sleeping patterns, they aren’t routine, your diet changes and the stress of being “out of you comfort zone” all take toll as well. I’d rather age from that stress then getting the TPS reports done, thank you.

In closing, it doesn’t matter where you are if you aren’t healthy. I remember having a most horrendous throat infection at an all inclusive resort in Panama in say 2007. Everyone was in heaven but I was trapped in my own private hell not even being able to enjoy the all inclusive buffet, it sucked.

Tips hat,

P.S: That is the Genocide museum above, closest thing I have online that reminds me of it. Will snap some shots when I return in ~5 days. Didn’t look like it but, whatever, you’ll see.

P.P.S: When you start feeling really ill abroad and realize you are no longer under your provincial health plans or whatever that you used to be… You realize how lucky you had it before, getting ill is scary.

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