October 21, 2009

I could still get Dengue Fever!

Omen or not, I fainted at the Infectious Disease Clinic today. During (or after) the third shot, I felt the blackness racing up my spine. I thought about saying something to the nurse, but nothing came out. Instead, a reckless dream of flashing lights and Cambodian marsh whizzed before my rolled-back eyes as I slumped off the table to the floor. The unconscious bliss was interrupted by the reality of low pile carpet and a rampant sweat. The nurse posed the question Are you okay as though it was normal for people to just fall off things and collapse in a puddle of sweat. When I realized where I was, what had happened, and the horrible feeling all over my body I was so disappointed. I was hoping that the last time I fainted was a fluke, and that this time would be a glorious show of my mind-body control. Not at all.

On the bright side, I got the big three: typhoid, Hep A, and a tetanus booster, out of the way. From the ground, the possibility of yet another shot (the flu shot) made me wish I had hit my head on something on the way down. I lie there, staring up at the ceiling, wishing that unconsciousness had lasted a little longer, for now I was shaking and sweating to a miserable heartbeat as the nurse took my blood pressure. She brought me a root beer to calm my shakes, and brought Takeshi in from the waiting room. The combination of root beer, my boyfriend, and overwhelming embarrassment took me over the edge: I hunched over the blue barf bag and with awesome precision, unloaded my breakfast and the root beer into the little blue bag as Takeshi made awkward small talk with the nurse.

Thoroughly inoculated, though not against influenza, I was wheeled out of the clinic in a rickshaw--I mean--a wheelchair. Rolling past the patient waiting in the lobby, I enjoyed the pure anguish on his face as I feigned another bout of nausea.

I'm going to have to be a little tougher if I want to conquer the Mekong.