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Merry Christmas, you have typhoid.

by becca on December 25, 2009


At some point a few weeks ago I started feelling really tired, nauseous and just overall not right. I suffered through Mae Hong Son and lounged around Pai for a few days before finally going to a local night clinic. The doctor told me to go see him at the hospital the next morning and get my blood tested, so at 9am Nate accompanied me to the small hospital, connected by breeze ways and open air waiting rooms. I had my blood drawn and saw the doctor in under an hour. As he looked at the computer with my lab results, he said, “You have Typhoid.”

Typhoid is an illness spread through bacteria found in water and food. It’s likely that I ate something that had been sitting out or washed with not-so-clean water before I bought it. As to where that happened, I have no clue – could have been anywhere really.

But, wait. No way. That’s not possible, I got immunized before I left. In fact, between Nate and I we paid almost $600 for advice, vaccines and medications to take with us just in case. But the docotor said that often times, people will get the typhoid vaccine for the European strand instead of the Asian strand. Though dear ole Wikipedia says that even the correct vaccine is only 50-80% effective.

At this point, all we could do was laugh in disbelief, which confused the Thai doctor. But as far as we were concerned, everything would be ok. I didn’t have a parasite (gross) or something incurable (scary), and with medicine this early in the life of the bacteria, it wouldn’t progress to the point where I would be stuck in bed with a 104 degree fever and some other nasty symtoms.


An hour and a half after we arrived, I recieved my medications, a total of five different kinds (including two antibotics which made me more sick than the typhoid). The whole affair cost 609 baht which is roughly $20.

It’s been nine days since I was diagnosed. The medicine has stopped making me sick and I’m feeling like myself again. The irony of it all is that the vaccine we paid for in New York (that didn’t work) cost $65, over three times what it cost to diagnose and treat the infection in Thailand.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

embolee 01.01.10 at 11:39 am

beeka!!!!! i am so sorry to hear about this! i cannot believe it. i hope you are feeling better soon. well happy new year and much love bud. 🙂

Jay 01.01.10 at 6:36 pm

Just now catching up on your postings. I am sorry that you are under the weather but know that you will be fine. Your postings and photos are great………..I have a old friend and successful business owner in Bangkok. Please let me know if you need anything at all. He would do anything to help.

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