Yesterday I went to the International Travel Clinic to get immunized for Russia. I wasn’t going to do this. I thought I would just take my chances. However, it seemed like there were way too many instances of adoptive parents coming home not feeling well, or not feeling well while in Russia. So, I thought better safe than sorry.
First I sat down with an International Travel specialist. He told me that I needed a Hepatitis A vaccination. I was expecting this. After John’s
experience I was saying “bring it on.” Then he said I should get a polio shot and update my tetanus-diptheria booster. I was O.K. with this. However, I totally wimped out on the Hepatitis B shot which required a 7 month commitment of return visits. He also suggested the Typhoid shot, but after he said that the shot hurts REALLY bad and leaves this big scar. I passed. (O.K. I suppose the typhoid "scar" comment is somewhat of an exaggeration. To be more exact he said it causes- redness, swelling and giant bruising and is very painful. Sounded scar-like to me, but in reality it may or may not leave something permanent.)
Then I was off to the Immunization Clinic. The shot guy came and got me from the waiting room. He was nice, but something about him was seriously wrong. From the time we left my chair to when I sat down in the office he said, “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” five times. I am not exaggerating. I counted. We hadn’t even started the shots yet. I started to change my response from a cheerful “good” to a flat “I’m fine” to make him stop. But nothing was going to stop this boy. No, he continued to ask me how I was doing over and over. Was he not hearing me? I guess seven answers were not enough for him. It was not like he was being reassuring- he was not listening to me or himself. I started giving him the evil eye with a “Stop ASKING me” ESP look. It didn’t work. I wasn’t feeling confident in his abilities to give me my shots. Will he keep repeating the shots too? “Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize that I had already poked you in the arm 10 times…”
After escaping from the Immunization Clinic I loaded up with some Immodium, Cipro (antibiotic) and Ambien (sleeping pills for jet lag) at the pharmacy. I was armed and ready.
I actually did learn a lot from my initial visit with the International Travel specialist doc. He told me that when in Russia I should-
1. Not drink tap water- only bottled water (I knew this, but he said people might try to fool us by giving us refilled bottles full of tap water, so we should check if the lid is securely attached)
2. Say “No ice please” and brush our teeth with bottled water
3. Drink bottled/ canned sodas and juice (I figured out that this was a safe bet, but he suggested always drinking these with a straw because the outside could have been kept in ice or recently rinsed with tap water)
4. Avoid ALL salads and raw vegetables and fruit- Unless the fruit is peel-able (i.e. bananas and oranges would be fine)
5. Avoid ALL milk products (Perhaps Brian
could have used this info.)
6. Avoid buffets
7. Avoid food prepared by street vendors
8. Wear insect repellant with DEET
9. Eat at crowded, popular restaurants
10. Order well-cooked meat, fish, rice and vegetables (eat hot)
11. Eating bread products is safe too.
Thanks to all you sick guys that inspired me to take this trip to the Travel Clinic. I am sorry that your suffering was required to get my butt in gear, but at least you did not suffer in vain.
Labels: traveling to Russia