Vaccinations. Or as they’re known by medical professionals, “pokey ouchie boo boos” are an important step for any traveler and today I am officially swimming with Hep. A, Hep. B, Polio and*Tetanus-diphtheria. My arms are aching but that just means that I’m alive to feel it and one step closer to exploring this world with my man!
I don’t know if this is the Polio talking, but I feel so good! Steps like these really put an exclamation point on a long, run-on sentence on years worth of research and doubt. “What the hell is the Yellow Fever belt? Are we going there? Do we get that?” We didn’t get that, but I am confident in our vaccination choices and only have 2 more jabs to go! Noah’s got 5, hahaha!!
* August 2013 Update: Eff Tetanus. A few hours after I wrote this my arm started aching and it felt like I took the full force of a Mack truck in my right arm. I was in constant pain and couldn’t work, sleep, drive or function normally for 8 days. I’m now convinced that having tetanus is the slowest, most painful way to go out.
We Can Do It!
I do not have buyer’s remorse’s where my shots are concerned but when it’s all said and done we’re looking at $1,500 out of pocket and that’s pretty annoying. I say buyer’s remorse because it is very much a sell. I sat in that little dark office and there were malaria pills on display, steri pens, bottles of deet. She handed me a price-guide that covers all the shots they offer and at the bottom were things like inflatable neck pillows and luggage straps. You come for the shots, but stay for the $30.00 mini hair dryer! This is like a medical Wal-mart.
My nurse was very sweet and surprisingly not trying to give me a hard sell when I said I’d opt out of taking Malaria pills here in the states but she still managed to be both informative and scary. Noah was scheduled to be there with me at this consultation but couldn’t because of an important meeting at work and I’m so glad he wasn’t there (there are no coincidences) so my job is to now soft-ball what I learned in that office to him. Love you Noah, but we’d leave that office and you’d be convinced that you have all the symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wanna play around with our health and there are still some shots we plan to get, just not here. Time and time again I am shocked at how cheap medical care is in a place like South East Asia (our second stop) and I’m so thankful to the travelers that have gone before us and shared their stories of Medical Tourism. When I first thought of getting shots abroad, images of rusty scalpels and foot peddled drills came to mind (ya’know, like a dentist? Nightmare scenarios don’t always make sense) but after years of reading about other long term traveler experiences and hearing first hand about the care, cost and facilities (via the panels at Meet, Plan, Go and travel blogs) I am so glad they set me straight! I’m frankly a little embarrassed that I equated cheaper with dirty and not up to par. It’s pure habit to think that country xyz isn’t America A-ok. Like generic cereal to name brand stuff! In the end, it’s all same, same.
To test the same-same theory though (I have a tendency to not believe everything I read or hear.) I made sure to ask my nurse about getting Japanese Encephalitis (JE) over in Bangkok and asked if the same strain is administered everywhere in the world. It is. So, it looks like we’ll be getting “ouchie boo booed” a few more times on the road.
For comparison sake, if we were going to get JE here it would cost us $1,200. But, because we’re overcoming our “brand x” fears we’ll be getting poked in Bangkok (Phrasing!) for a mere $60.00.
And lastly, just because I like to beat a dead horse, I’ll use Johnny Vagabond’s post,“How I saved hundreds on travel shots “ vs. the price guide I received from the Health clinic today:
Granted, his numbers are from 2010 so we’ll add for inflation but… dammit, in mid thought I’m regretting getting so many shots here. I’ll just chalk that up to Hep. A talking because what’s done is done and a side-effect of these shots is that I’m now immune to my own self-doubt! In just a mere 7 months we’ll be (healthily) strolling along the white sand beaches and I couldn’t feel more blessed. On to the next adventure!