>Travel Tips: Part 2: the Doc

> Ok, this is a shortish but important set of tips that I’ve been meaning to post. And in the ongoing hope that travel for our Gladney families will resume sooner rather than later, I’m gonna post these before I forget again for awhile.

In my opinion, they are critical to the success of traveling to adopt your child. This is a set of suggestions compiled by my dear husband, previously referred to as Prof. To be accurate and in order to provide some creds for this set of tips, from now on he will be called “Doc.”

So. Traveling to Addis Ababa to pick up your child is a rigorous trip in many ways: emotionally, sometimes spiritually, and certainly physically (I mean, 17 hours from DC to Addis, right there, it’s a toughie!). You are not traveling to a resort or vacation experience. You are traveling halfway around the world to a vastly different country. A gorgeous country, a gorgeous continent, with gorgeous culture and people; but make no mistake, this is a tremendously different world and culture and you are not just hopping a shuttle to Jersey!

In order to travel and really enjoy it fully, you need to keep yourself healthy and strong and feeling your best, of course! In order to do this, I think these tips, provided by me personal favorite doc, to be essential.

Medicine: While you can get over the counter meds in Addis Ababa {and I did, for my husband who had a bronchial cough at the end of our trip and the cough medicine I got worked wonderfully} bring some of your own with you. You know the brands and types you like and need and will have them on hand when you might need them. {Of course, bring any Rx meds w/ you in your carry on}. But Doc points out that these listed below are terrific to have on hand and they can make the difference in how well the trip ends up:

Advil or Tylenol
Pepto Bismol (and NOT really Immodium or that sort. The Bismuth in the Bismol actually kills the bugs that make your stomach cramp up and you don’t want your system shut down {which can lead to it’s own problems}, you want the different bacteria dead)
An antibiotic, broad spectrum, like Cipro or Bactrim. Head to a doc before you go and tell them you are traveling to Africa and you would like to have some on hand just in case. They will usually get you a Rx for a small amount, which will be all you might need and a generic version is usually really cheap.

The reason for the Cipro or antibiotic is that if you start having an intestinal reaction to whatever you might have ingested that your system is not used to and it is, um, rebelling, the antibiotic and help knock out those bugs fast too. Doc had us take an antibiotic at the first sign of distress, which only happened a few times, and we only had to take one or two.

He also had us each take two Pepto tablets before each meal, no matter where or what we ate. And while that might seem like overkill or paranoid, it worked for us. Only a very few times did any of us think, “uh-oh, did I eat the wrong thing?” Now, we were very discreet with this practice and worked hard to not be popping them in front of waiters and such; we had no wish to offend. But practically speaking, we have wussy American digestive systems and it is simply that new and different items can easily cause rebellion. Stomach’s often don’t like new things, no matter where those new things are from: fritters from the south or foi gras from France. So, the upshot from the Doc (no pun intended) is do some math and bring plenty of pepto to cover those meals and then maybe some extra, you might end up giving some away and it’s a cheap insurance to help make the trip more comfortable and worry free.

All that said, we ate very well in Addis! Though that, the food, is the subject of another post, I’d say. But the Ethiopian cultural food was very good, (I especially liked the lentils) much better than what we’ve had in the states. And the Beef Tibs are also very good if you go to Dreamland or other places where they have those. So, don’t be scared of eating in Addis, enjoy, but it won’t hurt you to take those Pepto’s and to have those antibiotics and advil as well. A healthy trip and tummy is most certainly a happier trip!

4 thoughts on “>Travel Tips: Part 2: the Doc

  1. >GREAT tips! I’m not sure if you said immodium… I’m pretty sleepy so I may have missed it- and pepto covers some of that, but immodium is my best friend in other countries when I travel :). good job! becca

  2. >Very nice summary sweetie! (I think those are my hands being washed!) A couple of additional points to increase the odds of getting to the end of the trip successfully:It’s probably not the obvious thing that gets most people, it’s the thing that sneaks under your radar.Needless to say, only drink bottled water but be sure to check the seal on the bottle. No seal, don’t drink it. Squeeze the bottle before you break the seal; if it hisses or leaks a little, the seal is broken, don’t drink it.Avoid drinks with ice; that bit about bottled water cubes — right.No smoothies or slushies.”I’ll have the fresh squeezed orange juice” gong! pineapple juice, gong!, tomato juice, gong!, lemonade gong!, iced tea gong!!. Unless you know it comes directly out of a commercial container from which it’s poured in front of you (and then it’s OK), don’t risk the possibility that it’s from concentrate or homemade with water you won’t like later.Don’t confuse American “healthy eating” with third world foreign country “healthy eating”. Not the same — and it’s only a week or two.Canned or commercially bottled anything will be fine. Only eat food that is thoroughly cooked. Thoroughly washed is not good enough and in fact may be the source of problems — the contamination may come from the prep area or water itself.You’re hungry and the waiter brings some tasty little appetizers. You nibble while you scrutinize the menu. Doesn’t matter, you’ve already lost.The main course may be very carefully chosen by you, safe and cooked and then you eat the side or garnish of “that looks interesting” and you’ve just sealed your fate.”But I like salad, and besides it’s good for you.” Gong!!!”I’m just going to eat healthy” Gong! Uncooked thin skinned fruits and fresh vegetables (grapes, tomatoes, apples, pears, zucchini, carrots, lettuce etc., etc, can harbor bacteria under their skin. Even the “good” restaurants are not going to wash them with bottled water. Spam, Oreos, Twinkies and beer will treat you better.If something comes that you are suspicious of, don’t make a stink or even call attention to it, just leave it alone and congratulate yourself for your vigilance and the fact that you’ve avoided getting sick for only the cost of that item — oh how you’ll long for that deal if you miss it on the first pass!Be thankful but not fooled by “this is a good restaurant” Take your pepto capsules before everything you eat or as soon after if you forget no matter where you eat. Ask your PCP for a Ciprofloxacin or Bactrim DS prescription and get it filled to take with you. One or two doses at the very first sign or even preventively if you suddenly realize what you ate is much easier and more effective than trying to get rid of the problem once established. (Do not get Bactrim if any of you have sulfa allergy — get the cipro)and take 8 pepto capsules per person per day with you plus extras to give to the poor fellow travelers who forgot or didn’t know to bring them. Two capsules before every meal or non commercial snack without exception. (Five of us for 11 days; 55 times 8 equals 440 capsules. They come in 48 capsule bottles, consolidate and put them in everybody’s backpack so you always have them. This is one of the secrets we docs use on medical mission trips. Do it and you can just be vigilant not paranoid.It will be an awesome trip, but you will enjoy and experience very little after the moment you get sick — so, an ounce of prevention.God Bless!TLG, M.D.Sweetie, you can publish this or cut and paste to the post if you want or think more folks would see it.ILYT

  3. >PSImmodium is helpful to decrease the frequency of visits to the bathroom, or if one simply has a sensitive system. However, if you have an intestinal infection you defeat your body’s natural attempt to rid you of it partly by decreasing the volume of bacteria in there, and can make yourself less trips but actually sicker longer.TLG, M.D.


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