Being Erin’s travel companion to Gambia in 2007, I already know all too well what can happen to a young healthy woman when travelling throughout a country far from home…
On our last adventure, Erin became very ill with Typhoid Fever, aka “boil of the intestine”. Now, I’ll let you all google it so you can read step by step, on your own, the torture Erin experienced during this time… She contracted this via a sewage splash (don’t ask) 2 days before the end of our trip, while we were holidaying in Senegal. Luckily, when she was at her worst (i.e. actually unable to ambulate with fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (sorry Erin, they need to know!)) we had gotten her on the plane home (transiting through London for a night). So we arrived in London, threw Erin in a wheelchair (in this process I set down my beautiful African painting and subsequently lost it by the way) and took her to the local Emergency Dept. where they took very good care of Erin with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Erin continued to be ill for a several weeks after this, as Typhoid Fever is not a quickly passing illness.
So you’re thinking “sure, we have all had gastrointestinal (GI) illness before”. But I assure you, some of these illnesses (such as Typhoid) can be life-threatening. Even more life threatening when you are already dehydrated, exposed to extreme heat/humidity and have been running in these conditions!
Some of the other health issues that Erin may be exposed to are: heat stroke/heat related illness, severe dehydration, Malaria, TB, Yellow Fever, Cholera, Meningitis, and many GI bugs that may make her ill.
Currently I am working on what exactly I need to do to get everything set up so I will have the supplies we may need for Erin as well as set up contacts for further health care if she becomes too ill and I cannot treat her. Because, like the photo, I want Erin to be able to spend her spare time hugging trees, not toilet bowls (if we find one). I’d also like to keep any paintings I may buy this time around!