Splette's Travel Blog
  • Health
  • April16th

    X-ray of my teeth. Puzzle Picture: Find the healthy tooth!
    Yep, it’s been a little while since I last saw a dentist’s office from the inside. About a year and a half ago, before I left Germany. My teeth have been a little over-sensitive lately, so I figured it may be a good idea to visit a dentist before I leave on my two-month trip to the US and Europe in a week. Turns out, it was the right decision. In fact I should have come earlier. Like a year ago. Well, my Spanish is still at the level of a toddler (except for some special vocabulary such as cerveza or que rico!) but when the dentist vigilantly went through my mouth one tooth at a time and repeatedly kept saying ‘la caries‘ to her assistant I knew that can’t be good. She then started fixing the first tooth and later sent me to get the above X-ray done and gave me three more appointments this coming week.

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  • August1st

    Thanks everyone for having a close look at my disgusting wound and for giving me your expert opinions…
    It’s not that I don’t trust you… but just to be on the safe side I decided to see a doctor in Granada. I walked into a clinic, more or less randomly and asked the receptionist ¿Habla usted Inglés?. She shakes her head and asks in Spanish what I came for. I point to the wound on my ankle and ask ¿Possible leishmania?. She understands my concern and calls the doctor – on her mobile phone. The whole reception area of the clinic looked more like a hotel lobby. I didn’t see any doctors here either. She indicates me to follow her and to my surprise we leave the building and walk down the street. About 150 m away is the actual office of the doctor she called. It seems like this is a slow day for his business. There were no other patients. I can’t remember when was the last time I got to see a doctor right away without any waiting time. He greets me with a friendly smile and shakes my hand. Do you speak English? Nope. It also appeared he did not understand a single word of English, so during the 30 min meeting I relied heavily on my non-existing Spanish skills and ‘sign language’. The first thing I noticed when entering his office was how cramped and messy it was. It seemed more like an evidence room: Stacks of folders randomly distributed throughout the room, boxes, medical tools, etc. The highlight however was a large tapestry of Ariel, the little mermaid. How random. And creepy.

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  • July30th

    Looks like I got my first exotic parasitic disease. ….or not?

    A few days ago, I felt a strong itch on my ankle and scratched it hard until it started bleeding. I thought this was just another of those annoying mosquito bites. But the wound, about the size of a finger nail, didn’t show any sign of healing since then. Yesterday I had a closer look at it and it seems to resemble the symptoms of one of those tropical diseases not uncommon here in Central America: leishmaniasis. It is being contracted by the bite of certain species of sand fly that injects protozoan parasites (Leishmania) into the wound. The main symptoms of the resulting disease, Leishmaniasis are skin lesions at the location of the bite. I am concerned because I have been bitten by plenty of sand flies over the past month, especially around my ankles.

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  • June1st

    An adult bed bug. (image: United States Department of Health and Human Services)

    Cimex lectularius

    Well, thanks very much for the advice but too late. I got bitten by bed bugs all over my legs. I haven’t caught any of them but I know it was them. There are no mosquitoes here and I have no allergies etc. It started with an itch, now I got red spots all over. Not sure where this first started. Maybe the weird hostel in Albuquerye, NM or the otherwise very nice, shoe-disappearing hostel in Flagstaff, AZ. Either way, I hope I won’t be carrying them with me all over the Americas…

    The last time I remember to be bitten by bed bugs was in the infamous Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong in 2003.

  • January14th

    Vaccination List

    Hmm, that’s going to be a lot of shots…

    Vaccination time, yeah!
    As the perfectly-organized German backpacker that I am it will come to you as no surprise that in preperation to this trip I went to the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the university to get my vaccinations sorted out. Vaccinations are great. They are like a firmware upgrade. Splette V1.04 to Splette V1.06!
    When I went to the tropical medicine institute I was hoping for vaccinations of some really exotic diseases such as dracunculiasis (creepy, he?). But the most exotic one I got was just yellow fever. And then there was rabies (in case I get bitten by that Anaconda during a stroll in the Amazon rain forrest…).

    One of my vaccination shots. I was such a brave boy...

    Me getting a couple of shots

    However, I shockingly realized than many of my regular vaccinations had expired over the years. I was especially concerned about Tetanus and Hepatitis B. But also Diphtheria, typhoid fever and polio had expired. Eventually I ended up getting some eight shots or so in three sessions. I feel all upgraded now…

    Vaccination Record

    All done