When I travel, I often feel in a parallel world, a world where I can do things I would not dare to do in the ordinary world. Take for example how easily I take my kids for a 14-hour ride?
I can also ride a motorbike, which in real life would seem scary, dangerous and stupid.
Everything feels a bit like a game.
The game and the parallel world disappear as soon as someone is sick.
Suddenly the fantasy world is gone and only anxiety remains followed by the question
“What should I do now?”
I have encountered quite a few situations during my travels.
The first time my son Guy was sick in India, he had a very high fever and hallucinations while sleeping. Lots of scenarios went through my head and lots of guilt too.
At the end it was a case of simple tonsillitis that I treated with antibiotics and rest, he was recovered quite quickly.
My daughter Rotem woke us up in the middle of the night, crying with a toothache. At the time we were in Hampi (a small village in the state of Karnataka, South India), We found ourselves going to a dubious dentist, in a big, dirty Indian city.
Rotem went through a root canal under partial anaesthesia, while screaming constantly
for an hour and a half, not at all pleasant but it happens.
Oren, my partner, got a burn from an old Indian motorbike exhaust (one of the most common injuries in India).
The wound got quite infected, Oren developed a fever and felt terrible.
I was the responsible physician, the spouse, and the only responsible adult with three young children.
Injuries and illnesses are part of life, and part of the trip.
So what do I suggest you do?
If you make sure to prepare properly, you can travel almost anywhere and get an effective medical response when it’s necessary.
How to prepare for your trip:
1. Have a set of medications and first aid (a link) available and ready if necessary.
2. When you reach a new place in your travels, find out where is a good clinic, where is the nearest hospital (in case of an emergency), where is the recommended hospital (in a case you can travel a little further to receive a better treatment), and how to call an ambulance.
3. In a medical emergency, contact a local physician immediately.
4. Contact your insurance as soon as possible to inform them about the situation and get their guidance. The insurance company will be able to start with immediate help if necessary, and maybe guide you as to where is the best place to go to.
You should make sure you know in advance how to make immediate contact with the insurance if necessary, the worst thing is to start looking through your paperwork when you are under pressure.
Most importantly, if someone is sick or wounded, take a deep breath and calm down.
Think about what you would do in a similar situation if you were back home,
and act accordingly.
Remember that even on a trip and even if you are in an underdeveloped country,
the high fever will most likely NOT be malaria, and the diarrhoea will pass by itself.
Wishing you all a pleasant and healthy trip.