Map of the Americas

Map of the Americas
We are using this map to find our way home. We will be marking where we are in big fat red marker like Indiana Jones. (map idea courtesy of Blake Golden)

Thursday, February 14, 2008


So I´m not sure what kind of immune system I´ve got. Good? Bad? Militant? Prankful? Just not sure. Obviously it is a mix of my mom´s and dad´s, but I really just can´t figure out why it does what it does. I know that sounds kind of funny to open a blog up with, but see I´ve been sick for the past five days. And for that reason, I haven´t blogged like I said I was going to. For four of those days I had fever of about 100.5-101.5. Not like part of the day either, but for 96 hours straight. I did not feel good. I checked my email and such, but if I had written something I feel only Sylvia Plath may have enjoyed reading it before she sticking her head in the oven, or was that the Wolfe girl.

But now I´m feeling much better. This whole day I have felt back in my usual spirits. So I decided to go to work this morning with a doctor that I´ve been introduced to here in Iquitos, Peru. Well we are seeing patients and all and one comes in complaining of headache, muscle cramps, fever, abdominal pain, lack of energy, and paleness since Saturday. Now I am almost laughing out loud because those were all my symptoms! Then the doctor says to her, you probably have Dengue Fever. Now that thought had definitely crossed my mind because it is endemic here, but it is still rare. I was looking at the charts and it was like 5-10 people each week get it at this clinic that sees, what? over 1000 patients a week?

So I take the girl to the lab and she starts testing for Dengue. The test for Dengue is they put a blood pressure cuff on your arm, inflate it to more than half of your average blood pressure, then they keep it there for five minutes to build pressure, and then they take it off, if you have more than 20 petechiae (little bits of blood under your skin) you have Dengue. While we are waiting I ask the nurse about this test because we don´t see Dengue in The States. The nurse tells me that it´s an excellent test but you have to be between days 5 and 7 of the illness. And I´m thinking, ¨My fever started Saturday making this 1,2,3,4, dangit the 5th day. But I´m all right now, I feel good, can´t have Dengue.¨ Well she does it and her test turns out negative. I then tell the nurse what happened to me thinking it was funny it was the same as this patient, and she tells me to sit down cause we´re checking for it. (Apparently they have a Dengue study going on and need all the samples they can it.) Well so they inflate the cuff and after what seemed like an eon but turned out to be 35 seconds, my hand was fast asleep, and after what seemed like forever but turned out to be five minutes, she took off the cuff. I look down and see what could have been an army of at least 50 petechiae! Diagnosis: ¨+¨

Well now what I said about my immune system earlier being a prankster is because I feel this is all a joke. Here I am in my last year of medical school learning about these rare infections of sorts but treating all the common colds, bugs, and diarrheas of the world. I am a healthy person. At one point I went seven years without throwing up. Yes all of high school and three years of college without throwing up one time! Sometimes during that stretch I wanted to throw up just to remember what it felt like. (Probably on the list of worst desires ever.) I never get the commmon cold, I never take ¨sick days.¨ It just doesn´t happen unless something rare happens. I got a Urinary Tract Infection my senior year of college. Sounds simple right? Wrong, UTIs in 20 year old healthy males are almost unheard of. I´ve had four since starting medical school. What else have I had? Shingles. The same shingles you get if you are over 65 or have late HIV. So weird. What else since medical school started? Malaria. (Which I might add hear that Dengue is like a 10k compared to Brad Denney and I´s Malaria marathon.) And now Dengue Fever.

Maybe the med students who read this post will enjoy it more, maybe you enjoyed it, but it was on my mind, and I felt I needed to explain why I hadn´t written in a while.

I have a new plan for the blog that I´m excited about! I´ll show yall tomorrow or the next day!

Blog Points:
1. Riding down the river that we spent nearly 6 days on boats riding down, we passed what looked like a hotel on a boat. Someone pretty witty must have painted the name of it´s front, as it read ¨Floatel¨.

2. I called home a few weeks ago to talk with the folks, and when I dialed the number I dialed the following 0012059675859. (Now that is my mom and dad´s number. No Prank Calls!) After dialing the 001 a light popped up saying United States, and I thought, wow what a smart phone. After dialing 205 another word popped up. Was it Alabama? No. Apparently phones can spell well or are a bit confused on geography because it came up as United States: Alejandria. Though Alejandria does have a good ring to it...

3. This is good. I saw a brand of children´s underwear the other day. They were wrapped and packaged about like you would see Fruit of the Loom or Hanes in the States. There was a picture of this kid, a little bit chubby, probably 12 years old, wearing nothing but his briefs on the front of the package. What was the name of this underwear brand? I think Poot of the Doom or Stains, anything would have been cuter than what it was. The brandname was Stripper.


JD said...


don't worry. i've already called the state department and told them you're carrying a highly contagious form of ebola.

enjoy customs!


glenn said...

Vomiting, rare diseases, child pornography, your parents phone number... yep, this post had it all.


Merrill Stewart said...

You need to start keeping a scrapbook to show your grandkids one day titled: "All the weird diseases your Stewart has had"