Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Medical Experiments

As part of the moving-to-Conakry process I got my shots started on Friday - rabies, yellow fever, and hepatitis A and B. More rabies, polio, meningitis and typhoid are still to come, and possibly one or two others I've forgotten. Take that, nasty tropical diseases!

It's not good to be too cocky though, as Guinea teems with plenty of other unpleasant microorganisms who cannot be simply vaccinated away. However, modern medicine is working on those too, so I also got to try out some anti-malarials this weekend - a free sample of mefloquine to see how my sanity would bear it. I approached this experiment with some trepidation, as mefloquine has a reputation for unpleasant neurological side effects. For example, if you start the This American Life episode below at 36:00 you can hear the tale of a Fulbright scholar who lost his memory to mefloquine in India. (He did, eventually, get most of it back.)

So far my sanity seems to have remained intact, though admittedly I may not be the best judge. I didn't even have any particularly vivid or interesting dreams, though my dreams have always been a little on the weird side to begin with. Still, can't we just take care of this pesky malaria problem the old-fashioned way, the civilized way, with gin and tonics?


  1. I started mine last week too and my arm is still sore from yellow fever. I'm not looking forward to getting even more this week.

    I hadn't thought of testing out the mefloquine beforehand. What a great idea!

  2. Credit for that bit of brilliance goes to Nurse Kathy at FSI, whom I also love for her sharp needles and light touch.