I’ve had food poisoning a lot in my life, as noted in my last post, so I’m familiar with the symptoms by now. This latest bout started off feeling like an extreme case of it. The nausea, fever, and vomiting lasted around 48 hours. But the diarrhea (and associated lightheadedness/weakness) has continued since. That’s way longer than food poisoning should last.
Today I went to the Raffles Medical Clinic to get checked out. Raffles is a Singaporean clinic that was recommended to us by the Exchange Coordinators. We’ve only been here six weeks but both Charlotte and Catherine have been to see a Dutch Doctor here (they had rashes that cleared up within a few days with medication – Charlotte’s was staph and Catherine’s was fungal).
To my surprise, the Doctor said that I might have a mild strain of Dengue fever. I don’t remember getting bit by a mosquito but it’s certainly possible. It’s the rainy season and the ‘bad’ mosquitoes have been around. If it is Dengue, there’s not much to do but wait it out. Amoebic dysentery is also a possibility. They sent a stool sample to the lab for the full round of parasite and microbe testing, so if it’s that we’ll know soon and will be able to medicate.
I know it doesn’t make any sense… But I feel relieved that this probably wasn’t food poisoning. Going through that every two to three weeks during my last term in Cambodia was really hard. I felt very out of control. It didn’t seem to matter what I ate – I got sick anyway.
One of my first low points last term was when the MCC team made me chocolate cake for my first birthday in Cambodia. They splurged and made the cake with dairy. I couldn’t eat it because of my allergy so I went out to the western grocery store afterwards where I got a graham cracker crust and tapioca beads to make myself a birthday pie. This birthday treat – made by myself entirely from sealed ingredients purchased at a western style grocery store – gave me terrible food poisoning. This was a routine experience for my first two years – I never was able to deduce why I got food poisoning and, as such, was never able to avoid it.
In any case, that’s why I feel some relief that what I’m experiencing now might be diagnosable. I know it doesn’t actually make sense to be relieved that I might have a disease rather than just food poisoning, but it gives a sense of control. Okay! This can be treated!