Ear Infections Abroad and Dealing with Them

A very slow waterslide in Pacific Harbor

My friend Alicia and I are on our own in Fiji now that my parents and sister have returned home. Lingering in Korotogo for one more night, we drank the overalcoholic local rum called Bounty (which gets more painful with each sip) and browsed two Fiji guidebooks for advice on SCUBA diving and lodging for cheapskates.

The next morning, after scraping a rough plan in the sand, we took a snazzy air conditioned bus from Korotogo to Pacific harbor with the idea that we would be doing some diving. Arriving late in the morning, we checked into the cheapest accommodation around, Tsulu apartments above the cultural center of town, and began a walking journey to the two nearby diving companies so we could compare prices.

I was worried about my ear, since I awoke that morning with a feeling of soreness in my left hand aural cavity. I just slept on it funny, I thought, but the problem persisted no matter the incident angle between skull and pillow. I expressed my concern with Alicia, saying “There is no way I am diving tomorrow if my ear is still hurting.” Diving is a game of pressure balance with your air-filled cavities, and so it is ill advised to head down unless your eyes and ears and mouth and nose are in good working order. Continue reading

Migrant Medicine: Vaccines and Pills

Drugs, Chemicals, Bandages

Part of going to faraway, perhaps less civilized lands, is the need to prevent contracting a whole bunch of diseases. Where water is cloudy, where insects bite, where food is prepared with the same hands that wipe butts are places where harsh bacteria, viruses and other parasites concentrate and try to kill us all. Fortunately, this age where equally harsh drugs and a bit of mental preparation can be employed to see a traveler thrive in a less-than-health-conscious place. Continue reading