So the day after my last post, I contracted one of the most unpleasant non-life threatening diseases I have dealt with in my 21-year life: the stomach flu. It’s a combination of every other disease in one and incapacitates you for at least a week. But it did get me thinking about an important topic: what it’s like to get sick here.
Illness while abroad isn’t rare. Almost everyone contracts something related to the change in diet, climate, or jet lag. Longer-term sickness however, can be especially unpleasant, because anything familiar is not readily available to you. You could be lucky and be in a 5-star resort somewhere similar to the United States. Or, you could be in a hut in the middle of the jungle. When you travel, you roll the dice.
Turkey is a relatively easy place to get sick in, mainly because of their widespread pharmacy system. Like their US counterparts, they stock all kinds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs for all symptoms and ailments. However, they also all have a licensed physician that’s able to diagnose you on-scene. For those of us who don’t speak Turkish, it’s some miming and pointing, but it’s a fairly easy and accurate process.
The downside to this country is the food. Turkish food is not cooked for queasy stomachs- so if you’re like me and have a digestive system at war with itself, you’re scrambling for every meal. Bananas and crackers are easy to get, and water is plentiful. But full meals are usually spicy or involve dairy, the two things you’re supposed to stay away from. Luckily the other guys helped me find pasta delivery and whole roasted chickens to help me survive.
I’m also blessed by the lax academic atmosphere. I had the ability to skip all my classes this week (which was necessary) and it won’t matter one bit. No missed (necessary) notes, no missed assignments, no GPA drops. Thankfully, no midterms were scheduled, but a quick email would have had me taking them at a later date.