In 1992 the world was introduced to the Hepatitis A vaccine. Being born in 1979, I didn’t receive one. My ignorance of the vaccination and my need for it reared its head during my visit to my physician in 2004, about a month before my two-week trip to Brazil.
One of three stops along my journey was Manaus. I was slated to spend just two days and one night in Manaus. Late June had produced a large amount of rainfall. The first afternoon there, I went for a swim in one of the many lakes in region.
Manaus was a very nice locale with beautiful landscapes and extraordinary architecture and the citizens there were amazing. I enjoyed myself very much. My trip ended days later in Rio de Janeiro and I flew back home to the states. A couple of weeks later I began to feel awful. My head throbbed, I was nauseated and I was running a slight fever.
I assumed it was the flu. I trudged through about three days before my fever spiked to over one hundred and three degrees. My Emergency Room trip yielded a surprise. What I thought was influenza turned out to be Hepatitis A. I should have gone for more than just the Yellow Fever and Malaria vaccines after all.
I was extremely dismayed and quite panicked to learn that the only treatment they could give to me was merely palliative. The doctor told me that I could be dealing with this virus for a long time, maybe even several months. From the Emergency Room, I went straight to the pharmacy and then home.
The next six weeks were a literal Hell.
My fever continuously spiked, sometimes as high as one hundred and four degrees, as well as dropping. The sweating and chills were horrible. The body aches were just as extreme. I shifted from freezing cold to baking in my own skin in a matter of seconds.
To make matters worse, the nausea had increased and I was suffering from diarrhea. I struggled to stay hydrated, drinking at least a case of sixty four once bottles of Gatorade and dozens of bottles of water a week for six weeks straight.
For six long and brutal weeks my body’s cells were pummeled by the virus. Slowly, after week six, my fever began to quell and stay quelled. I lingered around one hundred degrees for a few days before finally maintaining sub-one hundred degrees after. My bowels began to regulate better, which was not without its own problems.
All-in-all, I lost 20 pounds and for two months after my gastric system still had issues with certain foods and beverages.
The moral of my story is this: when it comes to travelling to foreign countries, always always always make sure you are vaccinated for as many illnesses and diseases as possible. I went into the doctor’s office for a Yellow Fever and Malaria vaccine. Almost four months later, I understood the importance of being thorough.