Friday, January 23, 2009

Whooping Cough Exposure

It seems like I just can't find a sane place to be. If I'm not being shot at in Guatemala, I'm being exposed to whooping cough at the elementary school I'm interning at in the States.

According to the CDC, Pertussis (or Whooping Cough) "causes severe coughing spells, vomiting, and disturbed sleep. It can also "lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures and passing out from violent coughing." Rib fractures? Are you kidding me?

Anyway, one child was pulled from my room yesterday and positively diagnosed. Another person tested positive a week or so ago.

The pertussis bacteria is spread through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs. In an elementary school, the air is rife with little cough droplets. Time for a little cover your mouth health presentation!

As I cannot have the Tdap (I've had a tetanus shot in the last two years), I am stuck washing my hands incessantly, avoiding sneezing and coughing kids, and breaking out the face masks as a last resort. Life is never boring here!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Return from Guatemala

So, I'm back from Guatemala. My posts have been really erratic, which, unfortunately, I can't just blame on being gone. I could try to blame them on a horrible case of food poisoning on the small island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua, or the frantic rush to get my few remaining belongings and I through the protests and riots in Managua in time for my flight, but that wouldn't be totally honest. Instead, I'll just chalk it up to the crazy fun of everyday life, and typical procrastination.

Aside from an intestinal worm picked up from some bad juice on Ometepe and some lingering after effects from being shot at, I'm happy and healthy. I'm enjoying the cold, fresh water that can actually be drunk straight from the tap, and the lack of bedbugs and fleas. It's amazing how one case of bedbugs can really mess up a trip! You have to wash all of your clothes, break out the flea powder and bug spray, and avoid the classic cheek kiss used for greeting until you are bedbug and flea free. There is nothing like coming home to your own bed!

I really miss my host family and the baby. They were so incredibly sweet and kind to me. They made sure I always felt comfortable, and included me in all of the family events. I got to learn how to dance Marimba, and the grandma taught me how to wash my clothes by hand and grind rice for tamales. I will be forever grateful to them for keeping me sane and healthy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crazy things I've done (and have yet to regret)

I keep seeing this list circling around the Internet, and thought I would finally join in. Italicized items are the ones that I've done.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (while sleeping on my front lawn)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain (and a volcano)
9. Held a praying mantis (and, unfortunately, a tarantula)
10. Sang a solo (in Chinese, for my church youth Christmas service)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (I'm going to call vegan cooking an art)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (Twice, in Central America)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (Only an overnight bus---trains were too expensive)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (on a semi and in the back of a pickup truck)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (at the Panamanian border while waiting for it to open)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person*
39. Gone rock climbing (only on rock walls)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (I sang deaf karaoke on the bus going to San Cristobal, Mexico)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (and then slept on the beach)
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class (Karate and Judo)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (I've donated blood and sold plasma)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (and then jogged through the swampy woods)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (Five, actually)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (The motorcycle couldn't go fast on the cobblestone roads in Guatemala, but it was still too fast with the rain and unkempt roads)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (does fish count? then, yes)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone (Well, a tracfone)
99. Been stung by a bee (no, only a jelly fish)