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Sick in Huaraz

Written on: Saturday October 27th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Location: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru

Author: Julie


We woke up early the next day with Kevin still feeling quite sick. I was starting to get worried since this was beyond a simple case of traveller?s diarrhea or altitude sickness. We decided to visit a clinic later on in the day to make sure he didn?t have a parasite or bacteria.

At 1 PM, we hailed a taxi to Clinica San Pablo located in the north of the city of Huaraz. Following the advice of another traveller who spends considerable amounts of time in the area each year, we brought a stool sample to be tested. After, a few language problems at the reception and payment of 10 soles for the services, we found our way to the Labotario. The technician semi-understanding our explanation of what we wanted and Kevin?s symptoms handed us a small jar for our sample. Kevin showed him the large 2 liter water bottle we had modified but he just laughed and said he needed it in a smaller container. A quick trip to the bathroom and our sample was safely deposited with the tech for analysis. He told us to come back in and hour and he would have the results for us. An hour passed by quickly and we were back at the laboratory with anticipation that nothing bad was found. Unfortunately, the results did nothing to relieve us with findings of E.Coli and another parasite called Blastomycis. He advised us to book an appointment with a doctor to further discuss the findings and to get the necessary medications. Back at the reception, with again language difficulties we finally were informed that no doctors were available till 4:30 and to come back then. So, having nowhere to be in that area of town we returned to our hostel and it?s free internet. Kevin quickly googled the parasites and found out what they were exactly, the symptoms they caused and the suggested medications for them. Armed with this informed, we made a second trip back to the clinic, quickly got checked in this time with a new receptionist and off to the consultation wing of the clinic. We arrived to a waiting room full of people waiting to see one of the many doctors who were now in office. We gave our information to the waiting medical assistant and sat down to what we presumed would be a long wait since so many people were waiting. Surprisingly to us, we were quickly called to a doctor?s office. We sincerely hope it?s because he specialised in our medical situation and not because we were foreigners and therefore given special treatment. He asked Kevin many questions in perfect English, looked at the sample findings, poked and prodded his stomach to finally announce that the E.Coli and Blastomycis parasites were at an acceptable level and that his body would flush it out naturally but that Kevin also had Giardia (aka Beaver Fever) which was the main cause of his symptoms for the past week. He prescribed two medications; an anti-parasitic drug (Secnidazol) and as a preventive measure an anti-bacterial (Cyprofloxin). He described both drugs as little bombs going off in your stomach leaving nothing behind. That sounded exactly what would cure Kevin so we were quite happy to know what he had and to know that it could be cured with just a couple of pills. The total cost of the visit was 20 soles, it?s so cheap. When we filled out the prescription the pills cost 60 soles, against much cheaper than anything at home.

We returned to our room armed with little pill bombs. Kevin quickly began his prescription since he was tired of being sick. We learned from the doctor a parasite does not cause constant symptoms, some days you feel better while others you feel worse. This would explain why Kevin had been feeling good and bad since Vilcabamba. This up and down was hard mentally and he was ecstatic to finally be getting better for good.

The next day, he was already feeling better and our friends Nina and Matthew were back from their 3 night stay at the mountain inn. We wanted to go but we were running out of time and with Kevin only now getting better it was better we stay at Olaza?s for our last couple of days. We spent them lazing about the hostel, enjoying the sun in the morning and walking around the town in the afternoon. Halloween is approaching and all the merchants are starting to decorate with pumpkins, spiders, fake webs, and other miscellaneous ghoulish items. We didn?t realise that Halloween was popular outside of North America, it was wonderful to see the kids excited about their costumes or masks that their parents were buying for them. Just as we were heading back to our hostel, we heard a marching band, which is not that uncommon in Peru. I?ve randomly seen small processions with a few instruments randomly walking up and down streets throughout South America. No one can ever tell me what it is that they are celebrating. This time, the marching band was a little different. It was a children?s parade. School group after school group of children danced, sang, and carried on stick brightly coloured rice paper piņatas with small light candles on the inside. Each one was in fun shapes of zoo animals, Winnie the Pooh characters, Bob the Builder, and Barnie. At the front of each school group were adults carrying a larger version of the common theme each school had chosen, some had unlighted fireworks attached we assumed for lighting later on. It was fantastic to see them all walk by, having so much fun. Unfortunately, we hadn?t brought our camera and we regretted so much not being able to take photos to share with everyone.


From JS Lachapelle on Nov 9th, 2007

The begining of this journal was getting me worried.... but I'm glad to hear you're doing better. Where would you have picked up e.coli....? poorly cooked meat?...water? Anyway you guys better be extra careful...or I'm gonna give it to you when you come back!!! (-: lol be safe.

From Laura and Andrew on Nov 14th, 2007

Beaver Fever!!! Oh boy the jokes we could tell! Hope you are feeling better!

From Diane on Mar 1st, 2008

sounds like a colon cleanse would be a good idea when you get home...