Planning Takes My Breath Away

Only three weeks until lift-off and my voice seems to have left without me. Last week I came down with laryngitis and I’ve been struggling to speak ever since. This has made phone calls to banks, family and governments all but impossible. As if I wasn’t already overwhelmed by the tasks left on the task list.

It has gotten me thinking about my health, though, and how to stay healthy on the road. Here’s my health plan so far:

  •  Travel insurance. This mostly just covers emergency evacuation, which I don’t think I’ll be using if I eat some bad tacos.
  • Probiotics. I’m going to eat as much yogurt as I can get my hands on. Anything with live cultures. These cultures will live like sleeper cells in my gut, poised to attack intruders.
  • Sunshine. I can never remember being sick when the sun was shining. Except when I had my wisdom teeth removed in Phoenix in 1999. But that was elective. Of course, also protection from the sun: hats, sunscreen, so I don’t get too much of a good thing.
  • Walking. Daily walks around my neighborhood … in the aforementioned sunshine.
  • Animals. I’ve read that watching fish lowers your blood pressure. I’m sure watching flamingos at a game preserve would do the same.
  • Katadyn water bottles with virustat filters (from REI). Under the table, I pour the tap water into my water bottle, then sip from it with my meal. $30 each, but I bought two virustat filters that should last a year of drinking two water bottles a day. And no matter what you have, doctors say drink a lot of water.
  • Iodine tablets. For treating more than a single water bottle.
  • Sleep. Here in Seattle, I’m spoiled with 8.5 hours a night. Sometimes 9. People with actual responsibilities I’m sure are rolling their eyes right now. But seriously, essential. I’m bringing ear plugs, noise cancelling headphones and an eye mask to make sure this happens.
  • Prescriptions. I’ve got prescriptions for malaria prevention, diarrhea, altitude sickness and other common ailments that I’ll be taking along.
  • Cell phone. As mentioned in a previous post, we’ll be taking unlocked cell phones and SIM cards so we can always call for help.
  • Common sense. What helps me the most when I get sick is reminding myself that it is temporary. In a week or two, I will be struggling to remember what coughing all night was like.
  • Distraction. Like Oscar said in The Odd Couple, “Felix, why don’t you leave yourself alone?”  Focus on something else. Or like my dad said, put your shoes on and act like you have something to do.
  • Eat cooked vegetables. This will be easier outside of America, where I’ve heard they actually serve such a thing in restaurants and street carts.
  • Immunizations. This has cost about $1,500 so far, but I’ve got ’em all. Visiting a travel health clinic at least 6 months before you leave is essential.

Now, back to bed in the hopes that when I wake up my voice will have returned from its journey!

– Rachel

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