"health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right"
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Clyde is the worm that's been living inside my foot. See Clyde crawl. Crawl Clyde crawl.
The Story of Clyde sums up so much of the living and medical experiences of the last 2 months. Hopefully, you'll enjoy and won't be too repulsed.
While in the islands of Lake Victoria with the mobile clinic we were hopping in and out of boats daily, often in sandals, onto beaches that were covered in filth; pigs, goats, cattle all defecated in areas where children regularly played, where people bathed and drank the water and where women came to do laundry. In the clinics on the islands, malnourished children would regularly be brought in by their parent or guardian, with the adult noticing a persistent cough. After listening to perfectly clear lungs we questioned what else could be causing the persistent cough.
For the past three weeks I had developed a similar dry, non productive cough, without any fever or stomach symptoms. Upon feeling some itching in my foot and seeing a distinct "serpentine-like" pattern I realized what might be going on. We searched through the medical texts that we had, researching the soil-transmitted helminths that were common in the area. Looking up the different type of worms we noticed the additional early symptom of a dry cough, which results from the larvae from the worm entering the lungs and setting up camp, before any GI symptoms present.
On Rusinga Island the main effort during the first week of July had been to supply all the children in the area with Mebendazole, a deworming medication. Worms are such a common illness for children in the area, as they regularly play barefoot in and out of the water and in other unsanitary conditions. Somewhere along the boat travel of the first month of our trip, Clyde decided to hop aboard.
We found out what should be used to treat Clyde, but decided on a trip to Nairobi Hospital--a private, clean, well-run facility--for a second opinion. After seeing two physicians and receiving a full lab work-up (at minimal expense) I was able to benefit from immediate treatment while so many others would end up malnourished and untreated.
Clyde has gone now, and the lungs are ready for a trip up Kilimanjaro....