The other day Billy and I got our travel vaccines done. Here are a few choice lines of dialogue I can recall from the appointment.
Dr. So you guys are going to be in India?
Billy. Yes. The plan is five weeks in India.
Dr. And where will you guys be staying there?
Billy. We are definitely going to be in Goa, and then we’re going to be in a rural village called Ravandur for about two weeks.
Dr. Okay so a big concern for me overall is rabies. Not just in India, but in Japan and Thailand as well. They’ve got stray packs of dogs, monkeys, and rats can sometimes carry it too.
Elliott. Uh huh. So are we going to be vaccinated for that today?
Dr. The rabies pre-vaccine is three shots spaced out by three weeks. It is also very expensive (300 dollars a shot!), and we don’t have the vaccine here today.
Billy. So that’s a no.
Dr. I could try and get it rush delivered here, but there isn’t enough time to space each vaccine properly since you guys are leaving so soon.
Billy. I guess we’ll just avoid animals.
Dr. Yes do try and limit contact with stray animals. And should you be bitten, don’t treat it is an urgent medical situation, but more of like an immediate medical situation.
*Billy and Elliott exchange a confused sideways glance*
Dr. If you do get bitten, you’ll have to be air-lifted out of wherever you are, unless you happen to be in the proximity of a major hospital that can treat rabies, which, being in a rural village in India, I don’t think will be the case.
Billy. Uh huh.
Dr. Also, you’ll need malaria pills if you’re going to be in India. There are a few options as far as pills go. You can take X drug once a week, Y drug once a day at the cost of $5 a pill, or Z drug, which is known to cause rashes and lung irritation.
Elliott. How about X drug? That seems like the cheapest option.
Dr. It is. However, X drug is known to exacerbate anxiety and depression, as well as cause vivid dreams and nightmares. Any patients with a history of psychiatric disorders are not recommend to take X drug.
Billy. Uh huh. Okay, Y drug it is then.
Dr. I don’t mean to scare you guys or anything! Just look at it this way, you’re far more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident abroad than by rabies or malaria. Motor vehicle accidents continue to be the biggest threat to traveling Americans than anything else.
Elliott. Uh huh.