Today we go to the travel medicine doctor right here in town, but, as I said before, I don’t hold out much hope. You know how you always get sicker after you see the doctor? Tom is sure we will come down with flu before we start our trip. (Some of my French pessimism has rubbed off on him.) Since he mentioned that this morning at breakfast, I feel a sore throat coming on, seriously. Actually, when I think about it, the throat thing is probably from not getting enough sleep.

This morning I woke up early worrying about our luggage…again. I focused on the unipod for my camera. Collapsed it’s not so big, about 18 inches long, but it is a sort of weapon-looking stick shape in an ominous black zipped case. So my new strategy is to get this travel medicine doctor to give me a prescription for the unipod. I do have an old injury, a ski accident when I was 17 left me with bolts in my ankle which is now swollen with arthritis. Obviously, I need that unipod just to walk. I might even try limping through the Homeland Security at the airport.

Then there’s the idea of layering to avoid extra baggage weight. I decided this morning at dawn, lying there in bed listening to Tom snore, that I can wear at least 4 shirts, 2 pants, 2 socks, and three underpants. Why not shove the stick down a pants’ leg, call it a brace, then limp through the metal detector. It could work.

So the travel doctor was very nice, well-informed. He knew all about the resistant strains of malaria and the efficacy of hepatitis shots. Supplied with maps of all the countries we intend to visit, he traced our route according to the presence of mosquitos…then he got into a discussion of dengue fever, and rabies carried by almost every dog in the provinces. He outlined the poverty of medical resources and the prevalence of car crashes, train derailments and heart attack producing meals. He proposed ‘emergency medical evacuation’ insurance to air lift our broken bodies out of the burning wreckage of the crash zone and I began to wonder if the war was still on.

We are still going but I have packed bandages and learn the Vietnamese for “I need a nurse.”


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