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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Mosquito Nets are the New Black

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

So… being the procrastinator that I am - I basically leave in a week and am only now beginning to think about vaccinations, doing laundry, figure out finances and packing.  The most important of all is probably the life threatening diseases that I might potentially be subject to.

Perhaps a trip to a trusted professional to sort out what I should and shouldn’t have might help? 

Not really.

Ok- my actual doctor was booked up the day that I decided I better venture in… but that’s ok because I only really needed vaccination advice and a prescription or two.  Honestly, any doctor would do. Right?


I got put in with a younger doctor, red hair… probably in her early 30’s.

The first thing I brought up was the trip.

She immediately opened up something on her computer- which I can only assume was a map of diseases in Ecuador and a list..

Have you had your Tetanus shot?


Have you had your Hep A shot?


Have you had your Hep B shot?




I don’t know! It just seemed to go on and on... The last time that I was in South America, I was 18. It was 1991… 

I remember being inundated with vaccinations, but I have no idea what they were, how long they last... what lasts for life... what needs to be updated.

Off to the doctor every six months to 'update' my Hep A... like the dentist!

I used to have one of those little vaccination booklets, but even that would be outdated, if I knew where it was.

So here’s me on a wing and a prayer… please tell me what I need.

The questions continue.

She kept asking me what provinces I was going to. No idea.

I can list off the cities… but not the provinces. I'm starting to lose it...

Look… I’m not heading in to the jungle to drink from the river.  Can you just give me some ADVICE on what I might need, write it down and I'll go get it!"

The questions went on and on…

Finally I just wanted to scream, “I don’t care. I'll risk disease and death. I’ll be fine.”

To shut her up, and hopefully have some glimpse of a life outside being in that little office, 'we' finally agreed on Hep A and a Typhoid combined shot. Good enough.

Then… she said that she would feel better if I protected myself against Malaria.

Yep- good call.

Now… apparently there are two types of Malaria pills.

Malaria Pill Number 1... “You need to start taking this pill tomorrow and then take it every day that you’re away and then every day for a month after you’re back.”

Yes… I think I can handle that.  I think I have the responsibility enough to tackle a pill each day.

“There are some side effects though.”

Hit me with them.

“It’s very sun sensitive. YOu’ll have to stay out of the sun or wear a really big hat at all times when you’re outside.”

Wow… I’m going to Ecuador. Sun. Heat. 34 and rising.

I want a tan.

“Also- to be on the safe side, you should probably drape yourself with a mosquito net at all times.”


“And you’ll probably get a few yeast infections.”

Ok… wow, do I ever sound like someone I would like to meet on vacation,.

Who’s the creepy weird over there with the big hat and the mosquito net that smells like rotten cottage cheese?

Well, that was a shit conversation… what’s behind door number 2? Malaria Pill Number 2...

“Well this one is highly effective, yet costs twice as much.”

Any side effects?

“Yes it has a tendency to make people a little bit crazy.”

You know what? Enough said.

I’m good.

I think I can tackle malaria.

I just feel strong- like I can really beat it.

She wouldn’t take no for an answer though. 

Which one did I want?

Finally I choose yeast infections and mosquito nets,.. but have no intention of filling the prescription at all.

Ok- vaccinations and life threatening diseases over…

On to the next thing…

Me - "I’d like you to renew my birth control."

Doctor from Hell - “Before I do this... I’d really like to speak with you about the perils of having sexual relations with strangers in third world countries.” Enough said. Just wondering exactly which strangers out there would be interested in me, with my mosquito net style and my ever-annoying yeast infection problem...

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