Tag Archives: medicine

Recovering from Health Problems

Ankle Sprain
June was a rough month. The parasite I picked up in India really did a number on my body. It took 10 days of strong antibiotics to get rid of it, and the drugs left my digestive system a mess. I also suffered a rash of other health problems, likely related to the weakened state of my body.

  • Anemia – very slow to recover, even with iron pills.
  • Weight Loss – lost 10 lbs and it’s not easy to gain back on a vegan diet.
  • Grade 3 Ankle Sprain – foolishly blew out my ankle playing ultimate frisbee.
  • Leg Cramps – often at night. Still happening infrequently and unexplained.
  • Hemorrhoids – and other problems with veins.

All in all, I visited a doctor 6 times, went to the hospital emergency room once, had 3 lab visits for blood tests and stool samples, and saw a physiotherapist for my ankle sprain. I’ve gained a new appreciation for our medical system’s strengths and weaknesses, and a realization that I’m getting old and my body isn’t as quick to recover as it once was.

Thankfully, I’m feeling better now. I’m taking extra-strength iron pills and probiotics daily, and I can feel myself getting stronger every day. My ankle is almost healed, and I’m itching to start running again.

My revelations about our medical system:
Free Medicare is Amazing
Although it was frustrating dealing with sickness and multiple health problems, I was treated well by our medical system. Amazingly, every visit to see a doctor was free. The only out of pocket expenses I had were for drugs and the physiotherapist, and most of that was covered by my insurance plan at work. It was stressful enough dealing with illness that I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about the financial cost as well.

Doctors Treat Symptoms
The most noticeable flaw in our healthcare system I saw was that the doctors were too busy to really consider my holistic health. I had a number of symptoms that I felt were linked, but the doctors just wanted to diagnose a single problem, run some tests, and prescribe medication.

Give me More Data
Samsun S Health AppI love data. At work we collect thousands of statistics every minute on the health of our servers and applications. It’s all available real-time with historical charts for comparison. I want that for my body. If I had been tracking my own vitamin levels, I would have detected the low iron before the parasite wrecked havoc on my body. Doctors order tests when they’re looking for a problem, but not when you’re healthy so there is no baseline to compare to or early detection of problems. BC has a great system for getting lab results quickly to patients (myehealth.ca) but you still need a doctor to order the tests. Cellphone apps are starting to collect health data, but what’s available now is trivial – heart rate, step counters, and the ability to manually enter data like your weight. What I’m looking for is an at-home blood test that can track blood cell counts, hormones, and vitamin levels. Once that data is available at the touch of a button, it will revolutionize our health care system.

Backpacking India: Traveler’s Diarrhea

India - Bundi
I’m pooping solid again. Never thought I’d be so happy to share that with the world. The travellers diarrhea that has plagued me since Udaipur has finally gone away, after 5 days of worrying how far he nearest toilet was.

In Bundi, I visited an aryuvedic pharmacist who gave me some mystery pills wrapped in newspaper. I also started taking psyllium, which a fellow traveler recommended. They helped a little bit but didn’t fix the underlying cause.

Yesterday, it was clear that the diarrhea wasn’t going to go away on its own and I needed to be healthy for trekking in Darjeeling in a dew days. So I took the antibiotics (Azithromycin) that our travel doctor prescribed before we left Canada. It worked like a charm.