Tag Archives: parasite

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.

The Unwanted Indian Souvenir

Man Eating Beaver
I’ve been feeling fatigued, gassy, and generally shitty for the past 2 weeks. I went and saw a doctor on Tuesday and had blood and stool samples taken. The results are in – I’m anemic and I have Giardia Lamblia (aka Beaver Fever) and Blastocystis parasites living in my lower intestine. Probably one last gift from India.

I’m looking forward to getting it treated and healthy again. My iron levels are 9 µg/L (normal level are from 100-300). I haven’t been able to run or play ultimate frisbee for the past 2 weeks. Even my short 3 km bike ride to work has been a struggle.

I’m been prescribed Metronidazole antibiotics for the next 10 days. Hopefully that clears everything up.