Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Many Updates!

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post an update. With tomorrow marking three weeks since getting giardia, I think you'll understand. I will be updating over the next few days, as I have finally ventured out of Ankara and got to see Bodrum, a resort town on the Aegean. There are photos already posted if you're interested on my Picasa site.

As bad of an experience as getting giardia has been, it has revealed to me a side of Turkey that a lot of people don't get to see, mainly it's medical infrastructure. Their system is loosely based on ours, using health insurance, but there are marked differences. The first being, you don't need a prescription for anti-biotics. There are definitely pluses and minuses to this system. The most negative effect being that people here take anti-biotics whenever they are sick with anything. They sometimes just skip the doctor and take a random anti-biotic that they were given for prior illnesses. On the other hand, these anti-biotics are really cheap. Cipro is 3YTL ($2.40) for a pack of 20 pills. The second is the difference between state and private health care facilities. The hospital that I went to when I first contracted giardia was one that is run by the government. It's facilities were not as clean, and doctors were much fewer and far between. When I didn't get better, I went to the health center here on campus. All students are able to get health care here at and minimal cost of .8YTL per visit. If you are an undergrad, it is free as health coverage is provided as part of tuition. They have their own microbiology lab here on campus which provided the necessary tests for me for free. If I had been in the US, I would have had to pay at least $200 dollars and that's with health insurance. Here, I haven't had to show anything but my student ID and over all it has cost me maybe 100YTL ($80) without ever showing any insurance information. I was able to find a doctor here that speaks english which helps a lot. And today, I finally started eating foods other than bread and potatoes without any problems. I have been put on a new medication who's generic name is Ornidazol. It's a newer drug not yet available in the US, but it seems to be from France and apparently working. After only eating bread for the past week, I am craving anything with flavor. Thankfully, Turkish food is known for that, but I'll have to ease in as most of it is very oily.

Everyone here has been amazing. It's a little weird having people ask you about the intimate details of your bowel movements, but I can't complain since they have been taking me to get my health checkups and translating when necessary. Canan even brought me to her house two Saturdays ago to take care of me when the first medication had completely worn me out. It was really comforting to eat home cooked food, however bland from lack of butter. I was able to lay on her couch and watch American TV. (I have discovered Men In Trees is my new favorite show.) Mert and Canan also insisted I go to Bodrum with them to take a break since I have been working like mad to get everything done. I'll post about that trip tomorrow as it will be long.

I guess the one good thing is that I weight less now... At 155 pounds, I am 60 pounds lighter than I was this time last year. 1/3 of that has happened since coming to Turkey. The first 10 pounds I have lost was due to the diet change and running on hills. Unfortunately, the last 10 comes from not eating a whole lot. I tried running a few days ago realized how much stamina I have lost due to lack of my normal caloric intake. Now that I think I am getting better, it'll be nice to eat good tasting food and again start running at full power. Anyways, I need to crash as I worked for 12 hours today and have to tomorrow as well.


Anne said...

Your pictures are beautiful! What a nice cross section of the people, shops, historical areas of interest, plants and more! I loved the sunset picture showing the satellite dishes on the rooftop. Interesting contrasts.

The plant life is stunning! Were the flowers all over or just here and there? The blue sea, white homes and nature and lovely. Good eye.

I thought it was funny that the bar had a "foam party" listed. We had that in Puerta Vallarta. Quite messy from what I've been told. I can't wait until we can see all your pictures and hear your stories first hand.

Love you,


Anonymous said...

Really glad taht you are finally getting better. Giardia is a beast...friends had it years ago and all four of them had it at once, includign two little girls.
Hugs to are wonderful...this has been quite a trip.
We are back at LPC on Monday for the start of the meetings, and classes begin wednesday...