I am good at procrastinating. If it were a class and I were in school, I’d be getting an “A” with no effort at all. But they say change is good and this is a facet in me that I must make an effort to abolish. Well, maybe modify. Perhaps just alleviate? You see how good I am at procrastinating? Because I feel uninspired, I am using words to stall (at times I equate stalling to procrastination) and not communicate what I have come to say. But, no more. Here goes.
I have a strong aversion to needles and side effects so I have… yes, you guessed it: procrastinated in going onto the Center for Disease Control website to find out what immunizations (ie: needles) I will need to go to Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. I promise I will find a pseudo-acronym for this trip. I got it! BLT+ (B for Burma –actually Myanmar- but for this purpose it will be Burma; L for Laos and T for Thailand and the “+” for Cambodia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.) Phew, no more repetitive typing!
As I have lunch at The Black Cow in Montrose I pull out my trusty computer and get on-line. Victor, the best server ever, knows exactly what I order so he greets me with a hug and asks “The usual?” This feels like home. So I am on the site. Lazy me can’t believe that she has to go to each country one by one. No cheat sheet. I find a link to a Global Travel Clinic Directory that “know all about traveler’s immunization needs.” So here I am. I call the first one in Glendale and they are closed. I leave a message. I call the next one in Pasadena. Also closed. I leave a message. I try another. Ditto. So now I have nothing left to do but wait. And enjoy my steak salad.
My cell rings and I am told that this is the Medical Clinic for Immunization returning my call. So she gives me the laundry list of immunizations that are recommended. This is not sounding good. Well the Hepatitis A and B (a series of 3 shots) is $170, then the Rabies shot is another $100. I become restless. “Could you give me an approximate figure of how many and how much?” “Well around six of them would be around $800 but that’s without the two most important ones which are the typhoid one and the….” I stop registering anything until she says: “Those two are $1,600.” And this is without the malaria pills. I’m not that great at math but I immediately add it up to $2,400. I calmly thank her for the information, hang up, and panic! Are you kidding me?
I get on-line and e-mail, Facebook, go to the OAT Travel site and message everyone if this is even remotely in the ballpark of what others have paid. Two of my friends whom I know well and have traveled to BLT+ say: “Noooooo, no need for any of that. Just go and enjoy!” I have yet to hear from the travel company’s previous clients.
In the process of checking for responses I find a post from a traveler that says that the CDC has just posted a health warning for travelers going to Vietnam due to an outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, though it seems to primarily affect children. What the heck?
My cell rings. I’m starting to feel real important. My phone is ringing a lot. This is the Healthy Traveler Clinic in Pasadena. Me: “Well, you are calling at a time when I am still almost speechless. Just got a call from another clinic saying that all the vaccines I need are going to cost me roughly a third of my trip so far.” On the other side I hear a compassionate voice saying that she understands and she hears that a lot. She wants me to see the doctor who will go over the priorities, if any, on the shots and pills and that I am at liberty to decline or even go to another clinic to get them. Things are looking better. I have an appointment tomorrow morning. But before I go to the doctor, I must fill out 9 pages of forms. Will be reporting back.