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Infusion Is Better Than Injection

March 18, 2010

Infusion is better than injection; a lesson I learned firsthand in Takeo last Sunday.

I spent most of Sunday filming the weavers and dyeing team for a super-cool, but as yet unreleased, documentary on handicrafts in Cambodia. I promise to let you know when and where you can see it. But, back to the topic at hand: infusions and injections.

Filming wrapped around 2:30 pm. The filmmaker, Pierre and Romain headed back to Phnom Penh. Sokchea and I unpacked and settled in as we were going to be in Takeo for a few days. Roasting in the mid-day heat, we both laid down for siestas. Around 4:30, I woke up with stomach pains. “No big deal,” I thought, “this’ll pass soon.” After an hour of stomach pains, the diarrhea started. Now, I’d like to think I’m a tough cookie, but I draw the line at severe diarrhea in the village where you have to use squat toilets. This is my moment of “cannot, impossible.”

I called Sokchea over, explained the situation to him and asked to see a doctor. Mrs. Mich immediately called the doctor and insisted that he hurry. The Mich family and I waited for the doctor. He arrived and began my consultation when I learned that he also spoke French. I don’t speak a lick of French but was strangely comforted that he had some Western education. After a few moments he gave me a handful of pills and told me he wanted to give me an injection. So I steeled my nerves and let him give me the shot. After 15 minutes, I felt great. I stayed up with the family for a bit then went off to my room to read Shantaram.

After an hour and a half, everything started again. Mrs. Mich saw me return from the bathroom and called Sokchea over to confirm her suspicions. In an instant, she was back on the phone demanding that the doctor come back. This is how I came to be sitting in Takeo at 8:30 pm with an IV in my hand. 6 hours and 1 liter of fluid & antibiotics. A wonderful way to spend a Sunday night.

While the infusion was indeed better than the injection, I would recommend a trip to SOS in Phnom Penh to see a Western doctor. This is what I did on Monday where a stool sample confirmed I had “many bacteria” and was prescribed antibiotics.

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