Travel!

Just a Touch of the ‘Phoid

By Dave Fox
Seattle

If it isn’t bad enough that I’ve been ingesting rat poison for the last three months, I am now storing microbes of a deadly virus in my fridge, and gobbling them down periodically.

Salmonella_typhi There are two ways to vaccinate yourself against typhoid. You can inject it or you can swallow capsules. The oral vaccine contains the live typhoid virus, which means if you take it, you are basically giving yourself an extremely low-grade case of typhoid. The injection does not work this way, but I went for the live virus because (1) the results last longer, and (2) shots make me whimper.

I’ve been getting way too many jabs in the arm lately — a series of hepatitis shots for my upcoming trip to Asia, tetanus (in a matter of hours — waah!) because I’ve avoided it way too long, and frequent blood tests to be sure I’m getting just the right amount of rat poison each day. (Because, seriously, too much rat poison is bad for you.) The typhoid vaccine is also for my upcoming travels.

It’s strange to think I’m actually ingesting small amounts of a potentially deadly virus. And I’m having some minor side effects — fatigue, muscle aches, and severe whining.

“What’s wrong?” my girlfriend, who had not yet started munching typhoid capsules herself, asked me over the weekend when I started nodding off at 6 p.m.

I could have said I was experiencing side effects from my vaccination, but that sounded wimpy. I needed a cooler response. And when we have influenza, we call it the flu, so I decided typhoid deserved something with a hipper ring to it.

“Eh,” I said, “I think I’ve just got a little touch of the ‘phoid.”

Published on Thursday, March 13, 2008

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