Hitchhiker from Belize!?

I usually never have any issues from any of my travels aboard. I am always trying to play it safe and protect myself from any negative experiences. This trip to Belize was a very different story though.

I went to Belize with my good friend Mike and myself to be on the first flight on Southwest Airlines to Belize. We had no plans and no ideas on where to go and end up at. After some debate at the airport, we bought tickets and hopped on a turboprop to Caye Caulker. This was in October during Belize’s rainy season, and did it rain…. We got into Belize on October 15th. When we finally decided to leave early on the 18th, Belize City had flooded due to a tropical depression that park right over Belize dumping over 10 inches of rain in a 36 hour period. We decided to leave Belize early because every tour we tried to get on was cancelled. Snorkeling? Cancelled. Cave tubing? Cancelled. Maya ruins? Nope, cancelled too!

Trying to leave Caye Caulker on Sunday the 18th was a mess…. First we tried to get a speedboat back to Belize City to get to the international airport. All the speedboats were cancelled until the last one of the day. This would had not worked out to fly out of Belize that day, so we heading to the small airport in Caye Caulker to buy another ticket to fly out. The flooding in Belize City was so bad that Belize City Municipal Airport was shut down for the day too! We finally got seats on a flight to Belize City International Airport, but it was a long waiting game since we had a flight that overflew the airport since Caye Caulker Airport does not have any runway lights at all. After waiting another hour for the next plane, that flight was able to land and pick us up! We made it back home just fine after we left Belize.

After I got home though, my body was starting to act strange. I had an appetite and was able to eat, but everything was coming out runny and very sulfuric smelling. I had just assumed that I had food poisoning and that it would run its course. I was very stubborn about going to the doctor, but after a week of this issue, I went to see a medical professional after my wife insisted that I go. I was lucky enough to get a nurse practitioner who was a nurse for Doctors Without Borders for a couple of year in Africa that was very familiar with all the different travelers ailments and diseases. After some questions about my recent travel and medical history, plus a quick feel of my abdomen that had pain in the area around the lower intestine, she diagnosed me with Giardia!

I had heard about Giardia in my past travels when I was avid into camping and hiking, but I never knew what the symptoms were or what to do about it. The nurse practitioner knew exactly what antibiotics I needed to take to combat this parasite since she herself had been infected in Africa years before. I was feeling much better and normal after a couple days of being on the antibiotics.

The moral of my story is definitely go see a medical professional if you had just got back from a foreign country. You never know what you could bring home with you! Don’t be stubborn like me and get checked out!

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