No long trip to the developing world is complete without a mystery illness.

In a futile attempt to prevent such calamities, I had updated my vaccinations before my arrival to Ethiopia and brought a small pharmacy to keep myself healthy to avoid dealing with such things medical. However, after waking up several nights in a row by an abnormal pain in my right side that was only getting worse (not to mention unusual ongoing fatigue), I decided it was best to seek some local medical attention. Thus in the next episode of my ongoing series “Try Not To Die”, I visited Washington Medical Center (WMC) in Bole, Addis Ababa – the name of which made me feel hopeful that doctors there had studied in America and would likely speak English very well.

Not only did the fine staff at WMC understand me, but they were also amazingly efficient – I was seen by a doctor almost immediately on arrival. I had a consultation, a battery of tests (including an ultrasound), and was given a diagnosis, a strong antibiotic prescription, along with orders to cut down on meat intake and drink lots of water. The expense of the whole experience (ultrasound, tests, consultation, prescription) was a wallet-breaking $31.67, plus the cost of the tea I had in the facility’s really nice outdoor cafe while waiting for my test results.

Had this happened in the US, it would have cost me far more and included the terrifying ordeal of not knowing what the actual bill would be until it arrived in the mail.  Needless to say, I was happy to avoid that anguish.

Two days later I have still not died and am feeling much better.

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